This book kept me company over the course of the year. It is by no means a quick read, even though the stories are deceptively light and filled with nThis book kept me company over the course of the year. It is by no means a quick read, even though the stories are deceptively light and filled with non-events--the magic happens in the details, in the tiny slices of worldbuilding that happen between one moment and the next. So you get swathes of text where not much happens, but now and then you come across a line that's dense with so much story and magic but is delivered so matter-of-factly that it's easy to miss. (I was so frustrated because I couldn't put page markers properly since my favorite parts were like one sentence long, and there were so many of them, so I ended up ditching the page markers 90% of the time.)
Kelly Link's stories are probably more enjoyable if you encounter them in other short story anthologies with other authors. Hers is not the kind of collection I'd really recommend to anyone since it's not meant to be consumed in one sitting (it took me nearly a year to get through the book), though I would definitely recommend The Faery Handbag to anyone who's in the mood for short stories....more
A lot of the stories are gimmicky literary mindfuck (some of it unnecessarily gritty but cliche ~subversions), which is a thing I'm not into, and whicA lot of the stories are gimmicky literary mindfuck (some of it unnecessarily gritty but cliche ~subversions), which is a thing I'm not into, and which just made me want to reread Richard Siken, but tthe second half of the collection gets more interesting (whereas it took me forever to slog through the first half). Kelly Link is seriously one of the most brilliant and creative storytellers, I should maybe stop encountering her randomly and dive into her own story collections.
They stick 3 Asian folk tales at the end, all of them good, which just made me realize I wanted more of it, please. *shakes book like a coconut tree*
FAVORITES: - Alissa Nutting, "The Brother and the Bird" - Ilya Kaminsky, "Little Pot" - Kelly Link, "Catskin" - Aimee Bender, "The Color Master"
(I also liked Neil Gaiman's orange story, Lily Hoang's mosquito story, Naoko Awa's snow rabbits story, Kim Addonizio's 7 dwarves story.)...more
My first Bond and Ian Fleming's last--I'm not a particular follower of the franchise, but I enjoyed the sparseness in the original stories. The selectMy first Bond and Ian Fleming's last--I'm not a particular follower of the franchise, but I enjoyed the sparseness in the original stories. The selections have a distinctive (if dated) mood, slow and languid like cocktails on a hot summer's day.
Stories in the collection: OCTOPUSSY: This had a nice lack of Bond, but not enough octopus, IMO. I know it's meant to be introspective or something, but I went into this for the octopus, okay.
PROPERTY OF A LADY: a.k.a. the one with the auction. Actually a pretty interesting change of pace, but the ending feels really abrupt and rushed.
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS: I have mixed feelings because I enjoyed the waiting and watching that came with sniper action, and of course the blonde cellist, but I also spent too much time rolling my eyes at Bond.
007 IN NEW YORK: I know a lot of people hate this, but I love the premise. It's exactly what it says on the tin: a really short, plotless vignette of James Bond trying to function in New York. It ends with a scrambled egg recipe. It's not the best in what it is, but I'm into it.
AUDIOBOOK NOTES: The first 3 stories are narrated by Tom Hiddleston, who has a cool, soothing voice even though I felt uncomfortable with the Chinese accent (not because it was bad; it just made me uncomfortable). There's also a short interview with him at the end, which is... weird? Do all James Bond audiobooks have interviews?
007 in New York is narrated by Lucy Fleming....more
TEDDY: Are you a poet? NICHOLSON: A poet? Lord, no. Alas, no. Why do you ask? TEDDY: I don't know. Poets are always taking the weather so personally. T
TEDDY: Are you a poet? NICHOLSON: A poet? Lord, no. Alas, no. Why do you ask? TEDDY: I don't know. Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They're always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
Okay, wow, it took me being down with a stomach bug to get around finishing this. Mostly I think about it as a collection of great sentences that don'Okay, wow, it took me being down with a stomach bug to get around finishing this. Mostly I think about it as a collection of great sentences that don't add up to anything solid. I mean, the idea is sound - all the stories are framed around a particular piece of furniture that reflects the history/mindset/relationships of whichever household is in possession of it, which sounds interesting in theory but is... not. Maybe I could swallow it if it was dished out in moments, but the entire book is an extended mopefest and it's really hard to care about any of the characters or their stories. ...more
Oh, I loved this. I was expecting to get bored and restless at some point, but this engaged me all throughout, probably because it was held together bOh, I loved this. I was expecting to get bored and restless at some point, but this engaged me all throughout, probably because it was held together by a very endearing protagonist. I haven't read M.R. James or Lovecraft (except Cthulhu), and I generally stay away from the genre, but I liked the subtle horror and loose connectedness of the stories and the prose in general. (Also if you're looking for LGBTQ fiction, this qualifies.)
The first few stories aren't actually that great, but mostly function as an introduction to the unfortunate life of Booth, who may actually be my spirit cat or something. He hates being touched! And hides at parties! My favorite bit is the part in Drowning Palmer when he sounds so utterly doomed about having to attend a school reunion. Like, he won't shut up about it and can't stop thinking about it and proceeds to inflict the reader with his internal monologue, that's how much he doesn't want to go. It's like looking into my brain sometimes.
Spoiler-free notes: Bringing Helena Back Not particularly interesting, but I think it's meant to be an homage to Lovecraftian storytelling. I really liked that one line about "bricks prodding at my back like angry fingers" because the image just stuck, and before you know it, the next story is about actual fingers in a brick wall. So, nice touch of foreshadowing, that.
The Venebretti Necklace COME HIDE IN MY BOSOM, BOOTH. Miss Coburn is awesome.
The Bone Key Follows up on the theme of curses. This is mostly Booth's backstory.
Wait For Me "Amelia Stapleton, the Girl who Never Grew Up" is exactly my mental label for Amelia Pond in Doctor Who series 5.
Drowning Palmer This one really resonated with me, for personal reasons. It's a bit psychological, and I loved the whole thing about the dream and the memory. And I loved Ratcliffe! He's grown up so much from the boy in Booth's childhood. They're almost but not quite friends here.
The Inheritance of Barnabas Wilcox Okay, for some strange reason, I flashback straight away to the Musgrave Ritual in Sherlock Holmes when I think about this. (Maybe because the Musgrave Ritual also took cues from Poe and had an element of gothic horror to it?) This was a good follow-up to Drowning Palmer, in that it involved one of the bullies in Booth's schoolboy days, except this one hadn't outgrown his schoolboy self.
Elegy for a Demon Lover One of the weaker ones, IMO. You could smell the incubus from a mile away, and I guess it's more of a palate-cleanser than anything, to prep for the next story. And it does make a lot of sense, and it's quietly sad.
The Wall of Clouds Booth recovering from the fallout of Demon Lover. This one I didn't quite "get". It's creepy and well-set (it fits a lot of whodunit tropes), but I feel like I should have been more affected than I was. I did love Augustus Blaine's presence here as part of Booth's subconscious. Especially since I'm casually rewatching random episodes of Fringe. Excuse me while I fall back into my Fringe feelings.
The Green Glass Paperweight This may be my favorite piece. I know it milks out the gloominess of Booth's life, but it just really works. It gives a better background to Booth than The Bone Key, and presents a ~darker side to him. It's chilling and ominous and a bit of a twist.
Listening to Bone Reminds me of xxxHolic. Who wouldn't be creeped out by a boy following you around and appearing at your windows?...more
This is a pretty thick collection (27 stories), I'm surprised I finished it. Neil Gaiman's introduction ("Just Four Words") was fantastic and arguablyThis is a pretty thick collection (27 stories), I'm surprised I finished it. Neil Gaiman's introduction ("Just Four Words") was fantastic and arguably the best part. XD It's an eclectic mix, loosely bound by a theme that may or may not have been met by the contributors; everything's pretty much hit-or-miss and there's only a handful I'd recommend, which is to be expected. (My personal favorite is Kat Howard's "A Life in Fiction".)...more
Would it be wrong if I said I loved this collection unrepentantly? The stories are ridiculous but so entertaining. All of Sherlock Holmes - especiallyWould it be wrong if I said I loved this collection unrepentantly? The stories are ridiculous but so entertaining. All of Sherlock Holmes - especially post-The Final Problem - is (weary) fanservice, but here ACD isn't even bothering to hide it. XD My experience of Casebook is less about the actual cases and more about the relationship between Holmes and Watson. It's hilarious. I love it. Holmes really is a bit of a bitch, half the time I want to grab Watson by the shoulders and tell him he deserves better. But also, also, in spite of Watson's passive-aggressive remarks about how he has been reduced to being one of Holmes's "habits", we're treated with a view of an openly protective Holmes, which I think Watson narrates perfectly:
"You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!"
It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
ALL THE FEELINGS.
No, actually, I really just enjoyed how ACD was past the point of caring and doing all sorts of things to the stories. (I especially loved Holmes's POV, he was very endearing. BEES.)
PS. Holmes's crowning moment is definitely this line:
The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our assocation. I was alone.
I want to print it on a t-shirt or something. I mean, a wife, really, Holmes, hahaha....more