Roald Dahl always turned me off, probably because of how he cheated on Patricia Neal. Turd. His books get the glare from me and are not allowed into mRoald Dahl always turned me off, probably because of how he cheated on Patricia Neal. Turd. His books get the glare from me and are not allowed into my home. Biased yes, I just never liked him.
However, since this is an audio version of one of his short stories, I have not broken my own rule. He still can't enter the front door, but listening on the commute was okay. With all that said, I really enjoyed this short production. The values are all there, the actors spot-on. Very good, very enjoyable, and the lemony twist at the end was excellent.
But Mr. Dahl's printed children may still not enter my abode.
A young self-absorbed woman voluntarily quits her London job with the purpose of finding herself. She finds herself at loose ends with the loss of her daily work routine supplanted by her new daily routine of sitting at a computer looking for work online. The comedy and asides come from her realizations of a changed life. This is NOT a story about the struggles and self-sacrifice from the book's heroine, as she happens to live with a brain surgeon intern, so money is not an issue. Security is not an issue. It's just a search for a new way of life, preferably one with passion.
Verdict: For me, I had difficulty with the basic premise. There aren't any real obstacles or issues or concerns. She won't starve to death. She won't become homeless. She just wants to do what she wants to do. Hmmmm. No problem with that, you only get one life so do what makes you happy, if you have that privilege (which she has). But there's really no there, there. What the protagonist views as 'problems', the rest of us wouldn't give a second thought.
However, I very much enjoyed the narration by Emily Bruni, which was marvelous. She reads, but reacts. The sentences are clearly delivered and I almost came to like Claire Flannery and her half-hearted attempts at confidence building. Almost.
...clusters of supporters lining my route to cheer me on my way
Book Season = Summer (the season of me, myself, and I)
I was very much looking forward to reading this Tor short. Why?
1. The Cover Please, someone somewhere, just publish all the Tor covers in one volume. TI was very much looking forward to reading this Tor short. Why?
1. The Cover Please, someone somewhere, just publish all the Tor covers in one volume. These are terrific.
2. The Reviews Everyone seems to like it.
My experience ended up like a three-act play.
ACT ONE Yay! I have waited as it wended its way up my book pipeline and now I am reading it. Woohoo! Ooooh, spooky weird! Great start, very involved.
ACT TWO Slowing down a bit. But boy, that cover sure is something. Yes, still reading, still involved, just not as much as before.
ACT THREE Is this over yet? Let me guess, there will be a twist at the end, ya-ya. But what a cover.
Alas, I fall out with the other reviewers. There's nothing exceptionally wrong with the story, but I just lost interest. It was well-written, but it just lost some steam along the way. Or maybe I was just upset that Liverpool had lost the Europa League.
The sentences are beautiful, the sentiment is strong, and the overall structure is intriguing. How can you go wrong with an opening of javelinas drownThe sentences are beautiful, the sentiment is strong, and the overall structure is intriguing. How can you go wrong with an opening of javelinas drowning as they try to outrun a flash flood?
...the air filled with their screaming as they were swept away.
I was hooked. Then it was a cherry bowl of words and meanings, which I don't think I really comprehended, and probably wasn't supposed to comprehend. There's much angst and pain and frustration, all of which kept me going as a reader, although I'm not sure, in the end, what it's all about.
If I could knit you a crown of potential futures like the daisies you braided together for me when we were young, I would.
Whatever it is that stands behind him sighs: a long, slow, drawn-out sound of grief.
This wasn't a creepy story, so much as a tale of supernatural crun Whatever it is that stands behind him sighs: a long, slow, drawn-out sound of grief.
This wasn't a creepy story, so much as a tale of supernatural crunching. I can still hear the snow being stepped upon, by the "wolves", by the whatever-it-is, by Tom, by Thom. Crunching. Nothing in this ebook was what I expected. And I loved that. Primeval spirits, the others who we can no longer relate to because we are too obsessed with progress.
Sometimes an aeroplane goes past, its metal body buzzing, no bigger than an insect. When his mother sees this, she looks weary, and says, “Thank God the war is done.”
What war? Is it the future? Or just a reflection of the past? I was hooked from beginning to end and still want more.
What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morninHow does that song go?
What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morning.
It relates to this Tor.com novella, because I was a tizzy and needed someone to throw some water in my face after I reached the ending. Reeling. Not from a boat ride but from Trains that go off the track. Instead of whales, thar be Trains with dragon souls here.
Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Ear-ly in the morning.
A woman with a son who learns the secret of Trains (capital T). Or is he? Or is she? Reeling. When the gods left Greece, I thought they went to Iceland, but apparently not. They took a turn into Finland and darkness.
That's what we do with a drunken sailor That's what we do with a drunken sailor
The surprise ending was fine with me, and the ending that I thought was going to occur would have been fine with me also. Nor did I seem bothered by the translation. I do know that Finns control the winds, so why not Trains?
That's what we do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morning.
Each morning, I leave in darkness to walk to the transit station to begin my commute. Each morning, the Train toots me in greeting, as we arrive at the station at the same time. It's like it's looking out for me. I've always felt that about Trains. If the Train is not feeling well, I take the bus. If the Train is feeling jolly, I hop aboard.
So, this story was perfect for me. Still reeling, though.
This was a fairly quick read, as it is a short, short-story. Goblins always cast a spell upon me, so I gobbled up this tale of the wood-stealing GobliThis was a fairly quick read, as it is a short, short-story. Goblins always cast a spell upon me, so I gobbled up this tale of the wood-stealing Goblin.
I'll keep this short...perfect for a winter's eve, preferably when the moon is out, because that's the best way to see a Goblin at midnight. It is both an adult read and one that can be told as a child's bedtime story. I wanted more, but why should the world take notice. 'Tis just a winter's tale.
Book Season = Winter (crackle of boots on snow)...more
The second book in the Harry Potter series was not the second Potter book I read, but little matter. Having started with #4 and then backward into #1,The second book in the Harry Potter series was not the second Potter book I read, but little matter. Having started with #4 and then backward into #1, I devoured this as my thirst grew. It's a "just-right" book. Not too big, not too small, but just right.
1. Treacle fudge that cements jaws together. 2. Explanation of Quidditch. Rowling has some imagination. 3. Slugs coming out the mouth. No child could yell 'yuck' as I did. 4. The Sorting Hat reading minds. I will ALWAYS love that. 5. Moaning Myrtle.
Ah, the list could go on forever. It was quite fun to be able to read this as an adult and knowing it was waiting for me as my nightly read, which made the day move so much quicker.
Book Season = Autumn (to me it's always October in Potter's world)...more
Mermaids and regrets make for absorbing reading. This TOR short story has that New England-ish gothic scent to it, so I was hooked fairly quickly. DoMermaids and regrets make for absorbing reading. This TOR short story has that New England-ish gothic scent to it, so I was hooked fairly quickly. Do we really know all that lurks beneath the seas? I think not. Live your life without regrets.
By the time the Great War had ended, the world was a bit tipsy. Perhaps the strongest survivors were the women who had worked in the factories and fouBy the time the Great War had ended, the world was a bit tipsy. Perhaps the strongest survivors were the women who had worked in the factories and found themselves with extra money, more freedom, and a yearning for more rights. The 1920s brought somewhat liberated young women to the forefront, as they were the remaining half of the wiped-out generation. This book is really a reflection of that new fast-moving world, as young Lolly Willowes decides to start doing her life the way she wants it done and not pre-war style.
But the satisfaction was there, a demure Willowes-like satisfaction in the family tree that had endured the gale with an unflinching green heart.
Lovely sentence to describe the protagonist's family and why she needs to define herself as herself and not someone's sister or aunt or daughter. Is this how one becomes a witch? And what is a witch in the scheme of it all? Lolly strikes out on her own and meets the Sly One and it's all involved page-turning from there.
He left his pipe and tobacco pouch on the mantelpiece. They lay there like the orb and scepter of an usurping monarch.
I enjoyed the economical writing and the fluid storyline. The NYRB catalogue seems to be making its way into my collection because of such wonderful selections and such wonderful printed books. This trade paper was set in Trump Mediaeval, with an elegant frontpiece. Hard to ignore, easy to read.
Quiet desperation. Lonely lives played out against cups of tea and marmalade. Elizabeth Taylor wrote of the 'silent majority', those (us) who go to woQuiet desperation. Lonely lives played out against cups of tea and marmalade. Elizabeth Taylor wrote of the 'silent majority', those (us) who go to work, raise their children, pay their taxes...yet have issues and yearnings, all kept hidden behind tidy front lawns. This is what it is to be middle-class in a 'nation of shopkeepers'.
For the sake of a tan, she was wasting her holiday - just to be a five minutes' wonder in the bar on her return, the deepest brown any of them had that year.
There are eleven short stories in this collection, probably her best. Each story has its own angle, of course, but never far from tea rooms and shy, sheltered living. The oddy is The Fly-Paper which is a bit of a horror story. Macabre. Taylor was first a governess and then a librarian. After getting married, she began the stories based on her comfortable life in a comfortable English village.
“I dislike much travel or change of environment and prefer the days … to come round almost the same, week after week,” she said. Her writing is a reflection of this.
I first read this while holidaying on North Caicos, where I found the book sitting outside a general store. Boaters would drop off the books they had read and take the ones they hadn't. No one had touched Taylor's book, the proprietor said, so I gladly adopted it. Luck was with me. Taylor was a lovely writer, extremely under-rated. Crafty prose, clear details, and that constant craving.
A man leaves his wife to purchase a loaf of bread...and never returns. Did he die? Did he purposely hide? An accident? He just vanishes. Then the storA man leaves his wife to purchase a loaf of bread...and never returns. Did he die? Did he purposely hide? An accident? He just vanishes. Then the story begins, as this is about the wife and how her perception of the world, and herself, changes after her husband is no longer in her universe. Bit by bit, her surroundings take on a different look, a different feel. Even his pictures change. Will she disappear, too, now that her anchor is gone?
Even when named, touched, or crossed through, ghosts lose none of their power or indulgence.
This is isn't a long pull of fiction but it kept me turning the pages. I thought about how we define our lives and stay within our outlined universes. Yet, when something unexpected happens, the present suddenly becomes the past. I felt as though I was in an Escher print.
These aren't stories of horror. These aren't stories of terror. These are stories of the uncanny. Which means I'm glad I finished the book, so I can sThese aren't stories of horror. These aren't stories of terror. These are stories of the uncanny. Which means I'm glad I finished the book, so I can start sleeping at night again.
This fine collection of eerie tales is just perfect for tilting your world off-kilter. Are the protagonists really enduring these frights or are they suffering from their own mental illnesses? Can we prevent that which we believe is about to happen? Or all we all lost?
Loved every story, some of which are shorter than others. William Trevor is not on my bookshelves, but that will now change. His story about Mrs. Acland and the man she writes to (while she's residing in an asylum) kept my attention all the way through. Robert Aickman's, The Inner Room, had me in a cold sweat, and Joyce Carol Oates, M.R. James, Ray Bradbury, Robert Graves, Edith Wharton, and Truman Capote also feature here.
But there was one story which kept me riveted. As a child, my first experience with Father Christmas came during a balmy day in Melbourne, when I found myself suddenly plopped onto the lap of a fat man in red who scared the bejesus out of me. Until then, I only knew of Sint Niklaas, who was thin and normal. My parents took a picture of me wailing at the top of my lungs, tears streaming down my face, as I tried to run away from the scary red man. In this book is a tale called, The Chimney, by Ramsey Campbell. It brought back memories of a Father Christmas who, perhaps, is not quite the jolly figure we are supposed to love.
This is a David R. Godine publication, which means it is well laid-out, nicely edited, and with the usual explanation of type used (Van Dijck).
But, oh, that chimney.
Book Season = Autumn (but I was too scared to wait)
These are NOT the Christmas Books of Ebenezer Scrooge and other volumes which put the winter holiday on the map. These are the annual holiday-themed sThese are NOT the Christmas Books of Ebenezer Scrooge and other volumes which put the winter holiday on the map. These are the annual holiday-themed stories Dickens published in his Household Words journal. These stories made Mr. Dickens the prophet of home life. He brought imagination into the winter homes and told his readers that comfort, a cozy fire under the hearth, spiced wine, and a good story made home-staying worthwhile.
...there are strings in the human heart which must never be sounded by another, and drinks that I make myself are those strings in mine.
In this collection of his Christmas tales, Dickens combined goodwill with tales of shipwrecks and orphans and traditions. There aren't any ghosts of Christmas past nor the haunted recollections of doomed men. Instead, the reader gets a poverty-stricken man relating his "castle in the air" or a narrator describing the various country inns of Yorkshire, "haunted by the ghost of a tremendous pie".
The stories I liked best were the maritime tales of The Wreck Of The Golden Mary and The Perils Of Certain English Prisoners. Reading of adventures on the high seas when the weather outside your own home is cold is always worthwhile.
...a right little island, a tight little island, a bright little island, a show-fight little island...
Not every story whammed me and I probably do love his actual books of Christmas season more (mostly because of the haunted tales), but these were a worthwhile read. Family, friends, rituals.
Book Season = Winter (a glass of Smoking Bishop) ...more
The packaging of this little hardcover book is rather nice...purple cloth cover with an inlet picture of a medieval townscape. So, of course, I purchaThe packaging of this little hardcover book is rather nice...purple cloth cover with an inlet picture of a medieval townscape. So, of course, I purchased it. I'm a sucker for good covers.
As you live, you find yourself among a community of fellows-or so you believe.
This is a first novel, one combining magic and proto-realism. Past and present. The real and the unreal. It's a bit of a mindbender, that's for sure. Politics and the subversion of the creative mind come to the forefront, in a roly-poly fashion.
This is the natural course of things, that we rein in our energies, defer to the agencies of others and, for the sake of the common good, hew to a common course.
I liked the journal style of narration and the take on modern humanity. It's the type of book meant for a programmer sitting in a cubicle in a vast fortress of an office.