The stories were of varying quality and interest level. I think Stephen King does well not just as a horror writer, but as an author of general characThe stories were of varying quality and interest level. I think Stephen King does well not just as a horror writer, but as an author of general character-centric fiction. This was not my favorite of his collections, but a couple of stories stood out. ...more
I think this might have been more interesting without the short introduction, which tells you a bit about the story first. Best just to plunge in. ItI think this might have been more interesting without the short introduction, which tells you a bit about the story first. Best just to plunge in. It begins as a fairly typical “couple buys a new house cheaply and scary things happen story.” I sometimes wondered why the characters did what they did. It’s a quick, easy read, though it could have benefitted from more tension building. The story ended a bit abruptly, but with one of those “gotcha” endings. I was probably more intrigued by the untold story behind the story than by the story itself. There are some extraneous commas that need to be edited out. ...more
I've watched A Christmas Story nearly every year since I was about ten, but until now, I had never read the collection of short stories upon which itI've watched A Christmas Story nearly every year since I was about ten, but until now, I had never read the collection of short stories upon which it is based. This book contains five short stories that were seamlessly integrated by the author to create the screenplay for A Christmas Story. Some passages were used line for line for the narration, and consequently I couldn't help but hear the movie narrator's voice as I read.
The narrator in these stories does indeed have a very distinctive voice, and the intentional melodrama with which he writes is amusing. Some of his turns of phrase are highlight worthy, and these stories are simply fun to read. The collection gave me more perspective on some of the scenes in the movie, such as the Bumpeses dogs, why Ralphie doesn't want to simply ask for the BB gun outright, why the major award Ralphie's dad receives is a leg lamp, and the bully dynamic at school. We get a bit of a frame story in a couple of these stories and therefore get to see the narrator at an older age too.
Some of my favorite lines in the movie are not present in these stories, and vice versa. There were some necessary changes to meld these five stories into one for the screen, but on the whole, the movie is a faithful adaptation of the tales.
The only thing I didn't like was the way the author suddenly slipped into present tense from past tense from time to time. I assume this was a stylistic decision rather than an editing error, as it happened frequently, but I didn't feel it worked stylistically. It was slightly jarring.
If you love the movie A Christmas Story, there's really no reason not to read and enjoy this little collection. If you hate A Christmas Story, then certainly skip this book, but...I don't understand how you could hate that movie. If you were lukewarm about the movie, give the book a try. You may like it anyway. And if you've never seen the movie (how is that possible?)...read the book first, and tell me what that reverse experience is like....more
This short story is a mystery/thriller of sorts set in a semi-Dickensian England. Mary doesn’t quite know who she is or why she’s afraid of the lightsThis short story is a mystery/thriller of sorts set in a semi-Dickensian England. Mary doesn’t quite know who she is or why she’s afraid of the lights or how she came to be where she is, but she’s trying to remember. The writing style is solid enough, with some good scenic detail, although the story does sometimes seem to slip in and out of dialect. The story was a quick and easy read, and I was interested to see how it would turn out. However, I never felt I got enough of a sense of any of the characters that I could care one way or the other about them. There wasn't enough backstory, and the story was wrapped up too quickly. I wanted more development.
Note: I received a free copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review. ...more
The first half of this collection was good; I like her writing style, and I find her characters and stories to be very emotionally raw. She writes aboThe first half of this collection was good; I like her writing style, and I find her characters and stories to be very emotionally raw. She writes about real human experience and often subtly captures the pain and loss and achings that are common to most people. This is sometimes cathartic, but the focus on those rawer emotions can grow heavy at times as well, because it is so rarely balanced by attention to the positive.
Part II was a more difficult read than Part I. I’m not sure if it was the first person narrative style (for two of the stories) or if I had just lost steam, or if they just weren’t nearly as good, but I skimmed the second half of the book. ...more
Hawthorne's talent lies in short story writing. The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories is a fine collection of his stories, though I also recommendHawthorne's talent lies in short story writing. The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories is a fine collection of his stories, though I also recommend Twice Told Tales, which contains a number of stories not in this volume. One of Hawthorne's lesser known works was chosen as the namesake of this volume. "The Celestial Railroad" is not considered to be particularly profound, but I thought it was an extremely clever parody on Pilgrim's Progress. The story dealt with a very serious temptation for Christians: the temptation to believe that there is such a thing as an easy road to Heaven. I think my favorite story in this volume is "Wakefield," simply because it is so unusual and bizarre. (It reminded me, in a manner, of another favorite short story, Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener.") I also recommend "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Egotism, or the Bosom Serpent."
"The Celestial Railroad" is not generally considered one of Hawthorne's more profound works, but I think it is a brilliant and often humorous parody which at the same time issues a serious warning to Christians who would like to pretend that there is a broad and comfortable way to heaven.
I don't _like_ Faulkner, and yet he _impresses_ me. This short story cycle gave me the usual moments of awe, and the usual moments of difficulty. I diI don't _like_ Faulkner, and yet he _impresses_ me. This short story cycle gave me the usual moments of awe, and the usual moments of difficulty. I didn't like it as well as Absalom, Absalom, but I would read it any day over The Sound and the Fury....more