Collection of lovely short stories about children and adolescents. Very dark themes. They brought up a lot of emotions for me. Long after reading this...moreCollection of lovely short stories about children and adolescents. Very dark themes. They brought up a lot of emotions for me. Long after reading this book, I found myself thinking of certain of the stories. Each story is complete; she really knows how to write short stories well.(less)
The edition I read has a wonderfully informative foreword by the author’s son. The foreword does give some information that gave me a clue as to what...moreThe edition I read has a wonderfully informative foreword by the author’s son. The foreword does give some information that gave me a clue as to what was coming in the story, but it didn’t really contain any spoilers.
A few of my Goodreads’ friends have read this story recently and their reviews and comments definitely piqued me interest.
So, wow! This story was published first in 1938, and I can see why it’s a classic.
I can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a story, in this case told via letters, when I can’t say I really liked any of the characters. But I was affected greatly by the actions of the two main characters, the letter writers. And the final few letters are amazing and so worth discussing with other readers.
This is an incredibly fast read. It’s also a story that will have the most impact if the reader knows nothing about the story. Reading the foreword first was okay for me, but actually I think I’d have rather read it after I read the story.
It’s hard to write a review of this because I can’t say anything about this without spoiler tags. Really, I just suggest it be read. It’s great in a quiet way. I was both appalled and delighted by it. For me, it packed quite a punch.
I’m not even sure why, but I can’t give this less than 5 stars.
I wonder if my mother read it. She was a Jewish woman in San Francisco at the time it was published, and she was an avid reader.(less)
These stories are a perfect way to introduce children to Shakespeare’s plays. I loved this book when I was 10, and I’m convinced it’s one of the main...moreThese stories are a perfect way to introduce children to Shakespeare’s plays. I loved this book when I was 10, and I’m convinced it’s one of the main reasons I was a Shakespeare fanatic well before I entered high school.(less)
Oh, I was hoping that this would be my last 2010 holiday book; it would have been fitting seeing as how I don’t consider myself to be somebody who is...moreOh, I was hoping that this would be my last 2010 holiday book; it would have been fitting seeing as how I don’t consider myself to be somebody who is a fan of holiday books. But, I see that there are two more holiday books that I’m expecting from the library. Ah well.
Perhaps this isn’t worth 5 stars but I laughed, a lot, and I thought the whole thing was clever. Much is made fun of here, not just the holidays. Art and the art world are among the subjects skewered here.
The story is very amusing and there are many hilarious lines.
The illustrations are a hoot too, very funny.
The whole book is very whimsical and very clever.
I did take it off my children’s shelf though because in my opinion this is primarily a book for adults.(less)
Well, this is the book (chapter) that got me to add an ebooks shelf. I don’t have an e-reader so I read this on my iPhone. This (short) short story le...moreWell, this is the book (chapter) that got me to add an ebooks shelf. I don’t have an e-reader so I read this on my iPhone. This (short) short story length piece was easier to read on my iPhone than I would have imagined, given its small screen. It probably helped that this is not a full-length book.
Not only did I give Michelle Richmond's novel The Year of Fog 5 stars, but it’s on my favorite shelf. So, I was very excited to read the author’s blog and find out that this missing final chapter to that book is now available. I always want more. Unfortunately, I don’t own the novel, a situation I should rectify someday, and so I was afraid my memory might not be sharp, but everything about the book came back to me immediately as I was reading this.
This chapter is beautifully written, as is the book, and I enjoyed seeing what happened after the ending of the published novel. Even more satisfying was learning more about exactly how Emma had disappeared. I had fun reading it. Finding a bit more about what happened to Emma and Abby felt very satisfying. However, I do think that the author made the right decision to leave the chapter out of the original book, even though I remember being a tad frustrated having the charaters’ futures left up to my imagination. I’m delighted that I had the opportunity to read it now though.(less)
I loved this book. The stories are marvelous. They’re exceptional. They’re incredibly deftly written. Each story is a gem, as is the entire narrative....moreI loved this book. The stories are marvelous. They’re exceptional. They’re incredibly deftly written. Each story is a gem, as is the entire narrative.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it wasn’t a comfort read for me. In fact, all my hypochondriac tendencies and fears about my future health status were activated, but I loved the stories anyway, despite feeling sad, infuriated, and especially really scared at times while reading. It greatly helped that the compassionate nature of the writer continually shines through the pages.
I haven’t enjoyed a short story book as much since I read How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. Although I’ve always enjoyed reading essays, but my usual preference is to read novels and full-length non-fiction books rather than short stories and books of short stories. However, these are intersecting stories, with characters that sometimes make appearances in different stories. The stories also somehow feel as if they’re part of one story, and in general they do follow a timeline, from young to old, from students to experienced medical doctors. The whole thing worked really well. I thought the stories fit together so well even before I got to the last story, and that last story solidified the job of tying all the stories together.
These stories are published as fiction but all along they read as truth to me, and the last story makes clear that each does have a huge non-fiction component. That’s why this book is on so many of my apparently contradictory shelves.
I love the quote that starts the book: “If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth.” (It’s by Tim O’Brien from How to Tell a War Story. I can’t find that book at Goodreads but I probably wouldn’t add it to my favorite quotes anyway, even though I really like the quote and it definitely fits this book.) One of my big quibbles with medicine, ever since I was aware, from eleven years old on, is the dishonestly. When it comes to medical matters I value honesty above all else. (I recently took a continuing education class about end of life care and was tempted to write a long rant in the feedback section to their contention that what is most important when treating a patient is hope. Not for myself it isn’t; it’s honesty.) I appreciate that she has worked in palliative care.
I loved the San Francisco settings. I could identify most of them and am familiar with some of them. I always enjoy books that I can put on my san-francisco shelf. This book makes wonderful use of the city, its medical facilities but also many other places.
I really appreciated how skillfully the relationships and communications and miscommunications were explored, from cross-cultural, to supervisor-supervisee, doctor-patient, between lovers and between friends, between group members, etc.
As I read these stories I couldn’t help but be aware of the following of my feelings/beliefs: Don't get sick. Don't get disabled. Don't get old if not in perfect health, and be wealthy, not poor. And perhaps: Don’t go into medicine, or be careful it’s your true calling if you do. I have physicians in my family and I’ve watched many in the process of dying, so I’d already thought a great deal about these matters, but reading this book has caused enough of a shift that I think I’ll be looking at death & dying and doctor-patient relationships slightly differently.
I’m always impressed by and frequently enjoy writing by physicians. On the back inside cover of the book, in the bio section, it says that “She is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she cares for older patients and directs the Northern California Geriatric Education Center and UCSF Medical Humanities.” She probably couldn’t have written this exact book without her medical training and practice, but it reads as a book written by a true writer, and I hope she writes and publishes more work. I’ll read it if she does.(less)
This is a very short story, even for a short story. Thanks to Mark I found out about it and thanks to Miriam I read it almost immediately. Even for th...moreThis is a very short story, even for a short story. Thanks to Mark I found out about it and thanks to Miriam I read it almost immediately. Even for this slow reader, it really did take just a few minutes to read.
I normally don’t like Selkie stories, but I really liked this one. This story is incredibly skillfully told. It’s such a short story, yet it has a very satisfying story arc, and it packs quite a wallop, but also has humor, and it’s very smart.
I didn’t think I liked Selkie stories, and I usually like novels better than I like short stories, but it turned out that this is my kind of story. I just added a novel by this author to my shelves. (less)
I picked up this book and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. Luckily, it’s a really quick read. I was able to fully appreciate the graphic fo...moreI picked up this book and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. Luckily, it’s a really quick read. I was able to fully appreciate the graphic form of these stories. I admire the author for trying to describe mental illnesses to potential readers who might not otherwise understand them. I think, given the brevity of the work, he does a reasonably good job accomplishing what he intended to do. It’s hard for me to determine if readers knowing nothing about mental illnesses will be even close to adequately educated if they read this book, but it would be a start.
I enjoyed these graphic stories., both the stories and the art. They’re an entertaining and somewhat effective way to describe and take the stigma away from various mental illnesses. The author-artist describes patients he met while training to become a mental health nurse. The account became emotionally powerful when, in the last section, he describes his own difficulties with depression and anxiety, and how he was able to cope and thrive despite these illnesses. Everything from dementia to anti-social personality disorder to schizophrenia to self-harm to bipolar disorder, to depression, etc. is covered.(less)
At the beginning of every folktale there’s a brief blurb with some backg...moreFor informative brief descriptions of each tale, please see Abigail’s review.
At the beginning of every folktale there’s a brief blurb with some background information relating to Jewish history, tradition, and the “moral” of the tale. I relished these little summaries because I was not familiar with many of the tales and I welcomed knowing a bit about each tale I was about to read.
I really enjoyed most of the included folktales. I chose to read only one or only a few at a time rather than reading them one right after another with no other books in-between, and I think I appreciated each tale more reading them in this way. Every tale is the perfect length for a read aloud story for children belonging to a wide age range, and they are all basically parables and all are good for eliciting discussion.
I appreciated the included illustrations although, if I’d seen them out of context, I would not have found them particularly aesthetically pleasing. There are pretty multi-colored tale/chapter titles and page borders. There’s a wonderful glossary, and I was gratified to see that I knew many of the words, but not all of them. The sources listed were just as fascinating as the notes that start each tale. This book is worth reading cover to cover.
This is a lovely book and would make a thoughtful gift. (less)