Heather's Reviews > While I'm Still Myself

While I'm Still Myself by Jeremy Mark Lane
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Jan 01, 2016

really liked it
Read from February 28 to 29, 2012

Generally speaking, I’m not one for short stories. Or at least I haven’t been. This is the third (that I can think of on the fly) book of short stories I’ve read in the past 6 months (or so). And I’m starting to rethink my position on short stories. I like that, mostly, there are several pages that contain an entire story. No, the stories aren’t in the same level of depth as a full-length novel, but that’s OK. They’re satisfying in a different way. Plus, honestly, as a mother of three (the oldest of which is 8), reading a full novel without significant interruptions – interruptions that often cause the story to become disjointed in my mind – can be a challenge. It’s easier to find a good stopping point amongst short stories! That’s, of course, not the only reason I might have to rethink my opinion of short stories. The other is that when they’re well-written, they’re really quite fun.

Enter Jeremy Mark Lane. He’s an excellent writer who presents several well-crafted tales in his short-story collection While I’m Still Myself. His writing is easy to read – no confusion – and very clean. I was very impressed by how well edited the book was – and not just for content, but for grammar, spelling, etc. It’s so, so nice to see such a well-written book also be as readable as something published by a BIG publisher.

The stories themselves are filled with compelling characters and impressively detailed plots. As is the case with most short stories, they end with an abrupt conclusion – and I think that’s the hardest thing for me to get used to. Where novels sometimes take too long to wrap things up, sometimes I want a little bit more out of the short stories. (Maybe I should be looking into novellas?) That said, I didn’t find any of the endings in this book to be anything other than satisfactory. They still were abrupt, but didn’t leave me frustrated. In many of these cases, the story is a small portion of a larger theme, but the tale being told is complete.

My favorite thing: cleverness. The best example is that Lane finds a way to get the collection’s title, While I’m Still Myself, into each story! I didn’t notice at first, but in the second or third story I caught it, then went back and checked the one(s) I already read to find it there, too. I loved how seamlessly it was integrated into the stories. It’s a very nice touch.
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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim I've always liked short stories for the reasons you've mentioned. In a busy life, they can be a real boon to my reading, but more than that, they have a different style & impact than a novel. It's a different art form since they have so little room to paint in the background.


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