Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread” as Want to Read:
Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  6,567 ratings  ·  743 reviews
Stories you'll never forget—just try—from literature's favorite transgressive author

Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display; in "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school
Hardcover, First Edition, 318 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Doubleday
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Make Something Up, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cavak It doesn't, but there are some stories that would benefit from an older perspective due to some cultural references and the mature nature of certain s…moreIt doesn't, but there are some stories that would benefit from an older perspective due to some cultural references and the mature nature of certain scenes.(less)
Fight Club by Chuck PalahniukA Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton EllisTrainspotting by Irvine WelshInvisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Best Transgressive Fiction
737 books — 891 voters
Remembrance by Michelle MadowV for Vendetta by Alan MooreIncarnate by Jodi MeadowsVengeance by Michelle MadowThe Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
161 books — 90 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,567 ratings  ·  743 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
Althea Ann
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Knock Knock - Starts this collection off in true Palahniuk fashion. This tale of a man telling jokes at his dying father's bedside, and reminiscing about their past is full of sentimental pathos - but is also guaranteed to have you cringing in discomfort.

Eleanor - The main point of this piece seems to be how many malapropisms can be shoved into a piece of writing, while retaining its basic comprehensibility. The malapropisms also serve as double-entendres, for example: 'Jehovah's Witless.' Most
Phil Sykora
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't know what's up with all of the overly negative reviews for this book. Personally, and I don't know if you give a shit but I don't really expect you to, I've always sided with Kurt Vonnegut when it comes to book reviews: "Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."

Just read the damn book. Don't expect every short story to be the best you've ever read. As long as you do that, you
It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a Palahniuk book. Huge fan of his early stuff but I found myself getting more disappointed with every new book he published until I gave up completely. On a whim, I decided to give him another chance, hoping he'd maybe gone back to his roots and was extremely happy to find he has. This is like any other short story collection, some are fantastic, others good, and a few just ok but none of these shorts can be categorized as boring.

Those unfamiliar with Palahni
Nicole D.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Best left unread

I liked Haunted, and I thought this might be like that. I'm not sure what this is. It's a bunch of boring stories, which aren't in any way entertaining.
You don't need to "unread" them, you need to never have read them to begin with. Save yourself ... it's too late for me.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
“Aim low and you won't be disappointed.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread


Plenty of shock, just not enough Palahniuk awe (3.5★).

This book is filled with two dozen of Chuck Palahniuk's short stories. 'Make Something Up' is clear evidence that Palahniuk is the king of grotesque and a sometimes master of the short story. Sometimes his prose is a bit uneven. A few lazy narrative couple trips but a couple of these stories were nearly perfect gems of disgust.

There were t
Peter Derk
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Haha! I finished this one year to the day after I bought it!

Every person I tell that, they say "How do you know?" Because I used the purchase receipt as a bookmark, fuckers. Do not question me. I mean, it's pretty fair to question me when it comes to dates, times, and whatnot, but when it comes to not throwing away a receipt out of sheer laziness, I'm unassailable.

It's kind of become tradition for me to write an annual-ish defense of Chuck Palahniuk. I think he's become a very popular author to
Horror Bookworm Reviews

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
by Chuck Palahniuk

Finally receiving a degree in communications, Monkey takes her newly written resume to Llewellyn Food Product Marketers, Inc. Now employed she finds herself standing behind a folding table located in grocery and department stores offering food samples for shopping consumers. Blessed with nonstop charm and a pleasant smile, Monkey was an instant success. However when the company is faced with the test of selling a problematic kind of ch
Ashley Daviau
Apr 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It really pains me to give this book such a low rating. I'm a HUGE Palahniuk fan and I've loved every other book by him that I've read. I was expecting to love this as well, I really thought that short stories written by Palahniuk would pack quite a punch. But I was terribly wrong and I wish I could unread these stories and scrub them from my brain. Each and every story literally left me sitting there with a confused/pained expression on my face and thinking what in the actual fuck did I just re ...more
Elizabeth Olesh
Mar 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why do I always think I will enjoy Palahniuk's books? And then I don't. Boo.
I’m a huge fan of short story collections. They are perfect for a busy and hectic schedule. You can read one or more at a time, depending on how long your reality break is and you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the middle of a “can’t put this book down” moment. I also like the fact that a well-written one has a concentrated punch that leaves you pondering it for days. A great collection will offer you a sampling of the author’s thoughts across their spectrum of moods, just a taste o ...more
Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈
I attempted to read this but this is the first time I'm marking something I "Did Not Finish." This tries way too hard to be edgy and was just downright offensive. There are a slew of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic remarks. There's rape jokes and just derogatory comments about women in general. Please don't try to tell me I "just don't get the joke". I do and it's not funny at all.

I was actually a fan of his before this but after this mess, I really don't know.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book did kind of leave me conflicted. I really liked some of the storied, but felt like others didn't really capture the kind of writing style that I'm so used to from this author. I feel like he really excels at novel-writing, but when it comes to short stories, it's kind of a hit or miss. I really liked "Zombies", "Knock Knock", "Phoenix" and "Cold Calling", and many others I enjoyed too. Some were just full-on strange, and not in a good literary way. I can tell he worked harder on some th ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: why-did-i-read
How sad. I was very excited to start this book, because in high school I loved Palahniuk. But.. Perhaps my tastes have matured. I read the first story, thought it was okay but disturbing (which is what I expected actually,) but couldn't even get through the 2nd 2 stories. It was then I gave up.

There are too many books to be read to force myself to read one I'm not enjoying.
Stacy Fetters
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Santa's sure you choked down bigger meat than this!"
Chuck Palahniuk finally came out of the closet.... I bought this book awhile ago and put it in my tbr closet and I forgot all about this gem until I went digging into the dark pit known as the book closet. As it sat there gleaming like the holy grail, I reached down.. eyes wide and held it close my to chest... like my precious.
"It's like in death, we all get a glamour shots makeover."
For awhile Ive been trying to track down all the magazines
Dani St-Onge (Literary Lion)
Disclaimer: A free copy was received through the Goodreads First Reads program.

A collection of transgressive short stories written by Palahniuk over the course of a decade, including some previously published pieces.

It’s hard to start with this book, it’s story are mostly held up on cheap shock and gross-out tactics while relying on attempts to add surprising twists at the ending. At least one story is written in a faked dialect nearly impossible to read and only one or two stand out as actual
Ed Erwin
Many of these stories seem to be intended to be shocking. Maybe I'm just jaded, but none were shocking or titillating to me. But some were interesting.

This is my first experience with the author, apart from the movie adaptation of Fight Club. It wasn't what I expected based on that film. The stories are similar to what is called "Bizarro Fiction", though at least one, Expedition, is more like the New Weird Horror of Thomas Ligotti.

My favorite stories were the three that were in the style of Nat
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Palahniuk asserts himself as a modern-day O. Henry geared towards the present-day thirst for satisfyingly shocking stories of Schadenfreude (building blocks: horror, humor, and humiliation) in this collection.

Of note, "Cannibal", a gutsier "Guts", which actually churned my stomach; "Torcher", wherein the reader - and the world - is introduced to an all-new pulp sub-genre, the Burning Man Noir (think Inherent Vice with more mud, music, mutants and mayhem), and the surprisingly touching "How a Je
Allen Adams
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

When viewed from the outside, it’s rather remarkable that someone like Chuck Palahniuk could become such an iconic figure in popular literature. In a literary world filled with writers who are content to play it safe with their talents, Palahniuk has never been afraid to let his freak flag fly, telling stories of outsiders and generally delighting in his role as a subversive voice.

There are those who would still call Palahniuk a “cult novelist” – likely lo
AmberBug com*
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015 review

Dear Reader,

Yes! Chuck is back. This story collection renewed my love for his storytelling capabilities. I don't know why but his past few books haven't been connecting well with me. There was a moment there that I wanted to chuck this against the wall (breaking my paperwhite) just because he starts off with some pretty terrible stories. Thankfully, as you trudge along, the light gets brighter and brighter. I don't know how else to do this but break down my thoughts in o
Emm C²
There was actual cannibalism afoot in this book and I didn’t even notice because I was too busy trying to unprocess the medley of other sour details this book was feeding me. I guess it follows through with its promise, because now I have to slice the memory off of my brain.

Don’t get me wrong, Make Something Up is not by any means a bad collection, but it’s kind of crude after reading Haunted. I adored Haunted despite the fact that it was meticulously vile, because that works for depressive horr
Sebastian Radu
A collection of sick, vulgar and skilfully written short and repulsive stories. Highly recommended! 🙈
Jun 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I remember the good old days of being in high school and thinking that Palahniuk was a world-star writer. I gave up on him after his dreadful attempt to be Chaucer with "Haunted." When I saw this book available at the library, I figured, "What the hell? It can't be that bad."

But I was wrong. It physically hurt my eyes to read this nonsense. I do not understand the cult following behind him. Sure, it is "edgy," but doesn't it need to be well-written too? If all you're doing is being shocking, the
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I feel like I say this about every short story collection I read. Short story collections just seem kind of hit or miss for me, and every time I read one there are stories I love and stories I hate. Make Something Up is no different.

Of course, there are the par for the Palahniuk course gross out stories ("The Toad Prince"), but there were several stories that I felt had a bit more nuance to them. "Expedition" was wonderful. I love the idea of Tyler being sort of hereditary, and I thought some o
Apr 22, 2016 marked it as never-finished
Shelves: short-stories, 2016
Why do I even try to read Chuck Palahniuk? He's just not for me. Adding this to my Never Finished shelf.
Aj Sterkel
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with Chuck Palahniuk. I love him because he can somehow get away with writing the most offensive, politically incorrect, disgusting fiction ever. I hate him because I don’t feel smart enough to read his work. Somehow, I always have the feeling that he’s laughing at me while I struggle to understand what the heck is going on. I don’t always get the point of his stories. Many of them just seem offensive for the sake of being offensive. This totally messes with my ov ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I must admit to flipping through most of the stories in this volume past the first three. I can really only review one, with any sort of knowledge or intelligence, because I just didn’t care for any of the others, so I’ll review Zombies and leave it at that.

Zombies was a terrific story! I wish a YA writer would have come up with this idea and written a novel, because that’s a novel I’d like to read. There is an epidemic of sorts among the teens of the United States. When they become overwhelmed
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marie F
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Knock, Knock: A disturbing jumble of male experience and death... Sincerely awkward and repulsive, even offensive at points, but in a way that begrudgingly works. 3.5 stars

Eleanor: Tedious... I think the word substitutions lose some of their impact due to the vast number--might have worked a bit better for me if written in first person for this reason (as it could make a fun character trait), but ultimately it still would be tedious to have to parse out the intended meaning and significance. May
Hafizz Nasri
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I love that the stories setting in variety scenarios. Giving me too much opinion as a whole-- gruesome at a point, bitter and heart-rending, quite bizarre, funny and yet disturbing.

Loving few writings in here especially the one related to Llewellyn Foods-- the monkey, coyote and aardvark. It was enjoyable though a bit mind blown.

Creative-- the title tells it all. Loving the ending twists to some stories. The crazy mind of Chuck!
Rahul  Adusumilli
"The joys of widowhood only last until you get married again."

It's 2018 and some us are still reading Chuck Palahniuk, smh. If that ain't a warning sign, I don't know what is.

Although some of the stories felt like "being water-boarded with no secret concession to offer," this is by and large a return to form for Mr. Chucky P.

"His worst fear was that true love only existed in retrospect."
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Sexy Part of the Bible
  • Song of the Silent Snow
  • Waiting Period
  • Dermaphoria
  • Crime
  • Diary of a Drug Fiend
  • Exquisite Corpse
  • Frisk
  • Novel with Cocaine
  • Three Hundred Million
  • The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
  • La memoria donde ardía (Voces / Literatura nº 279)
  • Мексиканські Хроніки
  • All Families are Psychotic
  • The Soft Machine (The Nova Trilogy #1)
  • Slaves of New York
  • Kiss Me, Judas
  • The Insult
See similar books…
Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more

Related Articles

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list,...
30 likes · 8 comments
“It sounds trite, but only because words make everything true sound trite. Because words always screw up whatever you’re trying to say.” 8 likes
“By the time you turn thirty, your life is about escaping the person you've become in order to escape the person you've become in order to escape the person you started as.” 6 likes
More quotes…