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Take a Look at the Five and Ten

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Ori’s holidays are an endless series of elaborately awful meals cooked by her one-time stepfather Dave’s latest bride. Attended by a loose assemblage of family, Ori particularly dreads Grandma Elving—grandmother of Dave’s fourth wife—and her rhapsodizing about the Christmas she worked at Woolworth’s in the 1950s. And, of course, she hates being condescended to by beautiful ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published November 30th 2020 by Subterranean Press
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  360 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
A motley collection of tenuously connected relatives is forced to gather for holidays each year. From the point of view of the narrator Ori, who is the daughter of a woman who was married to the host several wives ago, “ you can see why I start dreading Thanksgiving dinner some time in July.” At each of these dinners, Grandma Elving (it doesn’t matter whose Grandma she is) recounts the story of the Christmas season of 1960, during which she worked at Woolworth’s. Lassiter is the date of one of t ...more
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors. I really enjoy how she can blend lots of historical details and research with truly comical situations, as in To Say Nothing of the Dog. This novella captured that style on a smaller scale, even if the historical details are the memories of an old woman at Christmas time, rather than time traveling historical researchers.

This short story (about 120 pages) is sweet and engaging, and very Christmasy. It's like a cozy peppermint latte in book form. I lau
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
This one is a classic Connie Willis romantic comedy novella centering around her favorite holiday, Christmas. There's a lot of miscommunication and running around, good-natured (mostly) disagreement with quirky relatives, and, though the actual scientific content is rather slight, an interesting plot and a bit of a mystery. The mean girl comes out second to the nice girl narrator, the sweet old lady is vindicated, and it's a happy seasonal story lacking only a Dickensian blessing. It's Connie Wi ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Jingle bells, jingle bells...what? too early? Well so was this book. I am the first person reviewing this and quite prematurely too, I recommend saving this one until December. This is one of the two relatively slim Christmas themed volumes from the Subterranean Press that have just turned up on Netgalley. Wish I knew just how Christmas themed, I’d have saved it for December. For an October read it still had a certain charm, but not quite enough of one. It reminded me of the movie Last Christmas ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a light romcom novella. I read is as a Buddy Read for December 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group.

The protagonist, Ori, each year has to endure meeting of assorted relatives, connected to her via multiple marriages of her once step-father. Among them are Grandma Elving, who tells the story of her work at Woodworth in the X-mas of 1960 and Sloane, step-daughter by the current marriage. The later each time comes with a blond and tall boyfriend, each time different. This tim
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Super cute and fun - just a great little Christmas treat.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I didn't already love Connie Willis, this novella would do it! Take a Look at the Five and Ten is just what we need right old-fashioned heart-warming Christmas story. Grandma Elving's reminiscences of working at Woolworth's at Christmas circa 1960 took me back to my childhood and the "dime store" that was an Aladdin's cave for kids in the 60s. Penny candy, nylons, table linens, lipstick, embroidery silks, baby could buy just about anything at the "dime store," and it wa ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love Connie Willis, and actually had no idea she dabbled in Christmas-y fiction! Color me pleasantly surprised when I saw this book pop up. This is the perfect read for those who appreciate science fiction and Christmas things, but are not on board with the relentless Hallmark schmaltz available in the holiday-read genre. It perfectly captures the frustration of family at holiday dinners, the relentlessly repeated memories of some of the older among the crowd, and the pure nostalgic joy of sno ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it
A Christmas novella from one of my favorite authors. Willis is a sci-fi author in the classic sense, and especially with her short fiction tends to pick one idea or concept and really focus on it. In this case, it’s traumatic flash bulb memories, the phenomenon where moments of extreme trauma get burned into one’s memory in unusually vivid and unusually long-lasting detail. While I do, as a rule, adore Connie Willis, this one felt a little bit phoned in. Cute and fun story, but not one of her be ...more
Kate Zdenek
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
On the surface, this novella is a holiday romantic comedy. But underneath, there is a strong message. Everyone in the family is tired of listening to Grandma repeat the story of the time she worked at Woolworth's. They ignore and disregard her and her story until Sloane’s newest boyfriend takes an interest.

I think the author is trying to shed light on the way many people get caught up in the trappings of fame, fortune, and fads and forget that there is more to life. Simple pleasures and love ar
The Captain
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:

1. Connie Willis wrote the doomsday book and it was seriously one of the best books I have ever read;
2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and
3. I now try to read all the Connie Willis I can get me hands on.

I requested this not reading the blurb because ultimately I know it
Harrison Schweiloch
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis

I love Connie Willis. She is my favorite living author. She may be my favorite of all time. I still remember the first book of hers that I read - I got a copy of Doomsday Book from the science fiction book club when it came out on the 90s. It took my breath away. Her books make me laugh and make me cry and I wish I hadn’t read them all already because reading one off her books. for the first time is a singular treat.

I have had the pleasure of meet
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well this was my introduction to Connie Willis, and will definitely need to track down more books by her. A Christmas tale, that was really enjoyable. Great characters and a great story. Plus, I love novellas as introduction to authors, as they are quick reads, and definitely let you know if you will enjoy the author, And I definitely enjoyed.
Lou Jacobs
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And yet, another gem from Connie Willlis. She provides in novella length another delightful, heart warming and
humorous Christmas tale. Featured is a dysfunctional, amalgam of somewhat related family members interacting during the holiday season. Our main protagonist is Ori who finds herself invited to a slew of never ending holiday dinners ... starting with Thanksgiving and culminating with a New Year's Eve buffet.. At age eight her mother was briefly married to Dave .... and he still considers
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denice Langley
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An early Christmas present to yourself! The younger members of an extended family group will almost always grow weary of listening to grandma's stories of her youth, but they are missing some of the best times in family history. When all you have to give is your wonderful memories, be sure to share them with those who would appreciate and cherish them.

Family dinner at her one time step father's home is a trying experience. Just trying to figure out which wife's family the person sitting next to
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella
This is archetypal Connie Willis: light science fiction, adorable rom-com between people you want to root for, department stores, Christmas, historical fiction and miscommunications. Honestly, it reads a little like "we forced an artificial intelligence to read the entire oeuvre of Connie Willis and then it wrote this" -- it bears a striking resemblance to parts of Time Out as well as Bellwether. But I'll still read everything Connie Willis writes: it's adorable, funny and wholesome.

By the way,
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Kindle recommended this to me after I finished reading A Lot Like Christmas, and the description intrigued me enough that when I couldn't find it at any of my libraries I actually paid real American dollars for it. Whoa. And it was definitely worth the $3 I paid and I hope that this will be included in a future edition of A Lot Like Christmas. ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Easy to read without too much extra writing that Connie Willis is so famous for. The story flowed beautifully. A very sweet story. Warns the heart. Very interesting too!
Matthew Galloway
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well how about that — I actually read a Christmas story on Christmas. (I’m typically more of a watch Krampus or Rare Exports type 😏). This was utterly sweet and the character voice was perfect. I love Connie Willis’ scientific romantic comedies more than just about anything.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short & sweet love story perfect for getting into the Christmas season and reminding ourselves that there are happy things out there as well, even if we can only get them in Connie Willis' books.

This being a novella, it's hard to review it without giving the whole plot away. Our protagonist Ori is a modern-day equivalent of the Austenian "poor relation" at her strange family gatherings (strange because the family is a quilt made up of Ori's various step-siblings, second-aunts-twice-removed, an
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick, pleasant Christmas read. It was nice. Haha... I don't know what else to say. It wasn't groundbreaking or incredibly good. It was nice. The annoying characters were very annoying. I was rooting for the nice characters. Sometimes the nice characters frustrated me with not acting like I would. But all around it was nice to read.

Sexual violence? No. This is a spoiler. Don't look. Unless you've already read it or don't care. Sexual violence is mentioned as a possibility of a trauma
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, contemporary
This is a very cozy Christmas story that I think will appeal to fans of contemporary romance as well as to fans of contemporary science fiction. While I am sure Willis' science in this book is sound (she always does such great research) there isn't a major focus on the science part in this novella. The bigger focus is on the characters and their relationships and growth.

I really appreciate the way Willis can write fiction about science this way. As with her novel Bellwether, this story isn't "sc
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley.

"Take a Look at the Five and Ten" is a wonderfully cozy holiday novella featuring many of Connie Willis' favorite tropes. If you have read much of Willis' work before then this story will feel comfortingly familiar.

Ori, our narrator, starts the story off by bemoaning the endless stream of awkward family holiday dinners she's forced to attend every year. One of the main features of these dinners is Grandma Elving, and her endless recitation of details about t
Paula Lyle
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Connie Willis obviously loves Christmas. I love Christmas and Connie Willis. Those of us old enough to remember the many versions of a five and dime store will revel in the descriptions of what they were like and how they made us feel. Warm and cozy.

I received an eARC through NetGalley.
Angie Boyter
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A quintessential Connie Willis Christmas Story. Perfect for the holiday season.
PS it has a special delight if, like Grandma, you can remember Christmas in 1960.
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Cute, quick, happy. Nice story for Christmas.
Catherine Sullivan
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another fun Christmas novella in classic Connie Willis style.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC copy of this book.

Quirky extended families, holiday seasons, and a little romance. This novella will make you laugh, make you smile, and make you cringe at times at how badly family can sometimes treat each other. This makes for a very nice holiday read.
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Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer. She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the 1980s and 1990s.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti

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