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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2014-05 Short Story Collection Reviews

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Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2827 comments Mod
I am SOOOOO sorry everyone. See, Tien is on leave and everything goes to pieces. Seriously, I thought that I had set this thread up last week. I need to make better lists.

So, without further ado....Please share your thoughts, ratings, and anything else you want about your Short Story Collections here.

And don't forget to post quotes from your Short Story Collections here

message 2: by Lyn (Readinghearts) (last edited May 06, 2014 01:36PM) (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2827 comments Mod
Lyndi wrote: "Planned short story collections to read this month; Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark , More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark , 20th Century Ghosts , and..."

Looks like you are in for a scary month, Lyndi. :) Be sure to come back and post your reviews or comments here when you finish reading each book. Just FYI - we usually post the list of what we are going to read in the What will you read? folder. If you are interested in what the rest of us have slated, you can look at our lists here

message 3: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1644 comments I just finished my first short-story collection for this month with The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I don't really enjoy short stories that much as there is so little character development usually. I picked this one, I must admit, as it fit into my Scattershelves challenge.

I liked the beginning (and end) of the collection which tells us about a man whose tattoos come alive at night to tell their story. I thought that was an interesting concept, however by the third story I felt that they were, well, just regular short stories. With Ray Bradbury as the author, you can guess that they were in the sci-fi realm and that is probably my least favorite genre of all. It's probably a good read for a short story and sci-fi fan, but not so much for me. Personally, I'd give it 2 stars.

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2827 comments Mod
Lynn - I remember reading this in high school, and how creepy I thought it was.

I have to agree with you about the character development. I actually enjoy short stories, but when I do find one that doesn't measure up, it is usually the character development that is at fault. If not that, it is the plot development. Too many authors spend time developing the plot and then decided. "Oh, this is a short story, it needs to end," and just cut them off.

message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa O'Rourke | 46 comments I have just finished Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. A collection of stories that intertwines the elements of sadness, isolation and dissatisfaction. None of the characters were intriguing or even mildly likeable but for some strange reason I could not stop reading...very Ishiguro.

message 6: by Marie (UK) (last edited May 29, 2014 05:56AM) (new)

Marie (UK) (mazza1) | 569 comments I have just completed The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas

I am not a lover of short stories and this fails to change my mind. Out of the 8 novellas i enjoyed "The intruder" the most - a story with beginning middle and end and a twist to the tale.

There are 2 elements that keep reappearing - things are not what they seem and something clandestine.
A 3rd element appears in the number of heart attacks in the protaganists of the tales - it seems to be a favourite of the author.

Well i will not be a short story convert
I have also readThe Schoolmistress and Other Stories: Short Story

what a dreary collection of tales without beginning middle or ends only 2 were of any interest most just make me want to die.

message 7: by Noam (new)

Noam I just finished Stephen Kings Night Shift and Neil Gaimans Fragile Things. Thoroughly enjoyed both! It was my introduction to Stephen King. He has a mountain of works and it was overwhelming for me. I never knew where to start. Short story collection was a good way to go.

Im working my way through Gaiman's works and I love everything so far. Dark and whimsical, my style! American Gods up next.

message 8: by LyndiLea (last edited May 19, 2014 09:05PM) (new)

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 57 comments I started with 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. Not many people know that this is Stephen King's son due to the different last names. I have read a couple of Hill's novels prior to this short story collection. Both novels were excellent so I had very high expectations for the short stories. I was sadly disappointed. None of the stories have an ending, they just cut off 2/3 the way through and move on to the next story. The stories would start off really good and get you super involved and into them and then just stop. I don't understand why he wrote them this way. His novels have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Why did he skip this on the short stories?

Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks I've completed B.J. Novak's One More Thing Stories and other stories. The title appealed to me. Story of my life, so to speak. Some stories made sense others left me lost.
The last two questions in the Discussion Questions section in the back summed up the book best for me
*Do You think "why not?" is ultimately a better question than "why?"
*Why or why not?
Have to read the book to get it. :-)

message 10: by LyndiLea (new)

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 57 comments I finished A Touch of Dead and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Both were good collections. However I would only recommend A touch of Dead to hardcore Sooki Stackhouse fans. Most people wouldn't be interested in it. My son and I both enjoyed Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I remember reading it as a child and all the stories came flooding back to me after reading the first one. My son is 9 almost 10 and he really enjoyed them as well. Every time we get in the car he asks if I will turn the audiobook on.

message 11: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I read Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories. It is a well-written collection but not really what I think of as short stories, but more like vignettes or character studies. They are quirky (sometimes downright weird) and thought-provoking, but most did not have a straightforward plot. I enjoyed it however.

message 12: by LyndiLea (new)

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 57 comments Over the weekend during a long car ride to the inlaws my son and I finished the other two books in the Scary Stories Collection, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories to tell in the Dark 3. We both enjoyed them, him a little more than me, but thats to be expected. I did notice at least one repeat story from the first book. I don't have any more short story collections picked out for this month but with 11 days left who knows I might add one more in there.

message 13: by Susan (last edited May 20, 2014 09:01AM) (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
I read Shift Omnibus, which someone put on this shelf even though the three pieces are rather too long for me to think of them as short stories. I loved the book, except for the sloppy grammar which made me angry and detracted from my enjoyment of the book (see the quote thread for some examples). My review here .

I also finished reading His Last Bow, which I'd started last month. My review here .

message 14: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1644 comments I read How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. Although I am rarely a fan of short stories, I have to say that this collection was very readable and that I enjoyed it probably more than any other I've read in the past. I still think that short stories feel incomplete in some way, but these were interesting.

message 15: by Susan (last edited May 27, 2014 06:26AM) (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a short work, but I was still a bit surprised that it's listed on this shelf. I think perhaps it's here because it's a compilation of shorter pieces that were initially published serially. I found it a bit frustrating, and gave it only 3 stars. My review here .

message 16: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I managed to squeeze in one more short story collection: Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx. I have never read her before but I did enjoy this collection. I visited Wyoming a few years back and her vivid descriptions of the places and people in Wyoming brought back good memories. Some of the stories were a little stranger than others involving elements of magical realism - I thought they were a nice departure from what could otherwise have become a very serious collection. The first story hooked me. Glad I found this on the library sale shelf!

Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks I originally posted this on the wrong thread. So here is the repost.
Finished my last May choice, Redeployment by Phil Klay. Amazing book with the ability to stir a variety of emotions with each story. Klay seems to have so many bases covered. Reality checks from multiple views and no sugar coating. These stories wouldn't be doing their job if you agreed with all of them. By turns heartbreaking, disgusting, and illuminating with slivers of hope. Told from a voice that rings true.

message 18: by Charity (new)

Charity | 545 comments I am finishing up a last minute add to last month Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri . I must say that I appreciate this series of short stories much more than my last selection. Great pick for a shelf, especially considering I wouldn't normally choose these kinds of books to read.

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2827 comments Mod
I did actually manage to get in one short story collection in the month of May. It was Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver. Not having read any of Deaver's work, I felt this book was a perfect introduction. It had a couple of stories with characters from his series in it, but mostly just a lot of good shorts in the mystery/crime genre. He said he likes to stretch himself, so he included a couple of stories that were more sci-fi/fantasy than crime, and they were really good, too. I am definitely looking forward to reading one of his full length novels.

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