Hi, Hey, Hello!
I am very aware that it is pretty much the depths of winter and very much November now, but just in case you are finding yourself dreaming of sunnier times consider this an injection back to those uncomfortably balmy nights with dusks that stretched on for hours on end and held all kinds of promise (I am not necessarily one of those people, there are elements about summer that I love, but the colder seasons are where I am very much in my element) I have something for you.
In the form of 12 short stories that I read when London was experiencing a rare heat wave and Catch 22 just wasn’t what I wanted at the time (and it still isn’t to be honest, I need to work on that). I’m gonna go through them and say a little bit about each short story because that just seems like the easiest approach to it, so be prepared, this could go on for a while.
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail – I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this one with a title like that, but I was pleasantly surprised by it as an opening story. It has a heavy sense of magical realism (if you can call it that, I mean there is a better word for that but for some reason it currently escapes me) to it and I have a bit of a complicated relationship with that. The way it is written is stunning and some of the images that are created just floored me because they were so beautiful, however I wasn’t generally a fan of this story. It was pleasant enough, but not one that I would ever think about going back to.
The End of Love – This story was so quiet in the way that it moved along. It was like a hum that sort of somehow drew you in and before you knew it it was over and the next story had started. I’ve never read any Nina LaCour (although she is on the list) before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from her writing style, but I liked it. It was enjoyably to read and I got far too attached to these characters far too quickly for something that lasted around 30 pages.
Last Stand at Cinegore –Again I have never read anything by Libba Bray, but I think it’s safe to say that I really like her as an author. This story is also in the realm of magical realism, but this one fell firmly in the camp of one that I liked. Maybe it was the slightly (but not really) horror aspect that was attached to it. Maybe it was the fact that it was set in a cinema and for some reason I really liked that. Maybe it was because it made me laugh. Maybe it was because the characters in it were fantastic and I loved them. Maybe it was because it was so ridiculous that it almost made sense. I liked it. It was exactly what I needed on my commute into work.
Sick Pleasure – This story is almost a total contrast to the previous 3 and I liked that aspect of it to be honest. It wasn’t your typically love story in anyway. It was almost cruel. It was jarring in that respect as well because it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Not in a bad way. Just in a way. Yeah that’s kind of all I have to say about it. I liked it but that was mainly because it was so different to the others and it stood out. I dunno, it felt a bit too real and as I was reading at the time I just needed total escapism and not to be reminded that things have the ability to be a bit shit. But on the other hand that was also part of the reason that I liked it.
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North – Yaaasss to the return of these characters and the opportunity to fall back into the comfort of Stephanie Perkins’ writing. Just all the yeses. That’s literally it. I think this was my favourite of the whole book and I just really love Stephanie Perkins.
Souvenirs – This was a bit of a dark horse for me. Mainly because I wasn’t expecting much from it, don’t ask why, but the title was misleading and I was being judgy about it. And also it was set at a camp/amusement park kind of thing and that just didn’t sound all that appealing to me. However this also turned out to be one of my favourites in the whole collection. I really liked the way that it was written and I might hold a tiny, special place in my heart for Matty, just something about him that I can’t help but like. I enjoyed it…
Inertia – I honestly couldn’t really tell you if I actually understood this story. I think I did. But I mostly didn’t. And as such I don’t think I really liked it…I mean on one level I could appreciate it and the way it was written was great, but I could not tell you for the life of me what it was about from start to finish. There was some kind of sci-fi/fantasy/that kind of realm element to it, but that is as far as I can get with it in terms of content…I dunno, it’s a weird one for me.
Love is the Last Resort – I tend to like it whenever something opens directly addressing the reader, I am a total sucker for the 4th wall being broken what can I say? Having said that I wasn’t necessarily a fan of this story either. Something about it felt a little bit old school and reminded me of Red Oaks on Amazon, which I stopped watching because I just couldn’t get into it. That kind of sums up how I feel about this story. It took me a while to get into it and then by the time I maybe almost cared it was over and I was on to the next one.
Good Luck and Farewell – Again this was kind of one of those quiet stories that I blazed through quite quickly and left feeling all warm and fuzzy. I loved the characters in this story and I was almost sad to see them go when it came to an end. Top 5 stories for sure.
Brand New Attraction – This one was passable for me. I mean, like, it was readable but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Initially I thought it was because of the setting because it’s set in a carnival and then I remembered that The Night Circus is kind of a similar set up, so it’s probably just the story itself that I didn’t like. There was some nice characterisation but that’s sort of where it begins and ends for me.
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong – Again, all the yeses to this one. A top 3 entry for sure. It hit me that this was one that I was going to enjoy in a big way from the first page, just something about it caught my attention instantly. The characters. Ugh I just want more from them. I love them. They are up there as some of my favourite new characters that I have been introduced to this year. And the story is just so overwhelmingly heartwarming for me and just what I needed and wanted at the time. I very much liked this. (And also, and this does happen in earlier stories as well, but representation. Actual, good representation…)
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things – The Groundhog Day vibes are real in this story. And also was such a cool concept to play off of. And also mildly horrifying. Just in a gosh could you imagine reliving the same day so often that you start looking for tiny perfect things that you can hit each and every single day because you need something to structure your days with kind of way. It kind of made the story seem like an incredibly slow burn because it didn’t seem to progress anywhere, even though it obviously was in some capacity. It was also a bit of a mind fuck in that respect, just the same thing moving in a cycle just with slightly different variations. I liked this story quite a bit actually. It was a subtle build up of tension that I enjoyed and was a nice way to round off the collection as a whole.
And with this mammoth of a post I conclude my final (she hopes) bonus book review of the year because I’ve got a lot of Reading Challenge books left to read.
Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!
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