Short Stories

Book Review: Song for the Unraveling of the World

Song for the Unraveling of the World
Author: 
Evenson, Brian
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

At the beginning of this year, one of my reading goals was to try a new
genre. The short story genre is the genre I never new I needed until I read
this book. The strength of short stories, in my opinion is the ability of the
author to do a lot within a small amount of space; creating strong character
development, great world building and meaningful messages within each story.

Within a few pages Everson manages to create character driven stories that
are terrifying, full of paranoia and delusion and at the same time haunting
and beautiful. From a girl without a face, to a therapist who never leaves
his patience alone, to a film director willing to do anything to get the
perfect final scene, these stories evoke a sense of fear and explores exactly
what we will do to fulfill our most inhuman impulses. These stories provide a
great introduction to a genre I now love. I can’t wait to see what else
Everson does, he is definitely one to watch. Thank you to Eidelweiss and
Coffee House press for the Digital Review Copy for review!

Reviewer's Name: 
Tawnie

Book Review: All Out

All Out: the no-longer secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages
Author: 
Mitchell, Saundra
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

All Out is a collection of short stories from different times in history.
These short stories keep you on the edge of your seats with every page. Being a LGBTQ+ Short story book I was delighted with detailed stories keeping with historical values and cultures. Everything from Pirates to Runaway Brides this book has it. Lovely storylines and flow. Definitely a must read for teenagers.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Lizzy B
Awards: 

Book Review: Gwendy's Music Box

Gwendy's Music Box
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

While most people think of Stephen King's book as being scary, this book was more suspenseful than scary. It is the story of Gwendy, a 12 year old girl who decided to run the suicide stairs in her neighborhood to lose weight before school starts. She meets a man wearing a black hat at the top of the stairs. This man calls her over by name and gives her a specialw box that will give her chocolate and silver dollars. The box has buttons on top and Gwendy can control what may happen by pushing one of the buttons. Once she takes the box, good things start happening in Gwendy's life. Gwendy becomes obsessed with the box and keeps it with her until after college, when she comes home one day to see a familiar black hat in her apartment. The story moves quickly and keeps you interested throughout the phases of Gwendy's life. If you are interested in Stephen King books but don't want to read anything too scary, this is a great book to start with.

Reviewer's Name: 
Brenna C.

Book Review: Ajax Penumbra 1969

Ajax Penumbra 1969
Author: 
Sloan, Robin
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

As I said in my review of Sourdough , I absolutely adored Robin Sloan's debut work, Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore. Since Sourdough didn't necessarily sate my appetite, I found Ajax Penumbra 1969 to be a light snack that brought me back into the world created by Sloan. Acting as a bit of a short story/novella prequel to the first book, Ajax Penumbra 1969 still maintains the themes common in Sloan's work: mainly, the combination and juxtaposition of analog and digital technology. In this case, the reader just happens to come across this dichotomy in 1969.

Following the titular character from the first book, Ajax Penumbra 1969 gives the origins of this mysterious character as he searches for answers and eventually ends up in San Francisco at a little 24-hour bookstore. The following mystery and intrigue are what I would expect from such a story, but the inclusion of the budding technological aspects of the late 1960's helped to show that not only was this character finding his way to an eventual life filled with books, but technology's infancy already had much potential at this early stage of development.

It's a little difficult to say much about this short story/novella since it didn't even take a full two hours to listen to. At any rate, it's a fun little side story for those who had picked up Sloan's first work and fell in love with the ideas and characters presented therein. While not necessarily a book that most people would pick up and read without having already read Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore, Ajax Penumbra 1969 is required reading for anyone like myself who has become enamored with Sloan's writing style over the last few years.

A fitting prequel to the events of Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore, I give Ajax Penumbra 1969 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" is a collection of bedtime stories from the Wizarding World, with commentary from Albus Dumbledore in between. This book was amazing! I loved getting a new perspective of the Wizarding World, even after the end of the Harry Potter series. I also enjoyed getting to read the stories that were mentioned in the series, such as Babbitty Rabbitty and the Cackling Stump. It is like a little taste of Hogwarts that will make you homesick. Each story is captivating and full of J.K. Rowling's trademark wit.
I would recommend this to people who love Harry Potter and want to return to the Wizarding World one more time.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Interpreter of Maladies

Book Review: Interpreter of Maladies
Author: 
Lahiri, Jhumpa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book was beautiful in the variety of characters portrayed in the short stories. All had a common thread of India and Indian culture, but each story was in a class of its own. It's hard for an author to really dig deep in short stories, but there is depth in these. There were a few that ended abruptly, but I loved each and every one of them and I learned a lot about Indian culture.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies
Author: 
Lahiri, Jhumpa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories that reveal the immense cultural differences between America and India. Jhumpa Lahiri writes with such elegance that each individual story evokes a wide variety of emotions. My favorite part of this book is that all the stories come together to form a well-developed image of life in India compared to life in America. I also like that it does not portray one lifestyle as better than the other; rather, it just highlights the differences. Even in short stories, Jhumpa Lahiri has the ability of putting the reader in another person's shoes and immersing them in different cultures. Because of the beautiful writing, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in different cultures.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sabrina J.

Book Review: The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado
Author: 
Poe, Edgar Allan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This isn’t a full length book but rather a short piece of writing - the first I read of Poe’s but by far the most entertaining. The piece is set in an unnamed Italian city during the Carnival season and depicts the protagonist, Montresor, inviting Fortunato, a former friend, to a wine tasting in his cellar. Fortunato previously insulted Montresor and this invitation isn’t one of forgiveness, but revenge. The language isn’t difficult to understand as most pieces from the 1800's are and there isn’t any research needed to be done beforehand in order to read this piece. The Cask of Amontillado possesses a dark, morbid theme which is entertaining depending on the audiences interests, for example, if increasingly horrifying character behavior is something that surprises you. I felt a range of emotions from suspicious to terrified throughout the piece and if there are any audiobooks you can get your hands on, that definitely assists in terms of establishing a more realistic setting. When I listened to the audiobook, echoes of their voices and droplets of water dripping from the ceiling of the damp cellar were included to contribute to an overall eeriness.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Isabella W.

Book Review: Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice
Author: 
Sedaris, David
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

I listened to this book, most of which was read in a nasally, whiny voice. The initial stories about working as an elf at Christmas-time had tears of laughter pouring out of my eyes, Unfortunately, the book rapidly went downhill. This satire started out funny, but it kept going too long as if the author didn't know when to end the story. There were also some disturbing images that added absolutely nothing. The stories were sarcastic, but the bitterness in them really turned me off. Can't recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Robin

Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
Author: 
Tim O'Brien
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Things They Carried is a collection of short stories, written by the protagonist (Tim O’Brien), of self reflection about his experiences during the Vietnam War. O’Brien itemizes a list of the things, both tangible and intangible, that members of his platoon have brought with them to war. The plot follows the fate of the Alpha Company members both during and after the war, as well as adding O’Brien’s personal comments on the events he transcribes.

This book humanizes war. It’s no longer one side versus another, but actual people with lives and stories beyond the war. I really enjoy the style O’Brien uses, inserting himself into the story gives the novel verisimilitude. This book is very unlike books I normally read, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much it made me think.

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma

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