Short Stories

Book Review: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Author
Reynolds, Jason
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Look Both Ways By Jason Reynolds is a ten different short stories about kids walking home from school. The ten stories are woven together by the context of a school bus falling from the sky. But no one knows because they were all too busy with their lives. In ten different walks home from school, Look Both Ways captures the humor, poetry, and liveliness encompassing middle school and early high school life. It also explores seeing two sides or more of the same perspective. For example, the ‘bad kid’ may be good-hearted. I think the book was masterfully put together and woven ten stories seamlessly together. This book made me laugh, hope, cry, and believe. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book with 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name
Lucia

Book Review: Stories of Your Life and Others

Author
Chiang, Ted
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

After reading Exhalation , I found myself in search of more stories by Ted Chiang. This led me to Stories of Your Life and Others. Partly because this collection included many of Chiang’s earlier stories, not all of them were great pieces of literature like the ones in Exhalation. I could tell that Chiang was still trying to find his voice as a writer as he explored many science fiction topics common to the genre. While not all of the stories are fantastic, there are enough good ones to warrant reading this collection.

What’s a little disappointing is how some of the ideas Chiang explores in this book are truly interesting topics, but the execution of these stories feels a little too erudite for the common reader. I appreciate Chiang’s later ability to humanize these ideas (as shown by my love of Exhalation), but he just wasn’t quite there yet with these early works. Still, there are a handful of award-winning stories in this book, including “Tower of Babylon” and “Hell Is the Absence of God.” Chiang’s ability to combine science and religion is second to none, and these stories prove as much.

One story in this book stands out from the rest. It makes sense that “Story of Your Life” was the titular choice for this book. For those unaware, the movie Arrival (2016) is based on this short story (and is a pretty close adaptation). Even if you only read “Story of Your Life,” I think you’ll get something out of this collection. It is by far the most approachable of these stories, and it deserved all of the awards bestowed upon it when it was originally published in the late 1990s.

A good collection of Ted Chiang’s early works that contains a few sparkling gems, I give Stories of Your Life and Others 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Wrong Train

Author
De Quidt, Jeremy
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

A boy is trying to get home by train, but he ends up on a strange platform with no one around and no idea when the next train is coming so he can get home. A man suddenly appears and sits with the boy, telling him rather strange stories while they wait.

This book is a collection of short stories that revolve around a bigger story. All of the stories are creepy and mysterious. If you are the kind of person who likes to be creeped out just a little, but would still like to sleep at night, this book is for you. I am not a huge horror fan, but I could not put this book down. I found this book in the kids section (the little ghost sticker on the binding intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a try) so this could be the reason I found it more bearable and less creepy than other books of that genre. No matter what grade, if you are looking for a spooky book, you should give The Wrong Train a try (unless you find it not scary at all, in this case I suggest you read it anyway because it's still pretty good.)
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name
Emma

Book Review: The Metamorphosis

Author
Kafka, Franz
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

After turning into a bug, Gregor realizes he is late for work. However, it soon becomes apparent that Gregor will no longer be able to work. His family's view of him quickly changes as his previous contributions to it are quickly forgotten. This thought provoking book questions people's worth after they are lo longer able to contribute to society. Although the writing style is dry, the book is filled with allegories and symbolism that comment on the nature of individuals in society. This leaves readers to examine their own views on an individual's worth to society.

Reviewer's Name
Mark

Book Review: Everything's Eventual

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I read this book because I watched the movie “1408” which is based on the short story by Stephen King thats in “Everything’s Eventual” and I wanted to see if the book was as good as the movie. Everything’s Eventual is a book that’s full of short story’s, and while I didn’t like a few, there was also a couple really good ones! I would highly recommend one of the short story’s called “The Road Virus Heads North”. It has actually become one of my favorite Stephen King stories. Also, I personally thought it was one of his creepiest. Overall, if you are a big Stephen King fan like me, I would recommend reading this book.

Reviewer's Name
Emani K.

Book Review: The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

Author
Sapkowski, Andrzej
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Those of us who have seen Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher will find this collection of short stories quite familiar. The first book in the series, The Last Wish introduces the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he goes about his job ridding the world of dangerous supernatural creatures. It’s no wonder the TV series felt a little disjointed, as it had a series of short stories that were loosely connected via Geralt to work with. Still, these stories are solid and help flesh out the world where humans and creatures live together, rarely in harmony.

Told in a somewhat chronological manner, these bite-size stories often carry over and blend into each other in a way that feels natural. Actions in one story may influence the characters in another, so there is something deeper here than just a collection of short stories. While this technique is rarely used, I can appreciate how each story has a purpose in advancing the main character's overall story. That being said, not every story is as enthralling as trying to save a noble’s daughter from a curse (which was one of the best in the set).

Part of why I like this method of storytelling is how simple it is. There’s no huge overarching and complex series of events here. The only character that matters is Geralt and how he reacts to the people around him and the jobs he takes to pay the bills. While additional characters like Yennefer or Ciri help to round out the series, focusing on the series’ namesake is important for building a foundation for world-building. I almost wish more series would take this route, as it helps establish the lore before diving into the first “official” book's main plot.

Great character foundation through multiple short stories, I give The Last Wish 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Exhalation

Author
Chiang, Ted
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

My librarian uncle introduced me to Ted Chiang recently, and I was so intrigued by such an award-winning author who wrote exclusively in short stories that I had to check out one of his books. Exhalation is a collection of these stories, and I can see why Chiang is lauded as a writer. It seems that modern science fiction is too focused on new technologies and how they can lead to utopias or dystopias. In Chiang’s stories, I saw some stark realism that took well-tread topics of the genre and examined them through a lens that was extremely realistic to how society would function with such advancements.

It was refreshing—a sigh of fresh air, or exhalation, if you will—to read stories about parallel universes, artificial intelligence, and time travel that didn’t stick to the same tropes that have made science fiction almost boring in comparison. In the end, Chiang is so concise with his language as to create these universes anchored in our reality and uncover all the intricate ways in which new technologies would change it without delving into the fluff of a full-blown novel. And perhaps that’s what makes these short stories work: focusing on how people interact with new technology, instead of just society at large.

These stories' personal nature hits home, mostly because they were pulled from current technologies and extrapolated into the fringe sciences that are on the cutting edge. For instance, we already record much of our days, so how does our memory change if we have a perfect record of the past? Additionally, how many technologies are made widely available as entertainment first, and how many interest groups pop up as fans of these technologies until they are eventually made obsolete? These and many other thoughtful topics are only some of the reasons I would recommend any fan of true sci-fi read this book.

A collection of some of the best sci-fi stories I’ve ever read, I give Exhalation 5.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Cask of Amontillado

Author
Poe, Edgar Allan
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

5 out of 5 stars the action and plot and the is so interesting . All the climax adding up then exploding with action . Montesor"s revenge and hate for Fortunato really driving him to kill him . Fortunato's ego get him killed because he want to prove he was better that another wine taster .And the ending just puts the cherry on top on everything when Montresor say no one has disturbed the body in 50 years

Reviewer's Name
Tyrice J. J.

Book Review: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This is the best jail break story ever! I loved this short story when i read it in "Different Seasons". I read this book after seeing the movie, and I love both of them! Its about a guy named Andy Dufresne who is sentenced to life at Shawshank for the murder of his wife and her lover. In prison, he meets Red, a guy who knows how to get things. They become good friends. Andy always said he was innocent, and after being there for almost 20 years he escapes. It's a really really good story and I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

Reviewer's Name
Emani

Book Review: The Body

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This is definitely my favorite book! It's basically a coming of age story about four 12-year-old boys. They go on an adventure to find a body as the title suggests. However, despite the dark name, and the fact that the author is Stephen King, this book is not horror by any means. Reading this book, you feel like you're going on an adventure with Chris, Gordie, Teddy, and Vern. I would also highly recommend the movie that was based upon the book, Stand By Me. All in all I would recommend that anyone should read this book, it's an amazing story!!

Reviewer's Name
Emani K.