Short Stories

Book Review: The Things They Carried

Book Cover
Author: 
O'Brien, Tim
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Things They Carried is a memoir by Tim O'Brien about his experiences as an American soldier fighting in the Vietnam War. O'Brien was chosen to be drafted in 1968. This incident was extremely stressful for O'Brien who had taken a stand against the war, yet didn't want to disappoint his community. He pondered running away to Canada, but eventually decided to fight. The Things They Carried is a series of stories that are so well written. The work is a bit hard to understand just because O'Brien wrote it in a way that is not completely nonfiction. In the book, he explains this concept more in depth. Overall, I thought this book was a very well written, interesting, and educational story regarding the horrors of war from O'Brien's perspective in Vietnam.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P.

Book Review: Universal Love

Universal Love
Author: 
Weinstein, Alexander
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"Universal Love" is 11 short stories set in the near future, showing how people use technology to navigate relationships. In one story, a widower signs up for a program to re-create his deceased wife, only to find out his daughters downloaded a fictitious history from romance novels. Another story has testimonies of why people use on-line dating services. A third story explores the relationship of two robotic children who try to act like human children, even to the point of having real life problems and addictions. An interesting look at technology and how it could be in our not far future of how we relate to each other. One constant remains, and that is our need for human interaction, no matter the media we use to get it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Susi W.

Book Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author: 
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a masterpiece of short stories. Sherlock Holmes continues to dazzle readers with his incredible deductions in these eleven short stories. From the beginning of Holmes' career in "The Gloria Scott" to large-scale crimes in "The Naval Treaty," the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The introduction of Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, and his most notorious nemesis, Professor Moriarty, ensure that readers will be captivated by these stories. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is phenomenal and I highly recommend it for any fan of Sherlock Holmes or crime fiction.

Reviewer's Name: 
John

Book Review: Almost Home

Almost Home
Author: 
Debbie Macomber
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Almost Home is comprised of four short stories detailing 4 people who take risk of opening their hearts to new relationships. "Whale Island" is about a children's writer who is resisting falling in love with the reporter who interviews her because she has a big family secret to hide. In "Queen of Hearts', a man who was a real geek in high school has become successful and handsome as an adult and has run into the woman who he had a crush on in high school but felt out of her league. "The Honeymoon House" is a story of a photographer who finds a bridesmaid of a halted wedding destroying his house. And finally "The Marrying Kind" reunites two high school sweethearts who has a very brief marriage right when they got out of high school but were cruelly torn apart by family members. A great read if romance novels are your genre!

Reviewer's Name: 
Susi W.

Book Review: The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

As I’d realized in previous works of Neil Gaiman’s that I’ve read, he excels at (at least) two things: short stories and fairy tales. One could argue that the latter is a subset of the former, but longer works like Stardust cause me to separate the distinction. Perhaps this book was made all the more magical by its audiobook production. Not only did the author himself read it, but it was accompanied with some great atmospheric music to enhance the mood produced by Gaiman’s words. I missed the illustrations this book sports, but I think the words can speak for themselves.

In terms of a fairy tale, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains manages to contain the usual flare of morality and truth against a backdrop of riches and mysterious wonder. I’m almost surprised there aren’t more authors writing modern fairy tales as Gaiman has since there is a precise formula here that Gaiman has consistently used to create these fantastical narratives. After all, most fairy tales are trying to teach something intrinsically human, and this one touches on the oft-repeated moral of greed versus the consequences of obtaining wealth.

Of course, much like Gaiman’s other “fairy tale” works, this story is intended for adults. Sure, traditional fairy tales are gruesome and are used to scare children into submission. Regardless, the lesson contained in this story is something most adults need to hear. We all love the idea of the “get rich quick” scheme, but there are often secondary effects that we overlook when we head out to seek our fortunes. Perhaps if the more adult aspects were toned down a little, it could be used to teach children about these moral pitfalls before they encounter them, instead of after the fact.

Another superb adult fairy tale, I give The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author: 
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson have captivated audiences for generations. This collection of twelve short stories is fantastic. From stolen jewels to mysterious circumstances and brilliant crimes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has it all. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is full of mesmerizing deductions and wonderful short adventures. I highly recommend this collection of short stories for every Sherlock Holmes fan and anyone searching for great mystery novels or short stories.

Reviewer's Name: 
John

Book Reviews: Mars

Mars
Author: 
Bakić, Asja
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

A debut collection of short stories by Bosnian feminist Asja Bakic who uses dystopian, science and speculative fiction techniques to shine a light on gender relations through lenses of eroticism, skewed humor and horror. The stories are a series of twisted universes set in the former Yugoslavia and Mars. The main characters must make sense of their strange reality whether they are a woman who will be freed from purgatory once she writes the perfect book (Day Trip to Durmitor), a woman who awakens with no memory before learning the truth about herself (Abby) to another meeting her clone (Asja 5.0).

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: The Hero Next Door

The Hero Next Door
Author: 
edited by Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The Hero Next Door is published as part of a partnership with We Need Diverse Books. It's a collection of short stories by 14 award-winning authors. It's a celebration of everyday heroes that make a difference in their worlds and challenges each of us to be a hero in our world. While every story may not speak to you, there's something in this book for each of us as we work to make the world a better place.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried book jacket
Author: 
O'Brien, Tim
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Things They Carried follows through the perspective of a soldier within the 23rd Infantry Division. Enlisted during the Vietnam War, the book covers over the soldier's, as well as the platoons experiences throughout. The Things They Carried is a collection of stories that correlate to one another, bringing an ultimate immersion to those that are interested of any war, or historical context.

The Things They Carried is a book that has a deeper insight within the emotional, mental, and physical state of the soldiers that went through the Vietnam War. Having a darker and more serious tone than other novels, it is one that stands out and deserves recognition.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: Take it as a Compliment

Book Review: Take it as a Compliment book cover
Author: 
Stoian, Maria
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A graphic novel featuring true reports of sexual harassment and assault in its many forms. A really powerful, quick read. My only problem with it is I wish it was longer. I read it in about 30 minutes. I did like the format of graphic novel. It made it seem more lighthearted than it actually is, which further illustrates the darkness of the subject matter.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

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