Tag: Books: Short Stories


Review: Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892 – 1895

Posted 20 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892 – 1895
By: Anton Chekhov
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

“Ward No. 6 and Other Stories 1892-1895” collects stories which show Anton Chekhov beginning to confront complex, ambiguous and often extreme emotions in his short fiction. This “Penguin Classics” edition is translated with notes by Ronald Wilks, and an introduction by J. Douglas Clayton. These stories from the middle period of Chekhov’s career include – influenced by his own experiences as a doctor – “Ward No. 6”, a savage indictment of the medical profession set in a mental hospital; “The Black Monk”, portraying an academic who has strange hallucinations, explores ideas of genius and insanity; “Murder”, in which religious fervour leads to violence; while in “The Student”, Chekhov’s favourite story, a young man recounts a tale from the gospels and undergoes a spiritual epiphany. In all the stories collected here, Chekhov’s characters face madness, alienation and frustration before they experience brief, ephemeral moments of insight, often earned at great cost, where they confront the reality of their existence.

Anton Chekov is one of my favourite Russian authors. He’s quite succinct when it comes to writing short stories, with their good lengths and rich with characterisation and wide-ranging themes. Admittedly I did pick up this book on a whim as I’ve read a number of his stories to date, but nonetheless this collection did contain titles of stories I haven’t yet read.

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Review: Pistols for Two

Posted 7 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Pistols for Two
By: Georgette Heyer
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In eleven charming short stories, the Queen of Regency romance presents an exquisite romp through affairs of honor and affairs of the heart. Featuring rakes and rascals, orphans and heirs, beauties and their beaus, the legendary Georgette Heyer’s signature wit and inimitable style bring the Regency world dazzlingly alive.

I had been eyeing this short story collection by Georgette Heyer for ages but for whatever reason just did not get around to picking it up until recently. Anyway, this is very exciting, and you guys know that I’m a big fan of her books (see author tag) and as I was in something of a reading slump some time ago, short stories felt like a good way to pick me up a bit.

Pistols for Two was an eclectic mix of short stories featuring Heyer’s signature storytelling and the kinds of romantic tropes you’d see in historical romances: second chances at love, two people who hate each other but then fall for each other, love stories involving two people you wouldn’t imagine falling for each other in the first place, family members getting in the way of romances, young loves trying to run off to Greta Greene and their family members run in pursuit of them, etc. It’s all in good fun, really, but I think my favourite story has to be the title story, “Pistols for Two”; it stood out in my mind the most from all of the stories featured because it was more about the friendship between two gentlemen that becomes strained as they both become love rivals for this one rather popular woman who’s returned to their community. It was interesting and quite thrilling in that you don’t know how things were going to turn out.

The short stories may seem a little abrupt in their endings, but otherwise they felt pretty fleshed out, both in the character and presenting the situations that they are in when the story starts. I suppose if you’ve never read any of her books and want a bit of a taste in how Georgette Heyer writes, it’s not a bad place to start.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order a copy of this novel on Book Depository

Review: Tiny Deaths

Posted 27 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Tiny Deaths
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

Analyzing the complexity, absurdity, and blessedness of seemingly ordinary people, this debut collection examines the metaphysical assumptions surrounding death. From the end of a relationship to the meaning behind its title, this anthology continually surprises and subverts, utilizing topics such as alien intelligence, reincarnation, imaginary children, and even conversations with Hitler’s childhood pet. Engaging and diverse, this compendium offers a fascinating perspective on mortality.

So fun fact: this was actually the first Robert Shearman book I came across and that I added to my wishlist. It was a wee bit difficult then to get my hands on a copy of it but lo and behold, I finally did indeed get a copy of it so hurrah! 😀 Tiny side note, but how awesome is that book cover? One of my favourites that, coupled with the title of this book, definitely drew my attention in the first place 😛

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Review: Dreams of Distant Shores

Posted 28 October, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Dreams of Distant Shores
By: Patricia A. McKillip
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Featuring three brand-new stories and an original introduction by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn.

Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. With the debut of her newest work, Dreams of Distant Shores is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers. The statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate.

Fans of McKillip’s ethereal fiction will find much to delight them; those lucky enough to be discovering her work will find much to enchant them.

Yay, another new book from Patricia A. McKillip! As many of you may know, I’m a big fan of her books, so I was delighted to learn that she was releasing another collection of short stories this 2016 and just couldn’t resist pre-ordering it xD

I have to say, this latest batch of short stories is very much in keeping with her latest trend of storytelling a la Kingfisher (review) whereby most of these tales are set in our world but with magical and fantastical elements or happenings. I admit, I much prefer her earlier stories that are set wholly in a fantastical world of its own rather than in our world, but that’s a personal preference, and it doesn’t stop the stories contained within this volume from being rather interesting. I reckon I may have to re-read a few of them again to truly grasp some of the nuances of the story, but the stories that stuck out for me the most were “The Gorgon in the Cupboard” and “Something Rich and Strange”, probably because they were the longer pieces included in this book and thus had more time to develop (both the stories and the characters).

What is nice about this collection is that a short essay was included at the end of the book in which she talks about her writing process a bit and how she approaches writing fantasy novels. For readers big on fantasy novels or writers of the genre, it’s an essay definitely worth checking out and reflecting on.

If you’re a new reader to Patricia A. McKillip’s books and you want to read her short stories, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book, I’d probably recommend her early collection Harrowing the Dragon (review). Nonetheless it’s another excellent volume from Patricia A. McKillip and a volume I’ll likely revisit as I anticipate her next book!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Purchase a copy from the Book Depository

Review: Fragile Things

Posted 25 October, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Fragile Things
By: Neil Gaiman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night. . . .

In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England. . . .

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares. . . .

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—as well as the terrifyingly dark and entertaining sense of humor—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.

At long last I’ve picked up one of Neil Gaiman’s short stories collection; I had been eyeing them for some time, especially as I’ve been reading a lot of short story collections in the past year. I’ve enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s full-length works, whether they be novels or graphic novels, so I was also curious to see how he fared with shorter works.

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