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Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

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[READ: December 25, 2022] “A Present for Big Saint Nick”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 25. To officially conclude the 2022 Short Story Advent Calendar, we present a story about presents and surprises from the one and only Kurt Vonnegut. As always, thank you so much for reading. We hope you enjoyed it, and we’ll see you next year.

This story appears in Vonnegut’s collection Bagombo Snuff Box.  I read it a long time ago and then again a couple of years ago.

It’s an actual Christmas story, but wow is it dark (and funny). (more…)

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[READ: December 24, 2022] “An Exciting Christmas Eve; Or, My Lecture on Dynamite”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 24. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, passed away in 1930. His Holmes story “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” appeared in the 2016 Short Story Advent Calendar, among other places.

This story was so surprising.  It was really funny.  But it was also technically interesting and rather suspenseful.  In short, a great story from the guy who brought s Sherlock Holmes.

Otto von Spee seeks a boring life.  He is a scientist and wants nothing more than do his work in peace.  He compares his own life to a fellow from his own school Leopold Waldenich, a scientist who professed to be a seeker of adventure.

And yet, while Waldenich studied, seeking excitement, not much happened to him.  But during those same years in school, Otto damaged his eyesight studying poisonous gas, got food poisoning, was thrown out a window during a lecture for voicing an opinion that a hotheaded student disagreed with and nearly drowned twice. (more…)

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[READ: December 23, 2022] “Olive Oyl”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 23. Lucy Ellmann, author of Ducks, Newburyport, can count beads with the best of them.

I loved Ducks Newburyport, which was huge and hard to read and fun and funny.  This story is short and easy to read and very peculiar.  

It is a short story about Olive Oyl.  Yes, the woman from the Popeye cartoons. (more…)

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[READ: December 22, 2022] “Family Weekend”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 22. Lori Hahnel, author of Vermin, has practiced her scales enough for one day.

This story was utterly relatable.

A woman has moved from her home town to New York City and now her daughter is going to college in her home town.  So when she visited her daughter for Family Weekend, she stays in her old house.  Her mother has passed away, so she is staying with her father.

Her father wears jeans now.  This is new.   He has a new phone–his first smartphone–and he doesn’t like it.  He deletes texts, doesn’t see the point of the threads. 

You borrow your father’s car to drive to campus, but your daughter is in class.  So you run an errand and miss everything.  (more…)

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[READ: December 21, 2022] “Markheim”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 21. Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, died in 1894 and would not return our emails.

Not many stories in this collection are actually Christmas stories, which is probably for the best.  Who knows how that would go if you tries to corral them into a theme.  But this one is. (more…)

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[READ: December 20, 2022] “Moving Parts”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 20. John Elizabeth Stintzi, author of My Volcano, makes hay while the sun shines.

This was a crazy-on-the-surface story that had some lovely metaphorical reality underneath it.

When the narrator gets to college, her left pinky disappears.  At the college ice breaker she says that her second interesting fact is that “I lost my left pinky finger after I moved in.”  When her parents came to visit her father had made her a pinky out of wood to strap onto her hand.  It fit perfectly.

She went home for holidays abut every time she returned to college a new part was missing–her ear, her foot.  (more…)

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[READ: December 19, 2022] “Reindeer”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 17. Cynan Jones, author of Cove, hears those sleigh bells jingling.

This is the second story I’ve read by Cynan Jones and I seemed to have the same reaction. I didn’t expect to like it, but then really did and wanted it to be longer.

(more…)

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[READ: December 18, 2022] “The Skin of a Teenage Boy Is Not Alive”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 18. Senaa Ahmad, a Canadian short-fiction writer, has never been that bored.

There was an earlier story in this collection about the Satanic panic of the 1980s.  This story about demonic possession in high school (metaphorical or not, I’m not entirely sure).  

Parveen is a good Indian girl.  There is one other Indian girl in their town, Aisha.  The resolutely ignore each other at first but eventually become best friends. (more…)

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[READ: December 17, 2022] “Dearest Clara”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 17. Lori Hahnel, author of Vermin, has practiced her scales enough for one day.

As Hahnel explains, “Dearest Clara” came out of the work I’ve been doing the past few years on a novel based on the life of Clara Schumann, the 19th-century German composer and pianist.

This is a few diary entries from Schumann (nee Clara Wieck). (more…)

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[READ: December 16, 2022] “Good Neighbors”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 16. Erika Swyler, author of Light from Other Stars, doesn’t like the sound of those hoofprints.

I loved the audacity of this story.  A couple is mourning the loss of their old neighborhood.  I loved this:

You bought a starter house, then a show house or a major renovation, then you retired to somewhere else, leaving an enormous home behind to mark where you’d been.

When Janie and Phil bought their house thirty years ago they were living in the woods part of suburbia.  But now they lived in the shadows of mansions.  The Hutchinson’s, like everyone else apparently, seemed to be moving to Boca. (more…)

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