What Is Short Story Saturday?

Short Story Saturday is a new feature on my blog. Every Saturday I will post a review of a short story. Why am I doing this, you may (or may not) ask? Well the reasons are as follows.

1) Currently residing on my kindle are over 300 short stories and I don’t give them nearly enough attention.

2) My kindle only has 26mbs left available so I am trying to avoid the heartbreaking decision of which books to delete and hide in the archive section by getting through a lot of short stories.

And finally,

3) I am not a fan of the short story. I know this sounds strange considering how many I have. I think that the short story is a bit of a let-down in the sense that you just begin to fall in love with a character or a storyline and bam the story ends. I would much rather have a meaty, heavy, wrist-breaking tome than a flimsy few pages. However, I am hoping that if I read enough of them I will change my mind and begin to fall in love with the art of the short story.

The Rules

There aren’t many rules to Short Story Saturday. The only obvious one being that the story has to be smaller than your average book. I think I will set a page limit of 100 – 130. If it is any bigger than that then it does not qualify as a short story.

So there we have it, folks. The invention of Short Story Saturday.

Keep your eyes peeled for my first SSS review.

Synopsis

After being dumped by the 19th Katherine in his life, Colin – along with best friend Hassan – decide to take a road trip to help with the emotion recovery of his recent heartbreak. Along the way, Colin – a child prodigy – decided to try and find a mathematic equation to help plot the course of true love. The boys end up in a podunk town where Colin discovers that everything that he thought he knew – especially the things he thought about himself – are not as black and white as he has grown up to believe.

Review

Ok. I admit it. I jumped on the bandwagon. When I read The Fault in Our Stars last year I pretty much purchased every book that John Green had written. Then, in true Lisa style, I put them on my kindle bookshelf and let them accrue layers of metaphorical dust whilst I read a lot of other books but due to my 100 book challenge this book, An Abundance of Katherines, has made it to the forefront and I have now read it. Hazzah.

For those of you wanting to read it (for the same reason or personal reasons of your own) then I will issue you with a warning. This book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. If you are looking for a similar read then you have picked up the wrong book. Of course, An Abundance of Katherines does have the inimitable John Green dry humour and wit but it deals less with health woes and more with the woes of being a teenage boy dealing with heartbreak.

For me, one of the great things about this book is the friendship between Colin and Hassan. I felt that there was a silly verisimilitude to their friendship. The way that they mocked each other, they could be angry at each other but they could also be honest and tell each other that they loved or were hurt by the others actions. The story was more enjoyable because of their banter.

I really liked An Abundance of Katherines. Even though my reasons for reading it were admittedly flawed, what I liked about it was that it was so different from The Fault in Our Stars. It probably goes without saying that John Green is one of the definitive voices for a YA generation. What may have been said is that he is literatures equivalent to John Hughes. He just gets how tough it is to be young.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is available now.

You can follow John Green on Twitter @RealJohnGreen

AN-ABUNDANCE-OF-KATHERINES-by-John-Green

Synopsis

In a post 9/11 NewYork, Hariet – a recent graduate – struggles to find her place both in a city that she loves; a city that she has seen torn apart and put back together again with alarming speed but also in a post-baby boomer society.

Review

It was such a relief to pick up this book after a week reading books that didn’t enthral me. These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff could almost be a safety blanket book – one that all graduates should keep close by to make them realise that they are not alone in the feeling of being completely unsure of what you are meant to do with your life.

I know that even seven years after I graduated I still have those moments of blind panic. I think that is why this book touched me the way that it did.

The post 9/11 Ne York setting eloquently reflected the insecurities of Hariet and her friends. The parallel was delivered so powerfully through her actions – the obsession with Brenner and his family and their security, the frequent belief that New York would be attacked again and her sadness at potentially becoming a New York child cliché. It was delivered with such a unique voice that it made me actually very sad that this was Haimoff’s debut novel and that there is not a body of work available for me to read.

For me, Michelle Haimoff is definitely someone to look out for.

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff is available now.

Follow Michelle Haimoff on Twitter @MichelleHaimoff

TheseDaysAreOurs

Review

I am a huge fan of music books. In particular those discussing the links between music and the epochs in which they were released. I love how the connection between social and political upheaval can be seen mirrored in the style of music that is popular during that time. It is with great disappointment that I have to write that I did not like The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs.

I cannot argue that Greil Marcus knows his stuff. This guys mind is like a bottomless pit of information about music. The nuances, the techniques, the hidden stories – he truly knows some fascinating things. And I will admit that during the pages of this book certain stories did betwixt me and hold my attention but they were few and far between.

I just didn’t feel the connection. I don’t feel like Marcus’s narrative hooked me in. It felt like he was trying to regurgitate all the information he knows just to get it on page so as not to forget it rather than bringing the reader along for the ride. It made reading the book feel like a chore.

I cannot say that I recommend this book to music fans because I feel like too much was given without trying to include, and indeed inspire, the reader.

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus is available now.

The History of Rock N Roll in Ten Songs

As expected, this week did not go as well as I had planned reading wise. Sure I read some, but life somehow took over; what with starting back at work and the Grandrentals visit I didn’t make it through as many books as I would have liked.

This week I read/reviewed:

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus (Review to be posted 09.09.14)

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff (Review to be posted 11.09.14)

What also didn’t help is that this week I read two books that I just didn’t like. I hate writing bad reviews and I will never openly attack a writer but I will be honest as to why I didn’t like it. Clare over at A Book and Tea and I had this conversation this weekend. How do you write a review about a book that you really don’t connect with? Is it worse when it is a self published book which shows some very fundamental flaws or is it worse when it has been published in the traditional sense? When you can’t help but feel that some of the things that have bothered you should have been picked up, filtered through and sorted before publication? It is definitely a thinker.

Ultimately, all reviews of books are subjective though so one person’s literary classic is another person’s book for the bin. It is all just personal taste and opinion.

Anywho, this week’s book list is as follows.

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace – 372 pages (NetGalley)

Joni Mitchell by Malka Marom – 304 pages (NetGalley)

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen – 248 pages (NetGalley)

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – 353 pages (NetGalley)

Love Me or Leave Me by Claudia Carrol – 400 pages (NetGalley)

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – 401 pages (NetGalley)

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman (From my 100 Books to read list)

I also really want to read Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – I was a bit naughty and bought a review copy off eBay. I just couldn’t wait until next year.

It does seem like a lot of books but I am going to give it a whirl. I am determined to get by NetGalley percentage rate up.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good reading week and please keep an eye out for some book related blog posts that will be posted over the next few weeks. As always, keep an eye out for some pretty cool blogger type peoples – Matt Phil Carver and the lovely Clare who I mentioned before.

L x x