logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Writing
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-18 21:23
A marmite collection of unique characters and stories.
Homesick for Another World: Stories - Ottessa Moshfegh

Thanks to NetGalley and to Vintage for offering me an ARC copy of this collection that I voluntarily chose to review.

I read Moshfegh’s novel Eileen (nominated for the Booker Prize, read my review here), admired it (perhaps liking it is not the right way to describe it) and I was curious to read more by the same author.  When I saw this book on offer I took the chance.

This collection of short-stories does reinforce some of the thoughts I had about Eileen. Ottessa Moshfegh can write, for sure. If the stories in this collection have anything in common, apart from the quality of the writing, is the type of characters. They all (or most) are lonely, only a few are likeable (they can all be liked, but that’s not what I mean) and easy to relate to, they often have disgusting habits (although I suspect that if our lives were put under a microscope and every last little detail was looked at and written down we might not look very pretty either), and are lost. The characters made me think of Sherwood Anderson and Flannery O’Connor (not the style of writing, though): those people who don’t seem to fit anywhere and are utterly peculiar, although many of the characters in the stories are only peculiar because we get a peep into their brains. One gets the sense that they would appear pretty normal from the outside. A man who lives alone at home, watching telly, and is friendly with the girl living next door. A Maths’ teacher, divorced, who might cheat on the students’ exams. A Yale graduate, who does not know what to do with his life, spends too much money on clothes and gets infatuated with a woman he only met briefly once. A couple of children, twins, telling each other stories. An aspiring actor who can’t get any acting jobs.

Of course, there are other things we discover. The man seems to have a strange interest in the girl next door. The Maths’ teacher drinks so much she keeps a sleeping bag at the school (well, it’s really a room in a church) so she can lie down between classes. The graduate has to sell his clothes in a desperate attempt to get the attention of the woman he is mad about. One of the twins is planning to kill a man. The aspiring actor doesn’t know who Scorsese is (or much about anything) and can’t even kiss a girl on camera. The author digs deep into the characters’ façade and pulls a distorted mirror to them, that like in caricature drawings, emphasises the weirdest characteristics rather than what might make them seem ‘normal’ because normal is a construct after all.

Not many of these stories would fit comfortably into standard definitions of what a short story is supposed to be like. If the author pushes the boundaries with her choice of characters and her descriptions (a lot of them have acne that they squeeze, they are sick or make themselves sick, their bodily functions are described in detail, and some are … well, let’s say ‘alternative’) she does the same with the stories. Quite a few of them seem to be slices of life rather than stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. There are some that have more of a conventional ending (even if it is open ended), but plenty do not and it is up to the reader to decide what, if anything, to make of them. If I had to choose and extract something from the stories (not a lesson as such, but a reflection of sorts) is that perhaps the only characters who end up in a better place or experiencing some sort of happiness (or contentment) are those who don’t try to live up to anybody’s expectations and accept what might appear to be strange alliances and relationships. But perhaps it is just that those are the stories that have stuck more in my head.

Reading the comments, this collection, much like Eileen, is a marmite book. Some people really love it and some hate it with a passion. As I said, the writing is excellent, but you’ll need to have a strong stomach and not mind detailed descriptions of bodily functions and less than flattering individuals (nobody is tall, dark and handsome here, although some characters believe they are). Although many of the stories might feel dispiriting and depressing, this depends on the point of view of the reader and there are very witty lines and funny (but dark) moments.

Here some examples:

‘Oh, okay, there were a few fine times. One day I went to the park and watched a squirrel run up a tree. A cloud flew around the sky.’

‘I had a thing about fat people. It was the same thing I had about skinny people: I hated their guts.’

‘Her face was pinched, as though she’d just smelled someone farting. It was that look of revulsion that awoke something in me. She made me want to be a better man.’

In sum, I wouldn’t dare to recommend this book to everybody, by a long stretch, but if you want to check great writing, have a strong stomach, and don’t mind strange and not always likeable characters and unconventional stories, dare to read on. It will be an utterly unique experience.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-04-08 02:45
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? - Brian P. Cleary,Jenya Prosmitsky

A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun? is another fun story by Brian Cleary. It is to be read with a lot of enthusiasm, because this story gives students an exciting route to learning parts of speech.

 

This book's reading level ranges from K-2; I would read this story aloud in a 1st grade classroom and as I am reading, I would have my students either hold their thumbs up each time they hear a person, place or thing, or write down a few nouns they heard throughout the story and repeat them after reading. Then I would give them a list of nouns and have them decide if each is a person, place or thing. An extension would be to have them to a creative writing activity, giving them a number of nouns to have in a story they create.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-04-05 21:01
Little READ This Book!
Little Red Writing - Joan Holub,Melissa Sweet

"Little Red Writing" surpassed all of my expectations. I expected it to be a simple story about little red riding hood except the girl is now a pencil. I was very wrong. This book teaches while entertaining! It goes through the writing process, details many different parts of speech, and talks about punctuation. I would use this in an upper grade classroom by reading it aloud to the class before the students have to write a story or paper. It would remind them of grammar rules and sentence structure while letting their minds think about what they want to write. Just like in the book, I would give students 15 categorized words to use in their story. After reading the book aloud to the class, I would have the students come up with a 2 page story using those 15 words. 

 

Lexile: AD 740L

Guided Reading: O

Grade Level Equivalent: 3.5

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-03 15:31
Wedlocked
Wedlocked - Brooke Blaine,Ella Frank

This was simply perfect.

 

 

After crying my eyes out for well over an hour after finishing this book, I am just in utter awe of this couple, this series and these authors.  Yes…let the swoon review begin.

 

First off, I am so happy that I chose to reread the first two books in this series before taking this one on.  Getting back into the love between these two men and reconnecting with them was exactly what I needed. I had forgotten so many things along the way especially having not read Aced for nearly a year. (See review of Aced here.)  And then come to find out that I clearly was so overwhelmed by my love of Locked that I never even wrote a damn review. 

 

 

Dammit…and I couldn’t even write it after the reread either.  *repeat shame gif here*

 

I have to say that after completing this series, this may very well be my absolute favorite MM romance series ever.  *gasp* I know.  But this is truly one of the best “happily ever after” romances I have read.  It has…wait for it…ZERO angst!!! 

 

 

There is never a doubt that this couple loves each other…that they know they belong together and are what each other needs and to hell with everyone else.

 

“I know this is a lot to take in. Shit, I haven’t even taken it all in. But if you want this, if you want me, then I’m ready to walk out that door with your hand in mine and tell the world to fuck off.”

 

It’s a completely feel good romance with literally nothing I can complain about.  Oh wait…for some reason my copy was missing a reference to this…

 

 

Not sure what happened to that scene in my book but I am sure it is there somewhere. ;)

 

And to get to Book 3 and it be solely devoted to the wedding and union between these two amazing characters is unheard of.  We may get a chapter on a wedding, an epilogue or just the promise of a life together, but this book truly enveloped everything there is about the joining of two people who are meant to be together forever.

 

 

 

 

Gaaahhhh…I could go on and on about what I love about this series and this couple.  On and on…but I will refrain. 

 

There is however the matter of the supporting cast of characters. And I want them all.  Everyone?  Yes…

 

 

Sorry…my freak flag just flew a bit. 

 

First off…Derek.  I want to squish this fabulous guy all over.  What an unbelievable character and best friend to our dear Dylan.  And the interactions with our couple and especially here with Jordan and the potential promises for perhaps some future stories, only made me want to pick up their book (Devil’s Kiss) and roll around naked in that one all over  again. 

 

And as Derek is the best man for Dylan, Shayne was truly the best woman for Ace. I loved the scenes of these two together.  Truly a woman who loves this man and knows the love in his heart and his love for Dylan is true.

 

Sunshine and Ziggy…I am not sure I have ever loved a set of parents more than these two loving and nurturing human beings.  *tears up*  The moments with them on page will be forever engrained in my memory.

 

Logan and Tate…what is not to love about these two?  They were my first MM crush and to this day they are the go to for me. I love Logan.  As for future books…I leave that for dear Ms. Frank to decide. I am not sure what I think of more of them honestly.  They are so perfect in my mind and just getting these glimpses may very well do it for me forever.

 

Quinn…Dear, Quinn.  Woman…you got me.  I don’t read a lot of MF anymore but I tell you what…I would read a story about this one here.  Her time on page is short but boy did she leave an impression.

 

A certain MMF coupling...that my goodness I want like now.  NOW.  I am absolutely intrigued by them and to potentially get a retelling of a certain scene from alternate POVs makes me giddy giddy. 

 

 

And my gawd…the end of this book *cue tears again* is just unbelievable. I would love to eventually get more stories from the next phase in their lives. We shall see.  Until then I am content with this beautiful happily ever after.  So content.

 

 

A fabulous BR with Elsbeth and Teri. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-02 18:31
THE ANIMAL UNDER THE FUR BY: E.J. MELLOW
The Animal Under The Fur - E.J. Mellow,Dori Harrell
 
In the Dreamland series the world enchanted, it beckoned you in with its wondrous promise of something more, something otherworldly. In The Animal Under the Fur the beast awed. Earthy, both primitive and refined. Its roar demanded your respect. Its force simultaneously ensnared and enslaved you. Like with any wild animal you encounter, you can't help but admire its beauty and the coiled strength, barely contained, lying in wait just below the surface. 
 
 
 
 
 
Nashville is a tangle of contradictions, both fierce friend and ferocious enemy, caring and yet closed off, fire and ice, wild but never reckless, senses overloaded with every sight, smell, taste and touch, yet never allowing true sensation to penetrate her well guarded barriers. The woman on the outside drawing you in with her allure while the animal inside would have you fleeing, if only to be able to relish the act of chasing down its prey. I truly couldn't get enough of Nashville. Her uninhibited wildness was a siren song I couldn't turn off. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While Carter proved to be a worthy counterpart, although I think it is impossible to fully match Nashville's brilliance. I was absolutely captivated by their relationship none the less. For their many similarities they also had innate differences that only seemed to make them an even better match for one another. I loved how he got under her skin at every turn, and how elated his dastardly deeds made him. Watching her squirm might have been his favorite past time, and I couldn't get enough. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm not quite sure what I enjoyed more, the fighting or loving! They were magnets, both South and North poles, repelling and attracting with equal force. Either way they went that electric, magnetic intensity bewitched. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The calculated plot helped drive this story and its gloriously enigmatic characters along at a steady pace. This story was driven and concise. A story of blood and teeth and survival of the fittest, with some unexpected twists and turns waiting around the bend. Just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. 
 
 
 
 
I received a copy of this book from the author (*and I bought one because this book is amazeballs*) in exchange for an honest review. 
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?