Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Four-Star Books Read in 2016: Short Stories and Fiction

Short Stories:

In the Mean Time by Paul Tremblay: This collection by Paul G. Tremblay (author of The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland) features fifteen stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

I am terrible at taking properly detailed notes about short story collections, but this has one (Feeding the Machine) I remember vividly (mentioned in this blog post) for personal reasons, as well as the fact that it's a really well-written story. There's also one about a girl with two heads (where the other head keeps changing into historical figures) that is bloody brilliant. Overall my impression was that this was a fantastic collection. 

The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by Martin H. Greenberg: Before The Road by Cormac McCarthy brought apocalyptic fiction into the mainstream, there was science fiction. No longer relegated to the fringes of literature, this explosive collection of the world’s best apocalyptic writers brings the inventors of alien invasions, devastating meteors, doomsday scenarios, and all-out nuclear war back to the bookstores with a bang.
The best writers of the early 1900s were the first to flood New York with tidal waves, destroy Illinois with alien invaders, paralyze Washington with meteors, and lay waste to the Midwest with nuclear fallout. Now collected for the first time ever in one apocalyptic volume are those early doomsday writers and their contemporaries, including Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Lucius Shepard, Robert Sheckley, Norman Spinrad, Arthur C. Clarke, William F. Nolan, Poul Anderson, Fredric Brown, Lester del Rey, and more. Relive these childhood classics or discover them here for the first time. Each story details the eerie political, social, and environmental destruction of our world.

We all know I never turn up my nose at yet another anthology of stories about the end of the world. All the reviews seem to indicate that the ebook of this was a hot mess as far as editing went - I honestly don't remember if I read it as an ebook or not. The Store of the Worlds by Robert Sheckley was a reread for me, but it's fucking fantastic, so I'm cool with that. 

Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore: In these eight masterful stories, Lorrie Moore, in a perfect blend of craft and bewitched spirit, explores the passage of time, and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.
In "Debarking," a newly divorced man tries to keep his wits about him as the United States prepares to invade Iraq, and against this ominous moment, we see-in all its irresistible hilarity and darkness-the perils of divorce and what can follow in its wake…In "Foes," a political argument goes grotesquely awry as the events of 9/11 unexpectedly manifest at a fund-raising dinner in Georgetown…In "The Juniper Tree," a teacher, visited by the ghost of her recently deceased friend, is forced to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a kind of nightmare reunion…And in "Wings," we watch the unraveling of two once-hopeful musicians who neither held fast to their dreams nor struck out along other paths as Moore deftly depicts the intricacies of dead ends and the workings of regret…
Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud-the hallmark of Lorrie Moore-land.

Lorrie Moore is one of the few authors who write non-genre short stories that I will read eagerly rather than dutifully. I often find that short stories that are just about, you know, life and people and eating salad and stuff are too amorphous and squishy to get a handle on - it's better for me if you have a zombie or vampire or catastrophic extinction level event structure to hang stuff on. But Lorrie Moore writes about dating after divorce (oh my god, I just wanted to throat-punch this woman and her spoiled suckhole of a son SO BADLY) and vacationing to avoid divorce (losing all your clothes and having to wear ill-fitting resort-gift-shop-wear while trying to seduce your husband so he won't leave you? Ninth circle of hell) and being married for a long time and NOT getting divorced, and it's all so poignant and riveting and perfect - even the salad eating. I love her. I worship her. I'd love to see what she could do with a few zombies or maybe a shape-shifter.

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 edited by John Joseph Adams: Science fiction and fantasy enjoy a long literary tradition, stretching from Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne to Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and William Gibson. In The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy award-winning editor John Joseph Adams delivers a diverse and vibrant collection of stories published in the previous year. Featuring writers with deep science fiction and fantasy backgrounds, along with those who are infusing traditional fiction with speculative elements, these stories uphold a longstanding tradition in both genres—looking at the world and asking, What if . . . ? 
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 includes 
Kelly Link, Neil Gaiman, Karen Russell
T. C. Boyle, Sofia Samatar, Jo Walton, Cat Rambo
Daniel H. Wilson, Seanan McGuire, Jess Row
and others
 JOE HILL, guest editor, is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Heart-Shaped BoxHorns, and NOS4A2 and the short story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the writer of the comic book series Locke & Key. 
JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS, series editor, is the best-selling editor of more than two dozen anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, and The Living Dead. He is also the editor and publisher of the digital magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare and is a producer of Wired’s podcast The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

I bought this because Susan Palwick, a kickass fantasy writer and all-around splendid human being who lets me follow her on Facebook and likes my posts every now and then just to give me a special little thrill, had a story in it, but the whole collection was really good. In 'Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead' by Carmen Maria Machado, a woman crowdfunds her trip into the underworld to look for her sister - like, like, WOW. That was pretty much worth the price of admission right there. Seanan McGuire's story 'Each to Each', which I've read so many times now I've lost track of where I first read it, is here also, and it's mind-blowing. Susan Palwick's story was everything I expected - intelligent and kind and sad. Really recommend this collection. 

Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue edited by Christie Yant: It could be said that women invented science fiction; after all, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. Yet some readers seem to have this funny idea that women don’t, or can’t, write science fiction. Some have even gone so far as to accuse women of destroying science fiction with their girl cooties. So to help prove how silly that notion is, LIGHTSPEED's June 2014 issue is a Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue and has a guest editor at the helm.
The issue features original fiction by Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Maria Dahvana Headley, Amal El-Mohtar, and many more. All together there's more than 180,000 words of material, including: 11 original short stories, 15 original flash fiction stories, 4 short story reprints and a novella reprint, 7 nonfiction articles, and 28 personal essays by women about their experiences reading and writing science fiction.

McGuire's story is in this one too - actually, though, you can read it right here, and you should. Like, now. I'll wait. Well? Is it not august and resplendent? 
If you haven't followed the shit-show in the sci-fi world that's been developing over the past few years, whereby some disgruntled male writers have decided that social justice warriors (I love how that's a negative term) are ruining science fiction by daring to write about things like emotions and relationships and various things that make humanity human, the title of this issue won't make sense. That doesn't really matter - it's still a great issue full of great stories by female writers. 

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang: Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov's SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.
Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer's stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.
What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven's other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.

Jesus, this book. So I read 'The Story of Your Life' in an anthology some time ago. Then I read it again. Some time passed and I read it yet again - forwards and backwards. Then I learned that it was being made into a movie, so I read it again and then bought Chiang's collection so I could force a bunch of people I know to read it also, mainly because I was pretty sure the movie was going to suck. Turns out the movie didn't suck, but the first person I lent the collection to is really enjoying it. As it turns out, that story, as much as it broke my brain, was probably the most accessible one in the collection. Chiang likes math. He speaks math like a language and then builds complex stories around math. Math and me? Not so much on the best of speaking terms. The stories dealing with religious concepts are also very cerebral, but I found most of the stories here challenging and very beautiful and I can see going back to all of them repeatedly and finding a little more in them every time. 

Fiction:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. 
The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within. 

I'd been meaning to read this for years - a classic, referencing one of my favourite poems. Profoundly sad and moving and laced with an incredible feeling of inevitability and despair. There is a particular kind of sadness from observing a character who, although flawed, tries so hard to do everything right and maintain his integrity, to little avail. 

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead - charismatic loner and college Darwinist - suddenly turns up in a seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old friend Mitchell Grammaticus - who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange - resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.
Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they have learned. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.
Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.

Four stars, for the literal "I really liked it" rating, not because I thought it was all that good. Compared to Middlesex, which was so rich and dense and subtle, this was kind of a sophomoric train wreck - someone in my book club opined that it read like a book he had started much earlier and then dug out to finish, and this struck me as exactly right. The scenes from graduate school, particularly about reading Derrida and Barthes and feeling terribly clever about interrogating social conventions, were amusing because they were so recognizable, but that's as far as it went - nothing very profound came out of them. Some of the elements of the marriage plot were discernible and interesting, but the book as a whole never managed to maintain any kind of structure or continuity about it, just random references and representations. I still really enjoyed reading it, but it seemed unfinished.

The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald: At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish émigrés in the twentieth century. But gradually, as Sebald's precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile and loss.
Written with a bone-dry sense of humour and a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory and fiction and photographs.

I would suggest going to Goodreads and reading some of the reviews - I don't feel equal to enumerating the virtues of this remarkable book.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old friend in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.
Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die. 
So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband. 
Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?

I wasn't caught right at the beginning. It seemed a little glib, and everyone Harold met was just SO unusual and quirky it was too pat. I got over it, though. It's a quiet story, but a good one.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper: I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. I will try to remember to come back.
Etta's greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to water. 
Meanwhile her husband Otto waits patiently at home, left only with his memories. Their neighbour Russell remembers too, but differently - and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto.


Apparently this was the year for fictional old people going spontaneously walkabout. I'm not sure I really got this one - above all, what the heck was the deal with Owen? but I still enjoyed it.

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke: "I first met my demon the morning that Mum said Dad had gone." 
Alex Connolly is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen. When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter's battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex's mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn't exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex's claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?

When you read a lot of books, it's rare and special to come across something different - not capital-D Different, like some books try to be, just not quite the same. This doesn't quite fit in with anything else I've read, and I appreciated that. Not that the 'psychological or supernatural' thing isn't done - I've referenced it two or three times in these posts alone - but not quite like this. There's some beautiful drawing of the relationship between mothers and children here, and I think some psychological stuff related to living in Belfast. Apparently there is vast confusion created by the fact that the U.S. and U.K. versions of the book had different endings, which I think was dumb. I can still smell the onions on toast. 

And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass: Kit Noonan’s life is stalled: unemployed, twins to help support, a mortgage to pay—and a frustrated wife, who is certain that more than anything else, Kit needs to solve the mystery of his father’s identity. He begins with a visit to his former stepfather, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners Vermont outdoorsman. But it is another person who has kept the secret: Lucinda Burns, wife of a revered senior statesman and mother of Malachy (the journalist who died of AIDS in Glass’s first novel, Three Junes). She and her husband are the only ones who know the full story of an accident whose repercussions spread even further when Jasper introduces Lucinda to Kit. Immersing readers in a panorama that stretches from Vermont to the tip of Cape Cod, Glass weaves together the lives of Kit, Jasper, Lucinda and ultimately, Fenno McLeod, the beloved protagonist of Three Junes (now in his sixties). An unforgettable novel about the youthful choices that steer our destinies, the necessity of forgiveness, and the surprisingly mutable meaning of family.

I got this out of the library and let it sit for weeks, and then picked it up to remind myself what it was about, read the first paragraph and pretty much didn't look up again until seven hours or so had passed and the book was done. It wasn't perfect - there was one sort of deus ex machina death that pissed me off and a couple of sentences that jarred me right out of the narrative - but the flaws actually just highlighted to me how much I loved the rest of it. She has that ability to create a whole sprawling world and a wide-ranging cast of fully-realized characters and somehow keep it precariously connected. Not all of the characters are sympathetic, but they all seem like someone I might have met once. The questions of faith, and how much of their parents' secrets children are entitled to, and what is forgivable and not - they're all addressed but not answered, because how could they be? I was totally absorbed in a book, right when I really needed to be.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney: Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. 
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

I kept vowing not to buy this just because of its heartbreakingly beautiful cover, and then I was in Indigo buying baby things and a very tall, very enthusiastic bookseller thrust it into my hands and I was basically helpless. Then I felt immediate trepidation about actually reading it, because do I actually LIKE books about dysfunctional families? I just pruned my Netflix queue ruthlessly on the basis of being weary of watching shows, however well-written and -acted, about people being horrible to each other.
Then I read it. All of it. Today, because I'm home from a week-end away and exhausted from driving and sleeping crappy broken hotel sleep. And I really liked it. I found almost all of the characters sympathetic to some degree - not because they were likable, but precisely because they weren't. They're not horrible, mostly, but they're not all that good, either, and I can relate to that. I loved how peripheral characters were fleshed out and nuanced as lovingly as primary characters. The writing wasn't show-offy, but it was very readable and very deft when outlining each character's flaws, foibles and personal mythologies.
Curiously, I found Amy Poehler's review - which the tall enthusiastic bookstore employee pointed to excitedly - kind of off-putting. Calling the Plumb family's dysfunction "juicy" puts a gleeful, gossipy, voyeuristic spin on it that I didn't find in the book at all. I found the obsessive worrying about money really sad, especially when it was because of an intense desire to create a safe, beautiful home which is something that none of the Plumb children really had, and the idea that someone would have to keep a secret about growing debt from their partner made me feel literally nauseous. I liked the review (I can't remember whose it was now) that said the book kept "its blade sharp and its heart open". The lens on the characters was unpitying, but in the end the gaze was mostly kind and somewhat forgiving. (Not so much for Leo. Leo was just kind of a dick.)

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. 
Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

Did not break my streak of reading Liane Moriarty books and finding them invariably charming, readable, engaging and unexpectedly thought-provoking (Truly Madly Guilty did that, as it turns out). Her style seems effortless and is so enjoyable.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell: Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.
For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.
A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

Some of this was wonderfully cheesy and some of it was just wonderful. I remember one reviewer saying something about David Mitchell seeming to be just having a wonderful time writing (I think it was about Cloud Atlas), and I completely feel that here. This has the same sprawling, prodigiously imaginative, joyous creative energy as C.A., and I was just as pulled in, although for quite a while it seems impossible to keep all the narrative threads and concepts straight. The plot veers like Mr. Toad's wild ride from bittersweet family struggles and fragile loves stories to Marvel-worthy battles involving psychoprojectiles, souls egressing out of foreheads and gnostic serpents. Great fun.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley: On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. 
With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the crash heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations--all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.
The fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
 

I'm not sure exactly how to review this. It's kind of a mystery and kind of a meandering philosophical novel. It goes fairly skillfully between the big, dramatic, world-shaking event and the daily minutiae of the characters' lives. For such a cinematic set-up, the characterization is richer than I would have expected. I didn't read it breathlessly, but I looked forward to picking it up again every day.

2 comments:

Nicole said...

THIS IS THE POST I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! I love fiction and short stories, brb, making a big list.

DaniGirl said...

I really really loved the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It caught me up unexpectedly and stayed with me for quite a while. Adding The Boy Who Could See Demons and The Nest to my "to read" list!