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BY THE WAYSIDE: Wonder Full Short Stories ~Anne Leigh Parrish

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

BY THE WAYSIDE is definitely a book of short stories that has brought me delight and enjoyment.  I believe that this is because of Anne Leigh Parrish’s style of storytelling and her interesting twists and pockets of humor in the most common of circumstances.  There are such wonderful sneaky quirks found here.

TLC Book Tours  sent me a PDF file of the book for review and it came at perfect timing.  I just adore good short stories whether they make me think, cry, laugh, or exploit my confusion.   I like to keep them on my phone so that when I am waiting for an appointment, or the bus, and even for my partner to arrive I always have something portable to dive into and not lose track of; I am carrying my phone anyway so why not a bunch of stories?  Any of Parrish’s stories begin as a “winner” read in my book and BY THE WAYSIDE did not disappoint.

The characters have a genuine quality.

I always have a hard time writing about short story books.  Do I highlight something about each of the 18 stories? Do I tell you one made me very sad and also I never thought I would find painful menstruation a topic, which will forever make me smile and laugh?  I did very much like the stories where one of the characters found their own voice or calling and were able to strike out on their own to make a good change for themselves.  Several stories demanded that I think about them as I needed to draw my own conclusions and the one primarily about food, a food that I delight in eating, did not make me hungry rather challenged my heart too.

The stories can be very short or traditional length and still capture the full measure.

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of All the Roads That Lead From Home, stories (Press 53, 2011); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2014); and What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014). Her new novel, Women Within, is forthcoming from Black Rose Writing in September 2017. Find Anne on Facebook, Twitter, and her website. (From TLC Book Tours)

Parrish is a Master wordsmith.

“Anne Leigh Parrish is one of the best of a new wave of American short story writers reinvigorating the form. Many of these writers specialize at flash fiction– a genre at which Parrish is a master. She also, however, excels at stories of more traditional length. Her tales, long or short, are highly readable but also convey intelligence and meaning. Few writers today create as much compassion for their characters, or draw as much emotion from their situations, as does Anne Leigh Parrish.” – Karl Wenclas, Editor, New Pop Lit.

Titles of stories:
AN ANGEL WITHIN; HOW SHE WAS FOUND; ARTICHOKES; THE PROFESSOR; SMOKE; WHERE LOVE LIES; THE KEEPER OF THE TRUTH; AN ACT OF CONCEALMENT; TRIAL BY LUCK; ALONG CAME A SPIDER; BY THE WAYSIDE; LETTERS OF LOVE AND HATE; THE FALL; BREE’S MIRACLE; PATIENCE; FIRE AND ICE; A THING OF BEAUTY;THE LILLIAN GIRL

Related  Reading:
Our Love Could Light The World
Half As Happy
Flings
Incendiary Girls
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness

DERANGED: 3 Stories ~Nora L. Jamieson

Monday, October 19th, 2015

The reader is privileged to enter the thinking world of 3 women all of the same location but in different stages of their lives.  The stories are separate and yet inter lap, as stories are want to do.  Each woman is of a different age and journey point but there is a common theme and they dovetail into the body message of DERANGED of how to be a woman and how to survive acknowledging the route and the ancestors.

Editorial Reviews From the Back Cover:

“In this terrible, gleaming, penetrating work, we learn what it is to be animal again, and so to be fully human. Nora Jamieson’s true and remarkable voice is so old and so aligned with the old, old ways, it is startlingly new. This is a Literature of Restoration. This is the way of sacred language. This is prayer manifesting in blood, bone, terror, and beauty. This is the language of Creation. These words recreate the holy world and offer it from a fierce heart. Who would have dared to imagine that The Cailleach might be among us again” Deena Metzger, author, Ruin and Beauty and La Negra y Blanca: Fugue and Commentary

“Like myths, Nora Jamieson’s wild, beautiful, and holy stories resonate with truths from a time when nature and all living things were inseparable. Feeling ‘deranged’ in the modern world, her characters struggle against the forces that separate humans from each other, from the other animals, from the natural world, from the sacred. While the narrative voices bristle with unflinching honesty, they offer solace with the possibility of redemption.”  Anne Batterson, author, The Black Swan “
“The Inuit say that every story has a yua, a spirit, its person.  Through the stories of Anna, Sophie and Louise, Deranged honors the Spirit of grief, redemption, restoration, and the invisible realm”    (all from Amazon’s page)

The writing of these stories is poetic and lush, drawing the reader into the presence of the story and the thoughts and ideas expressed by each mind provoked by their circumstance.  We follow coyote, woods, rivers and footfalls of those who walk the earth seeing and hearing.  There is a silence in the women’s lives and we are privy to their interpretations of all that is part of their world.  We stand on the rock and catch fish; we leave the body when the pain is too great.

Anna’s story is called: Reckoning
Sophie’s story is called: The Looking Back Woman of Scantic Gap
Louise’s story is called: The Taxidermists’ Daughter

Fathers are extremely important within these three stories and they shape and change the women until the child stands on its own; guided but not controlled and they each see clearly the man.

I started reading these stories at my usual pace, thinking I could do one a day and write this review.  They were each about 50 pages long and yet I found myself right away longing to read them again and again – so I did.   I read each story 3 times before I moved to the next.  The stories were calming and I got cold when it snowed, which very much surprised me.  I loved the words and the flow of the writing and enjoyed reading all the acknowledgements from the author at the end of the read.  I sighed and let go with each turn of the page and I am going to purchase a number of copies of this book to say thank you to the wonderful women who have cared for me post surgery and into recovery.  It is the best “thing” I can imagine to share.

Mr. Gabriel Constans of Constans & Blumeneau sent me a PDF copy for review and I am so happy that he did.  He has sent along several other books for me to review, all with special voices.   It is a 5 star + Dr. Constans   Thank you for thinking of me.

About the Author:

“Nora L. Jamieson lives in northwestern Connecticut where she writes, counsels women, and unsuccessfully tracks coyote. She lives with her spouse, Allan G. Johnson, their soulful dog, Roxie, and the sorrowful and joyful memory of four beloved goats and three dogs.”Visit her website at www.norajamieson.com.” (from the book cover)

Related:
Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba the Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire
The Last Conception
Imaginary Life

THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS and other stories ~Rebecca Adams Wright

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

“These are ceaselessly inventive stories, witty, wry, and wondrous, by turn, and all graced with an emotional sincerity that ensure they never dip into mere whimsy.  This is speculative fiction with both a head and a heart.”  -Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl. (From the cover)

THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS and Other Stories is that it is a collection of fine boned stories that connect in the present moment, while drawing close history and future into the reader’s comprehension while evolving into a truly original possibility.

I grabbed the Uncorrected, Unproofed book as I was heading for a doctor’s appointment.  One more stories and one more test turned into an incredible 9 hour waiting event and THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS held my attention through each test and waiting for an outcome.  The stories grabbed hold of the mind’s eye and held on until the story stopped.  The stories swirled around in my head while sleep was induced and pain relieved.  My advocate perused the stories while I rested.

The chapter titles caught my attention:

  • Sheila
  • Tiger Brigh
  • What to Expect When You’re expecting an Alien Parasite
  • Orchids
  • Melville loves Hawthorne
  • The Other Husband
  • Barnstormers
  • The Space We Share
  • Poland, 1952
  • Keeper of the Glass
  • Yuri, in a Blue Dress
  • Storybag
  • The Thing about Great White Sharks
  • Aleph Bat
  • The White Chalk Road

How amazing would it be to be flying in an ornithopter in an air show and to know that you just saved your teams future by flying a new and dangerous configuration?  How hard would it be to give up your dog companion and good friend because the law said it was to be done? How would you rationalize or explain a school locker turning in homework after the student died?

I was very pleased to be reviewing these stories for TLC Book Tours so I could share them with you.   I did not like every story in the book with equal delight and yet the book got me through a difficult day with the clever, heartfelt writing

About the author from TLC web page:

“Rebecca Adams Wright is a 2011 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and a former University of Michigan Zell Writing Fellow. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and has won the Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize. Rebecca lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her husband and daughter.”

Rebecca Adams Wright Facebook
Rebecca Adams Wright Website 

Related:
What the Zhang Boys Know
Flings
No Longer And Not Yet 
Half As Happy Stories 

MAN V. NATURE: Stories ~Diane Cook

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

“What I like most about these stories is that many of them are dispatches from the end of the world, and it turns out to be a surprisingly familiar place.” (Ira Glass, Host, This American Life – cover quote)

TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected proof copy of MAN V. NATURE for review and I want to recommend this book to my readers.

I read the first few pages of the first story and had to put the book down to answer the phone, I got really distracted with various activities and could not return to reading until the next day.  I could not stop thinking about the weird and wonderful first few pages of the book.  MAN V. NATURE caught my attention and held on tightly.  There was something different about the rhythm to the very tight writing style and yet it was fluid.  I read the above cover quote and this increased my interest, even though there were brutal forces (of Nature?) which were hard to wrap my imagination around.  An idea popped into my head, I put on the headphones and listened to a podcast of THIS AMERICAN LIFE.  Ah! The stories captured that timing and were not as scary and the emotions did not seep within me.  What remained were fascinating slices of a different reality.

“Diane Cook’s fiction has been published in HARPER’S Magazine, TIN HOUSE, ZOETROPE, and GUERNICA.  Her nonfiction has appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES magazine and on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, where she worked as a radio producer.  She earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow.  She lives in San Francisco, California” (cover)

Diane Cook LinkedIn
Diane Cook Twitter @theDMC
Diane Cook Facebook

What happens to human lives when Nature gives us the Wild and Wooly to comprehend and cope with even knowing at any moment there could be death defying consciences?  What if one’s own Nature sets the stage for unimaginable consequences? What are the boundaries when Nature sends a tidal wave and one must find control and parameters?  Lots of tension included in each of these diverse stories.

Story Titles:

  • Moving On
  • The Way the End of Days Should Be
  • Somebody’s Baby
  • Girl on Girl
  • MAN V. NATURE
  • Marrying Up
  • It’s Coming
  • Meteorologist Dave Santana
  • Flotsam
  • A Wanted Man
  • The Mast Year
  • The Not-Needed Forest

In my busy life, I am truly enjoying the short story realm very much.  I like the diverse subject areas and how they are played out in new shorts to intrigue the mind in unexplored directions and stimulate creative thinking. An interesting collection – MAN V.NATURE

Related:
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness
Incendiary Girls
The Sense of Touch
Our Love Could Light the World