Skip to main content

Short stories 321-330

 Merry Christmas, Everyone!

On with the reporting:
  • “Caravan” by Rosalyn Chissick. A fine little tale about a girl who joins the circus. Recommended.
  • “The Seven Steps from Shag to Spouse” by Tiffanie Darke . The stages of development in a relationship. About as dreary as the title suggests.
  • “Lip Service” by Karen Moline. A man tells his friends the story of a narrow escape from a woman.
  • “Saving Amsterdam” by Chris Manby. About finding love again.
  • “A Form of Release” by Daisy Waugh. About a has-been pop star yearning for a come-back.
  • “Hurrah for the Hols” by Helen Simpson. A family holiday and the woes of parenthood.
  • “No Worries” by Sarah Ingham. About travel as a metaphor for healing after a breakup.
  • “Re: The World”, by Amy Jenkins. GNI. About the one who got away.
This finishes Girls’ Night Out. I had some inkling of what I was getting myself into when I decided to read this book for the challenge: lots of light-hearted stories about romance and some stories about break-up crises and recovery, but what I didn’t expect was the sameness of other themes in the stories. It seems as if every other woman in these stories either works in publishing or either is a celebrity or ends up dating one, and at least a third of the stories involve the combination of heartbreak and travel followed by new love. I lay the blame for the publishing theme at the door of Bridget Jones, or rather Helen Fielding, and celebrities are always a popular subject for light-hearted stories, but I wonder what the reason for the popularity of the travel theme is - could it be the implied glamour of travel or the inevitable metaphor of travel as a journey towards recovery? Whatever the reasons, I just wish there hadn’t been so many versions of what was basically the same story.

The last of the November reads:

  • “The Corner Shop” by Cynthia Asquith. A chilling tale about an antiques shop. Recommended.

And now for the home stretch: December’s stories.

Most of the Christmas stories in my collection that aren’t novels are novellas and too long to include in the challenge, but I do have one book of Christmas mysteries that I plan to finish in December, and I will fill up the gaps with other, holiday and non-holiday stories that will enable me to finish a couple of books. I might also look farther afield and pull some classic Christmas stories off the Internet.

Starting with a spooky Christmas story from Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, here are the December stories:

  • “Christmas Meeting” by Rosemary Timperley. A very short but nonetheless chilling Christmas ghost story, and proof that a story need not be long to be effective. Recommended.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme