?

Log in

No account? Create an account
~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
One more before I go to bed. ^_^ 
17th-Jan-2006 11:34 pm
Dream
Or not. It's that time of the month, and I'm feeling a bit of insomnia coming on.

It's funny. I was never really into short story collections in the past. Certainly, I never read them as a child, even while I was devouring novels by Anne Rice and Victor Hugo in my pre-teens. Nowadays, though, I find that I'm in the mood for them every once in awhile. Plowing right through an entire collection of short stories can be quite pleasant, especially during a bout of attention-deficit--the transition from story to story snaps the reader back onto task.

Haslett, Adam. You Are Not a Stranger Here. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2002.
Summary: A collection of nine short stories.
Comments: Though the stories jump back and forth across the Atlantic in locale, they are all written in the same uncomplicated, numb language. United by themes of mental illness and (closeted) homosexuality, none of them are particularly unique or original--and I can tell already that none of these stories are going to persist long in my memory. There was a heck of a lot of privilege stomping around in these pages, too; boarding schools, summer homes, "smart" homes, etc. The best of the lot is the first story, "Notes to My Biographer," where a crazy father confronts his son, who turns out to be at war with his own madness, afraid that he will lose his lover to it. The last and longest story, "The Volunteer" sports the impressively original *sarcastic* punchline: Even the white and wealthy can be miserable. So glad to hear it. What disturbed me most, though, was how disaffected the stories were; situations that called for powerful emotions--a brother and sister in love with the same man but unwilling to give each other up, a boy who has lost both of his parents and seeks oblivion in a sadomasochistic relationship with a classmate--call for strong emotions...yet, in Haslett's stories, they just float right on by as if hardly worthy of comment at all. I've seen other authors treat similar setups to much better effect. Haslett has potential as a writer, but he needs to mature substantially--and I suspect that he needs to live more life so that he can draw more on his experiences in lieu of his imagination. The best prose writers tend to be older, so he has plenty of time.
Notes: hardcover, Today Show Book Club edition
Rating: 5/10 - Good for those who enjoy the art of the short story, but nothing here is going to wholly devour your attention.
Comments 
18th-Jan-2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
I like short stories as little bites, like something to read in whole when getting ready to go to sleep ^_^ Last night, a little lesbian sexual vampirism story ^^;;
18th-Jan-2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
Last night, a little lesbian sexual vampirism story ^^;;

Which book was that? ^^;;;;
18th-Jan-2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, that wasn't on the new list.. Bending the landscape: Original gay and lesbian writing, horror.. In the very first story, a Special Forces guy wakes up drunk in bed with another guy, with his arm trapped under the guy.. He chews off his own arm to prevent being found ^^;;
18th-Jan-2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. Right. I have that book. Read that first story, thought it was REALLY sad, put the book down...and never picked it up again.

Which story was the lesbian vampire story?
18th-Jan-2006 01:32 pm (UTC)
You have it!? I was one of the $1 books from Hamilton ^_^ The WereSlut of Avenue A, page 211.. I was very tired so I picked a little short one.. So far, the stories written by women have been much better than those by men ^^;; Much more erotic too...
18th-Jan-2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
I've had the book for at least a few years now but never read it. I also have the fantasy one, but not the sci-fi. As I said in this entry, I've never been a big short story fan, so I bought them more on impulse than actual intent to read them cover-to-cover. (As a collector, I do that sometimes. ^^;;;; )
18th-Jan-2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
so I bought them more on impulse than actual intent to read them cover-to-cover. (As a collector, I do that sometimes.

*looks over at bookcases*

Yeah, I know what you mean ^^;;;;
18th-Jan-2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
*laughs* So you do that, too? Any particular kind of book that ends up being the culprit?

I find, for myself, that I often end up with multiple editions of the same book (with the nicest one being the "collectable"--and most likely most recently purchased) and short story collections.
18th-Jan-2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
It always seems to be old books, fiction or nonfiction.. Like the Arabian Nights volumes that have been sitting around since 1982 for a couple years waiting to be read ^^;;;
18th-Jan-2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
You know, the temptation to buy old books and "classics" is strong, but unless I REALLY want to read them, I tend to resist, as they tend to be challenging reads and not as "fun" as other things out there.

Like the Arabian Nights volumes that have been sitting around since 1982 for a couple years waiting to be read ^^;;;

You actually remember the year you got them!? Or are you just approximating?
18th-Jan-2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
I have a very old copy of Wuthering Heights that I got in a used bookstore, it just more atmosphere than a new copy ^_^

You actually remember the year you got them!?

I tend to put my name somewhere on the first couple pages of new books, generally the first page under the cover, and I usually note the year too ^_^ In these one I had put book plates...
18th-Jan-2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
If I'm buying a used book as a reading copy, I won't buy one that smells like cigarettes or something else gross. Since I love smelling the pages as I read... ^^;;;

I tend to put my name somewhere on the first couple pages of new books, generally the first page under the cover, and I usually note the year too ^_^ In these one I had put book plates...

*wrist slap* Bad bad! Doing stuff like that devalues a book. I only write in books I'm using as textbooks.

*chuckles* So you've had those books since the year I was born, eh? I don't think I even have any books from my childhood left...
18th-Jan-2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
since I love smelling the pages as I read...

It's definitely some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder.. I was disappointed because a couple of the ones I just got have a newspaper kind of smell to the pages ^^;;

Bad bad! Doing stuff like that devalues a book

^^;;;; I figure most of my books will never be worth a thing, at least not while I'm still alive! I do kinda wish I didn't put them in the Arabian Nights, limited printing and all that... Still, I like seeing names and plates when I get old books, like a record of who owned it before.. I have a few with several past owners' names in them ^_^

So you've had those books since the year I was born, eh?

>_< But of course I was VERY young when I got them ^__^ Geez, I can remember going to the library after school to see if anything interesting was there for sale, and carrying all these books home, walking a couple miles with my arms aching so bad from the weight ^_^;
18th-Jan-2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
It's definitely some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder..

*sighs* I've yet to meet someone in person who genuinely shuffles and sniffs the pages while reading. My parents think that it is, yes, some sort of disorder. >_<

I figure most of my books will never be worth a thing, at least not while I'm still alive!

First editions are the ones that get valuable, and book club editions are hardly ever valuable. But, yeah, your 70 year old copy of Jane Eyre isn't worth jack. :P

But of course I was VERY young when I got them ^__^

Heh. I stopped writing my name in my books when I was, like, five. Back when I could only do capital letters. ^^;
30th-Jan-2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
This page was loaded Apr 27th 2018, 6:11 am GMT.