Saturday, May 6, 2017

April Book Round Up

Oops, it's already May! Sorry!! Though to be honest, these past two days have been colder in East TN than they were in November!

So, as you saw in my previous post, the month of April has been rather INSANE! No exaggeration. This means that a lot of personal reading did not happen. In fact, zero personal reading got done. But that never means I didn't read. Did I have you worried there? Ha, I thought so.

Let's talk about short stories!!

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
I was assigned Russell's newest short story collection as my final project in my Traditions in Short Fiction course. Well, really, I picked it based off of the title. I wanted to read Sherman Alexei, but I'm SO glad that I got stuck with Karen Russell instead. (Funny anecdote: when I raised my hand for this, my professor said, "I knew you'd pick that one." They know me so well at UTC!)
I love this story collection. I've never read something like this before, both in format and the stories themselves. I would love to be a neuron inside Karen Russell's brain because MAN the stuff she comes up with is INSANE! And I LOVE IT! She combines horror and humor in a fantastic, artful way. I wrote down every single time I laughed out loud as I was reading her stories. I promise that you've never read anything like her stories.
I obviously enjoyed the actual story "Vampires in the Lemon Grove" about these vampire lovers who have settled in a lemon grove and learned that puncturing the thick skin of a lemon is nearly as satisfying as drinking human blood. But obviously, it's going to take a dark twist. I'm just not going to tell you. I also really enjoyed and was terrified by "The Doll of Eric Mutis." I'm not really going to tell you what it's about because that would ruin the surprise horror element of it. But she also has some not as terrifying stories, such as one about random former US presidents being turned into horses and not knowing where they are or how they got there or what they did to deserve being turned into a horse. They also don't know what will happen if they jump over the fence because the others have just disappeared!
So there's a small taste of Russell's work. She's also the author of the novel Swamplandia and the short story collection St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology 
This was technically my textbook for this Traditions in Short Fiction class, along with a few stories not featured and articles on the art of the short story. No, I'm not recommending a textbook to you, just some of the stories that really stood out to me. If you haven't read these short stories, you should. (Also, if you don't read short stories in general, I highly suggest starting because there's some amazing work being done with them.)
1. "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin
2. "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner (and I'm not a huge Faulkner fan)
3. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor
4. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates (FREAKYYYY)
5. "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker (just so good)
6. "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien (you should really read the whole collection <3)
7. "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri
8. "The Breeze" by Joshua Ferris (Warning: you are meant to be disoriented in this story)
9. "Birdsong" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

And there we go! That's basically what I read this past month (on top of all my papers and editing). Right now, I'm almost finished with Libba Bray's second installment in the Diviner's series, Lair of Dreams. SO GOOD--talk about doing research to perfectly delineate 1920s New York. Anyway, that's for next month's post.

Happy Reading (of short stories :D),

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