Firstly, sorry about the delay in getting the latest Short Stories Round Up to you all. Because of this I’m going to do a one-off ‘Winter Round Up’ encompassing not only June and July but August too. After this we’ll be back to the usual round ups at the same bat-time, same bat-channel. You’ve waited long enough so let’s get stuck in.
The first of three books with multiple reviews each is Murder in the Midst by Sandi Wallace. Brenda’s Reviews says the eight short stories in this crime compilation are ‘gripping; filled with crime, intrigue, determination and award winning, snappy conclusions.’ Marianne’s Reviews comments Wallace easily evokes her different settings and concludes the short stories are a ‘marvelous’ introduction to the author’s work.
I love the sound of this next book so much I just stopped writing this round up to put it on my Booktopia wish list! Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery is a short story collection, each story inspired by one of the twenty times women have won Nobel Prizes for science. In her great review Cass Moriarty writes Elvery ‘combined literature with science to produce an alchemy of brilliance.’ Theresa Smith Writes explains in her review that despite not being a short story fan, she thought she’d give this one a go. Unfortunately it didn’t change her mind but she does go on say ‘Readers who are fans of short stories will doubtlessly enjoy this collection and appreciate the author’s intent far more than me. Probably, all of you should ignore this review and just make your own mind up about reading it based on whether you like short stories or not.’ Fair enough, not everyone has to like short stories, but I love them so send any books my way if you like Theresa (lol).
Next up is The Details: On Love, Death and Reading by Tegan Bennett Daylight. Cass Moriarty comments ‘this non-fiction writers’ companion is a thoughtful meditation very much in the vein of one of the author’s literary heroes, Helen Garner. It features the same sparse prose, the sharply-observed details of the minutiae of life, the same intimate interrogation of literature and connections.’ She concludes that the essays are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, sometimes distressing but always intelligent, searching and thoughtful. Kate from Books are my Favourite and Best comments that ‘You may not be familiar with every book or author that Daylight refers to in The Details, but I don’t think that detracts from this wonderful homage to reading.’ Brenda’s Reviews confesses though she found it hard to formulate a review ‘I did enjoy the book and did find the author’s words vivid and effective.’ The Details: On Love, Death and Reading is yet another book that reading reviews from the AWW challenge has sold me on.
Whispering Gums offers another thoughtful review, this time of the debut short story collection Well-behaved Women by Emily Paull concluding the debut collection is a ‘tight, engaging collection of stories about ordinary women, and the messiness of life. Rather than offer answers, it challenges readers to think about these messes, and consider what could be done to tidy them up a bit – next time around’.
Thea Astley’s short story collection Hunting the Wild Pineapple. drew Jennifer (JC-S)’s Reviews to the short story collection due to the title – which I love too – and was her introduction to the author. She said the eight short stories were ‘marvellous’ and she will be reading one of Astley’s novels next.
Georgia Rose’s Reviews succinctly sums up the short story collection Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke with two sentences. ‘This book will help you fall in love with short stories. So much gold is packed into every story in this collection.’ In her review of Here Until August: Stories by Josephine Rowe she praises the book as ‘Another great short story collection full of evocative but unpretentious language.’
Timing is everything, especially in 2020, and Jackie McMillan’s Reviews muses that perhaps reading A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop during a depressing pandemic wasn’t her wisest choice. For many people this sentiment will ring true.
For the kids
Ashleigh from The Book Muse offers up a plethora of reviews of children and young readers books. Parents, caregivers and fans of the genres take note! Her reviews include What Zola did on Monday (review here) and What Zola did on Tuesday by Melina Marchetta, Illustrated by Deb Hudson, (review here) which Ashleigh describes as a ‘gorgeous series to engage and entertain newly independent readers’. Emma Streeton from Dark Matter Zine also reviews What Zola Did On Monday and says it was a great confidence booster for her ‘littlest bookworm’ who was very proud to read the book on her own in one go.How lovely! Based on the Australian TV series Kitty is Not a Cat, Ashleigh says Kitty is Not a Cat: Teddy’s Bear and Kitty is Not a Cat: Light’s Out by Jess Black is a warm and funny junior-fiction series. Ashleigh also reviews the second book in the Monty’s Island Series by Emily Rodda, Beady Bold and the Yam-Yams, which she says is a wonderful addition to the series, adding ‘There is something in it for every reader, and I hope readers will fall in love with this series by one of Australia’s best loved authors.’
The Adventures of Princess Peony by Nette Hilton, illustrated by Lucinda Gifford is a compilation of the first two Princess Peony books. Ashleigh says ‘this book begs to be read aloud, dramatically. of course,’ and describes it as a series that encourages imaginative play. Next up is Evie and Pog: Party Perfect by Tania McCartney, reviewed by both Ashley and Emma again. There are three stories in each book which Emma says it is a fabulous series and Evie and Pog are an ideal combination of characters to engage young readers, particularly those reluctant readers out there. Ahleigh says ‘The stories are filled with fun and love, and memorable characters.’ Ashleigh reviews the 25th Anniversary edition of Tashi by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble. With over one million copies sold, and read by people from author Sally Rippen to actor Angelina Jolie, Ashleigh says the book is sure to remain a classic from generations to come. The Book Muse reviews a book in a new Aussie series, Aussie Kids: Meet Mia at the Jetty by Janeen Brian and Danny Snell. She says it is a lovely story that all readers will enjoy and that will help children build their vocabulary and reading confidence.
Lastly Amanda at Mrs B’s Book Reviews and Ashleigh at The Book Muse review Alexandra Rose and her Icy-Cold Toes by Monique Mulligan Described as vibrant and fun with prose flows well and pastel illustrations that compliment the text, Amanda comments that the book is a humorous read that is destined to be a family favourite. Ashleigh also praised the book.’Children of all ages will love this book, and it is perfect to read out loud with its rhyming and lilting tones and structure, and will be great for readers learning to read and confident readers – readers at all ages and levels will get enjoyment out of this delightful little book.’
So that’s the Short Stories Winter Round-up. I feel it’s amiss not to say that over here in WA our hearts are with all of you in lock down in Melbourne. Please look after yourself and stay safe xxx