Returned Soles

The ripple effect on the economy, a result of the National Tantrum, will undoubtedly hurt the sales of shoes, clothing,…

… But You Can Never Leave

The House of Twelve by Sean Davies will deceive the reader many times. The idea seems familiar. Twelve people wake up in a house but can’t remember how they got there. They don’t know each other and can’t figure out a connection that will tie them together. It is almost as if they had been drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned in one house. That they were imprisoned is obvious from many indicators. Doors are steel, reinforced, and locked. Where there should be windows, the glass has been replaced by thick constructions of brick. And on a coffee table in the living room, there is a document with House Rules. The first one says they will never be allowed to escape, the second rations the food and water, and the third relates to their imminent deaths. There is constant background music; think elevator music. Each evening at 2300 the music will stop, and one person must die. The victim can die by suicide or be killed by others. If no selection or volunteer happens before 2400, gas will kill all of them.

Dwight Buries a Wife

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman is an original story of the dangers that accompany being buried alive. There was a time in the 1700s and 1800s that this was a real fear. Edgar Allen Poe wrote of it and it was such a fear that a minor industry developed that created caskets with ropes which connected with bells above ground so that the inadvertently interred could signal for help. This story expands on that fear and adds a few others to create an entertaining tale of greed, jealousy, perverted criminal activity, and the supernatural. I didn’t read the book but listened to an audiobook from Scribd. The link below is to the book on Amazon. It is USD 12.99 in the Kindle edition, USD 19.60 on Audible.com and is included in my Scribd subscription (USD 8.99 per month).

Tuli Learns to Inhale

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

Don’t Bury Me by Nick Younker begins as a dystopian novel, provides a steadily increasing supply of despair and pathos and ends with a twisted presentation of what may be described as social justice. This is not a spoiler because the interesting element of the short story is the process by which it gets there. Plus, there are two rewarding surprises for the reader who has taken the journey through all the negative sludge. To phrase this in a way that is not a spoiler, the reader might find an answer to the problems of income inequality.

Where Do You Hang Your Pot?

Donald Trump                                     Nancy Pelosi Physical Age: Same as me                  Physical Age: 78 Social Behavior Age: 5-6                   Social Behavior Age:…

Is Laurie Real?

The Colors of Autumn by Jay Lemming is a coming of age very short story. At only fourteen pages, this should take a reader about one-half a cup of coffee (caffeinated) to read. I found this story as I was wandering through some Amazon author pages and stumbled across this sentence: “The Colors of Autumn is the tale of a dying season and of naivete brought to the doorstep of depravity.” It is not fair to put such shiny objects in the path of an eclectic reader.

Read For Fun Or Challenge

Ultimate Brainbusters Part I by Jonathan Smith has this intriguing blurb on its cover. “Twenty-one short stories within 250 words with incredible plot twists.” I was alerted to the existence of this publication by an email from the author. On Amazon, it sells for USD 0.99 and I bought it with the original intention of reading for entertainment. Then I decided to make it a something-to-do project. My challenge to myself was to read each story and come up with a first impression takeaway line. The emphasis is on “first impression,” something like a reaction word or phrase on a Rorschach inkblot test. The further challenge is: The instant impression cannot be a spoiler, retaining the “incredible” in the plot twist for other readers.

Darkness in Everyday Things

Tiny Shoes Dancing by Audrey Kalman is a collection of twenty short stories. Kalman selects significant elements from primarily insignificant lives, the lives that don’t get a mention in the supermarket tabloids. Short stories are great; they fill time and are portable. There is no guilt in not completing them because you can always put off the pesky routine tasks which you know you have to do … right after you finish the short story you are reading. The stories in this collection are great because they make the reader feel important. We have all had some variation on these normal, everyday challenges. Well, most of them. There are some tales which are weird.

Writing a Memoir

I received this book through Booksprout as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for a review. I received no compensation other than the fun of reading the book. This was a challenging book to read for two main reasons. The style of writing in which the story was written made it occasionally difficult to determine which character was dominant and presenting a point of view. The second difficulty might be due to the format of an ARC. There are distracting spelling irregularities and clumsy phrasing such as “Could have they come all the way here …” (Kindle locations 1814-1815). While I do not consider the phrase wrong, it reads like an outdated, formal style. I don’t know whether changes are planned before final publication but I feel this novel should go through one more examination by a copy editor. Otherwise, it reads as if it were written by an accomplished writer whose second language is English.

A Historically Strong Woman

Here are the things I felt I knew before reading this book.

Alexandra Feodorovna: A Life From Beginning to End is a publication of a group known as Hourly History. Alexandra was the wife of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar. In my mind she was the dominant one in the family, the Tsar was manipulated by many. She, in turn, is famous for being manipulated by the colorful, frequently drunk, and always unhygienic Rasputin. Alexandra was the mother of the constantly bleeding Prince Alexei (hemophilia) as well as several daughters. The entire family would be executed by a Bolshevik faction but would leave behind a mystery about one of the daughters, Anastasia. Did she survive? If she didn’t, there would be pretenders surfacing occasionally in later years to claim her identity. These are things about Alexandra Feodorovna that stick in my mind. What more can I learn from this Hourly History publication?