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.
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.
Playing Flashlight Tag by Jay Lemming is a very short story (19 pages) about developing relationships in a group of approximately thirteen-year-old boys. That is the way it started. There was a core group of boys from families that had lived in the neighborhood for several years. Billy, Andrew, and Joey formed this group. They eventually invited Tommy, a new arrival the previous year. They played Flashlight Tag in neighborhood yards every evening they could. One night a ghostly figure appeared to scare Billy but was only Sean, a class troublemaker, wearing a sheet. When the five boys were joined by a girl new to the neighborhood, Susan, this becomes a story of developing relationships and petty jealousies.
Sherlock Holmes: Case of the Face of Death is a short story by John Pirillo. Master Garretson was a strict teacher not completely admired by all students. No matter the type of student, it was the end of the week and all were looking forward to the end of the school day and the start of the weekend. On this Friday, Master Garretson was finally going to ask Miss Carrol the secret of the curls on her forehead. No matter how she moved her head, the curls never moved. He had observed this for weeks. Today, he would hold her after class and ask the reason.
All my friends are dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John is described very well on the Amazon book page as a “children’s book for adults.” It is hilarious and a great weekend break although it can be read any time you want to have a fun, positive start to your day. At only forty-eight pages and only USD 0.99, this is a good investment of time and money. The illustrations will amuse adults and children. Depending on the age of the children, this book provides many prompts for discussion. Why is the sock lonely? This minor, vexing, annoying problem may not seem important to children. They know the sock’s partner will eventually return to life. Why do parents get so upset?
He Who Drinks From Lethe… is a short story by John Wayne Falbey. I would feel guilty if, during the month of Halloween, I failed to read and comment on at least one “spooky” story. The story description on Amazon calls this a “Neo-Gothic horror tale in short story format.” I do not have a sense of what that means so …
Belief in evil, the Devil, or monsters in whatever form is the subject of The Cornfield by Anne Nowlin. Annie listened carefully to her grandmother when Granny warned her not to go into the cornfield. As an adult, Annie may have thought that the warning was not really about the cornfield. It was rather about the train tracks and the river beyond the cornfield. Go too far into the field and you risk getting close to the tracks and getting hit by a train. A bit further and there is a risk drowning. So really the warning about the field was the setting up of a buffer zone to keep young people away from real danger. That theory would hold up except for Paul.
Persistence of Frost: A Study in Magic by Chris Kim is a very short story full of surprises and improbable…
The Thing in the Pool by Carol James Marshall is a 38-page short story that I bought for USD 0.99 on Amazon after I read it for free from another giveaway site. I bought it so this review would be a verified purchase. I liked the way the story was told from many different points of view. Edger tells a story from the point of view of an eighth-grader when he is facing the world and his classmates as an eighth grader. This is his exterior, sometimes phony, point of view. There are interior monologues going on as he describes his true feelings about his classmates and himself to himself. This is his honest-with-himself point of view. Other points of view appear. Edger imagines himself as his father in the present and makes value judgments about his own behavior. Would his father approve? Same with his mother. Then he imagines himself as a father in the future. How would he interact with a son who is amazingly similar to the present day Edger?