The October Country

Author: Ray Bradbury Type: Fiction, short stories Published: 1955 I read it: October 2018 In a small used bookstore in downtown Nashville I combed the shelves in the fantasy and sci-fi section, and was rewarded with this purple treat. All the Bradbury I’ve read is in used paperback, which I feel the author himself would…

Night Shift

Author: Stephen King Type: Fiction, short stories Published: 1978 I read it: September 2018 Now that’s the kind of paperback that’s fun to find at Goodwill! Spine-battered and yellow and smelling of age, with creepy cover art to boot (from the story “I Am the Doorway”). In continuing the pendulum swing from trying out King’s…

The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn Type: Fiction, short story Published: 2014 I read it: August 2018 I haven’t been caught off guard by opening lines like that in a while, but maybe it’s because I’ve read only one previous book by Flynn (the smash hit) and haven’t gotten used to her style and characters. I wondered if…

The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami Translator: Ted Goossen Illustrator: Chip Kidd Type: Fiction, short story Published: 2014 I read it: July 2018 “Why do I act like this, agreeing when I really disagree, letting people force me to do things I don’t want to do?” Murakami’s dreamlike story centers around the protagonist’s willingness to go along into…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017

Editor: Sarah Vowell (introduction) Type: Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, memoir Published: 2017 I read it: November 2017 If 2016 was the volume that felt like a last big inhale before American politics crashed down at the end of that year, then this year’s BANR collection is the painful exhale, reading like a…

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

Author: Edith Wharton Editor: David Stuart Davies Type: Fiction, short stories (anthology) Published: 1904-1937 (original stories); 2009 (this collection) I read it: September 2017 In the story “Kerfol,” which happens to be about a pack of ghost dogs, one character remarks that “you know every Breton house has its ghost-story.” This certainly seems to be…

The New Weird

Editors: Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer Type: Fiction, short stories (anthology) Published: 2008 I read it: September 2017 When I first read Jeff VanderMeer, I was also reading H.P. Lovecraft for the first time. Because of that, and because of my limited exposure to authors in this vein, I over-attributed much of VanderMeer’s craft to…