e premte, 19 dhjetor 2008

The O Henry Prize Stories 2008 edited by Laura Furman eBook edition

Short stories are always a crap shoot.  They can be masterpieces; a little gem hidden in the pages of a magazine.  They can be head scratchers; you finish wondering what the hell that was about!  They can be be alternatively irritating, amusing and even boring.

I am by nature a cereal box reader -- you know one of those people whose basic requirement for what they read is that it be printed somewhere.  I'm not picky about where.  So it should come as no surprise that I always keep at least one short story collection on my Palm. It is there to kill those odd few minutes when I am waiting for something else to happen.

Every year I buy the O Henry Prize stories.  And every year I have the same experience. . . There are a couple that I love, a few that I am more or less indifferent to and a couple I actually hate.  And I am always mystified as to why these twenty stories are considered the best. 

My reaction to the The O Henry Prize Stories 2008 isn't any different. For example, I loved Bad Neighbors by Edward P. Jones and hated A Composer and His Parakeets by Ha JinI found Folie à Deux some thing of a head scratcher. And finally (!) A Change in Fashion and A Little History of Modern Music made me smile. 

I read them all.  My reaction?  The best short stories are VERY short on humor.  Evidently to be considered for the best you must write serious (read often depressing) stories filled with angst.  I would have to characterize most of these stories as high-minded snippets reflecting human pain. 

I mean, think about these stories:

  • The Transitional Object: grades and sex in Paris. 
  • Bye-bye Natalia: email correspondence between Ukranian girl and her Cowboy
  • The Little Boy: how children survive an incompetent parent
  • A Game of Cards:  gin rummy and two life long friends
  • Other People's Deaths: the etiquette of death
  • Prison: surrogate parenting and sharing a womb
  • On the Lake:  Near drowning and parental guilt

Not exactly a bunch of happy people or funny subjects.  And yet these stories have stuck with me all week.  I find myself thinking about them at odd moments.  Wondering about the characters and ruminating on the nature of humans and their experiences.

I suppose in the long run, that is what makes these stories prize winners.

Here's what the publisher says:

An annual collection of the twenty best contemporary short stories selected by series editor Laura Furman from hundreds of literary magazines, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 is studded with extraordinary settings and characters: a teenager in survivalist Alaska, the seed keeper of a doomed Chinese village, a young woman trying to save her life in a Ukrainian internet café. Also included are the winning writers' comments on what inspired them, a short essay from each of the three eminent jurors, and an extensive resource list of literary magazines.

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e mërkurë, 16 prill 2008

Great Bestsellers


'Nineteen Minutes' by Jodi Picoult. Ms. Picoult writes with an air of suspense: she doesn't reveal all of her cards right away, and little bits about Peter's actions and motive emerge as the page count grows. At times this tactic becomes repetitive and leaves you wishing she would just spill the truth earlier, but when it finally does come, it is worth the wait. I am a big fan of Jodi Picoult and have loved many of her earlier works, especially My Sister's Keeper and Plain Truth. This novel is well written and fast paced enough to keep somone turning from page to page. The only issues I have with the novel is some unsolved mysteries and the last chapter could have been a bit more filled out. All in all though it is a solid book that is a good read.

'REMEMBER ME' by Sophie Kinsella. This eBook is about a woman who loses her memory and has no recollection of the last 3 years. She has to struggle with learning who she has become in the last 3 years. This is a fun and quick read. However, in my opinion it is not the best from the author. Having read all of her other books this one is my least favorite, and I feel the most forgettable. But, if you are looking for something fun to take to the beach or read on an weekend. This book is for you. Use the Coupon Code below for a additional Discount on either or both of these eBook Titles.

Nineteen Minutes: eBook edition Novel by Picoult, Jodi,
In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.
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REMEMBER ME eBook edition by Kinsella, Sophie
How long have I been awake? Is it morning yet? I feel so rough. What happened last night? God, my head hurts. Okay, I'm never drinking again, ever. I feel so woozy I can't even think, let alone . . .
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e hënë, 4 shkurt 2008

HOT Authors Of Our Time Do It Again...


'Duma Key' by Stephen King. I have fallen in love all over again. When I read "Memory" I knew I wanted more. When I got this eBook last week, I was so ready for it. I have not been disappointed in the least. The very first "adult" book I read was Misery by Stephen King. Since then, I've not only read everything he's written, I have recently revisited many of his works and found that they still captivate and enthrall me. Duma Key will leave a lasting impression based on the friendship between Fremantle and Wireman. Its gracious, loving and ultimately a realistic depiction of love and caring, things that are not at first associated with Stephen King's writing.

'The 6th Target' by James Patterson. Love James Patterson. Love the fact that he writes so much; I don't have to wait 2 years for his novels to be published. I started this book last night and could not stop until I turned the last page. It was 3:15 a.m. and now I am paying for it. The four ladies of the woman's murder club are back in action. A series of kidnappings have the city of San Francisco twisted in knots, and it is up to Lindsey Boxer and her new partner to figure out what is going on. Reading this book is like running all the red lights. You know you have to stop but can't; you know you have questions but don't ask them. Is it fun? Hell yes. It is literature? No but who cares? Read it for a quick satisfying romp. Use the Coupon Code below for a Discount on these two eBook Titles.

Duma Key eBook edition by King, Stephen
No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through... A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation.
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The 6th Target eBook edition by Patterson, James
When a horrifying attack leaves one of the four members of the Women's Murder Club struggling for her life, the others fight to keep a madman behind bars before anyone else is hurt. And Lindsay Boxer and her new partner in the San Francisco police department run flat-out to stop a series of kidnappings that has electrified the city: children are being plucked off the streets together with their nannies.
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e mërkurë, 9 janar 2008

Not Too Many Good Reviews, But I Loved Them!


'Shadow Dance' by Julie Garwood. I was afraid to read this book after Julie's last book, Slow Burn. I just didn't see how she could get any better...but she did! Shadow Dance entertained me, made me laugh, kept me in suspense, had great sexual tension and two of her most dynamic stand-out characters as well as quirky secondary characters. In other words, this book has it all!

'Darkest Evening Of The Year' by Dean Koontz. After reading several negative reviews, I was hesitant to read this book even though I am an avid Dean Koontz fan, and I enjoy even his lowest rated books by readers. This eBook is a nice, quick read starts a bit slow. It is evident from the beginning that this is not classic Koontz. If you a lover of suspense and thrillers but if you are loved by or give your love to a dog, then this is the book for you. With the loss of his Golden Retriever, Trixie, it seemed necessary to pay a tribute to her. Koontz true fans loved Trixie and her reviews of his books, as much as they love his books. Although this is not his normal suspense type writing, it is a meaningful story. Check below for the Coupon Code to use at checkout to receive a Discount on either of these two titles.

SHADOW DANCE by Garwood, Julie
This wedding was no small affair.There were seven bridesmaids, seven groomsmen, three ushers, two altar boys, three lectors, and enough firepower inside the church to wipe out half the congregation.All but two of the groomsmen were armed.
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With each of his #1 New York Times bestsellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten readers with novels that capture the essence of our times even as they bring us to the edge of our seats.
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e hënë, 10 dhjetor 2007

One Good, One Not So Good (To Me...)


'Four Blind Mice' by James Patterson. The actual plot is not of much interest, nor is how the criminals were caught. What sells the Patterson books is the violence, the sadism, the sex--and short chapters for those with short attention spans. Moreover, because of this, I suspect the Patterson books will not be long remembered. Readers still read Sherlock Holmes, Philo Vance, etc., and they will be doing so when the Cross books are in the dustbin.

'Home to Holly Springs' by Jan Karon. I cannot explain why, but Jan Karon reminds me of one of my other favorite writers: Pearl Buck. I think it is because both of them show--through their writing--a deep sense of love for humanity. Home to Holly Springs is a great read--a book you will want to read again. Like of lot of Karon's writing, there is a bit of mystery to it, there is gentle humor, and a satisfying conclusion. I cannot wait for the next Father Tim book. Check below for the Coupon Code to receive a Discount on either of these two eBook Titles.

Four Blind Mice eBook edition by Patterson, James
Alex Cross returns in the most harrowing case of his career-one that risks the life of his closest friend and partner, John Sampson. Alex Cross is on his way to resign from the Washington Police Force when his partner and oldest friend, John Sampson, knocks on the door, desperate.
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Home to Holly Springs eBook edition by Karon, Jan
Readers of the nine bestselling Mitford novels have been captivated by Jan Karon's "gift for illuminating the struggles that creep into everyday lives-along with a vividly imagined world" (People). They learned quickly that "after you've spent time in Mitford, you'll want to come back" (Chicago Tribune).
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e martë, 27 nëntor 2007

Familiar and Maybe Not so Familiar, but good...


'Double Cross' by James Patterson. James Patterson does it again with the Cross series. This eBook has all the suspense that his books normally have but even more! Fans of the series will like this addition to the series. Over the years, Alex, Nana Mama, Sampson, Damon, Janie and Little Alex have become like family. This book does not disappoint. Buy this eBook. You won't be disappointed. Alex Cross at his best!

'Puff' by Bob Flaherty. Cheech and Chong of the literary world! I read this eBook in about 2 days and laughed through most of it. The portrayal of these two Catholic Boston boys was so funny and light-hearted even when faced with the death of their father and mother. This book is not going to win many awards or get much press beyond word of mouth (which, by the way, is how I found out about it), but it is worth picking up. Don't forget to use the Coupon Code Below to receive a Discount on either of these eBook Titles.

Double Cross by Patterson, James
Just when Alex thought his life was calming down into a routine of patients and therapy sessions, he finds himself back in the game--this time to catch a criminal mastermind like no other. A spate of elaborate murders in Washington D.C. have the whole East Coast on edge. They are like nothing Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. With each murder, the case becomes increasingly complex.
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Puff eBook edition by Flaherty, Bob
Meet John Gullivan, age thirteen, obsessed with the moles that dot most of his body. Meet his brother Gully, who can't stop laughing at them. Now meet the brothers ten years later, in the middle of the most ferocious blizzard anyone can remember
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e mërkurë, 31 tetor 2007

Fun Fiction From Jasmin, & Kinky


'Kill Two Birds & Get Stoned' by Kinky Friedman. Interesting how this celebrated writer mixes the hilarious, bizarre, inane, contemplative, and even the beautiful in one masterly contemporary novel. Two very odd people meet our frustrated 1st person writer- narrator, sending him on three rollicking, anarchic adventures in the Village. The trio battle a mental hospital, a big time real estate developer, and the world's #1 Coffee Chain. Along the way, some terrific dialogue, discussions of the art of the novel, the real vs the fantastic, and a general critique of modern urban society shine through. A fine page turner written by a terrific pen man, with more than enough laughs for all. My only complaint: a bit too harsh on the three corporate adversaries and our three Robin-Hood style protagonists may be interesting. but they are definitely not all that nice! A very tragic ending, but the last paragraph is a winner. maybe even a beautiful finale.
'Payback' by Jasmine Cresswell. After being a media sensation (for two books - SUSPECT and MISSING), the late wealthy bigamist Ron Raven is no longer headlines news and his two families are finally moving on past his transgressions. This is an exciting ending to the Ravens and Fairfax trilogy although the police come across as more incompetent than the Keystone cops. The story line is fast-paced as the lead couple investigates what happened to Ron but their attraction reigniting in a second chance subplot seems unnecessary as the hunt for Raven, if he lives, is more than poetic justice to sustain the PAYBACK. Be sure to check below for the Coupon Code to receive a Discount on these two eBook Titles.

Kill Two Birds & Get Stoned eBook edition by Friedman, Kinky
Walter Snow is doomed. He stares at the blank pages in his typewriter, hoping for the spark that will finally ignite his ambition to write the Great Armenian Novel. And then he meets Clyde Potts.
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Payback eBook edition by Cresswell, Jasmine
For twenty-five years multimillionaire businessman Ron Raven played the loving husband and father--to two very different households. But when Ron disappears, his deception is revealed. Now it's time for...PAYBACK. The police assume bigamist and wealthy businessman Ron Raven paid the price of his crimes with his life--a conclusion his "second" family, the Fairfaxes, accepts. So when restaurateur Luke Savarini outrageously claims to have seen his former investor--in the flesh!--Kate Fairfax is furious.
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