Frankenstein: Performed by the San Francisco Ballet

So this year I bought C.J. two tickets to the ballet for Christmas.  C.J. is a fan. I’ve never really understood why you would have all that dancing without any singing. But it’s a gift so I’ll keep an open mind. Which is how I ended up at the North American Premiere of Frankenstein, a new ballet by choreographer Liam Scarlett and composer Lowell Liebermann this … Continue reading Frankenstein: Performed by the San Francisco Ballet

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

There should be a designated sub-genre for books about books, a German word for it at least.  Like Bildungsroman.  Our new “German word” novel will be defined as a work of fiction where-in the reading of a particular book figures heavily as a plot element or forms a part of the overall narrative structure. In Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones the love of literature can … Continue reading Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Raymond Carver vs. Francis Wyndham

My little tournament of short stories came down to the final round this weekend–a match up between Francis Wyndham’s The Ground Hostess and Raymond Carver’s  A Small, Good Thing.   Because, after quite a few rounds of reading, both Mr. Wyndham and Mr. Carver have become two of my favorite authors, I had no idea who was win going into the final round.  I love them both. I … Continue reading Raymond Carver vs. Francis Wyndham

Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

You might think this one would be a bit of a stretch. This time the two cards I dealt brought me Ben Winter’s linked stories “BRING HER TO ME” and “BRING THEM DOWN” from The Apocalypse Trilogy and Joan Didion’s essay “Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)’ from Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Winter’s story is about a group of religious fanatics who believe God has told them to end … Continue reading Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

Grace Paley vs Alaya Dawn Johnson

The title to this post should be one of those colon titles– Grace Paley vs. Alaya Dawn Johnson: or Grace Paley Wears Out Her Welcome. One pleasant surprise I’ve had while doing this round of the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge is how much I have enjoyed Grace Paley’s short stories.  Her observations, her humor, her humanity, have all been very enjoyable. She deserves … Continue reading Grace Paley vs Alaya Dawn Johnson

A Short Story Review Anthology: Hemingway, Williams, Babel, Alexie, Cunningham, Paley, Murakami, Kinsella

The train passed very quickly a long, red stone house with a garden and four thick palm-trees with tables under them in the shade. I wonder how many graduate students have written papers on the use of railroads in the works of Ernest Hemingway. It’s striking how many of his stories are set on trains or in railroad stations. The railway journey as metaphor for … Continue reading A Short Story Review Anthology: Hemingway, Williams, Babel, Alexie, Cunningham, Paley, Murakami, Kinsella

Strangers on a Train: Ernest Hemingway vs. Charles de Lint

This one should have been more of a challenge. For the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge I’ve been selecting two stories each round by drawing two cards from my deck and reading the stories assigned to each card.  Afterwards, I try to link the two somehow in my review.  It’s been fun. Sometimes it’s been impossible, but this time it was a cinch. I selected … Continue reading Strangers on a Train: Ernest Hemingway vs. Charles de Lint

The Missing (The Last Ride) by Tom Eidson

The Last Ride (The Missing) by Tom Eidson is one of several book I’ve ordered because of recommendations on BBC Radio 4’s, A Good Read. It still seems odd to me that I found out about this terrific novel by an American writer set in the American west through a discussion among three English celebrities. Perhaps Americans find the western so far outside of the … Continue reading The Missing (The Last Ride) by Tom Eidson

The Newton Letter by John Banville

Words fail me, Clio. How did you track me down, did I leave bloodstains in the snow? I won’t try to apologise. Instead, I want simply to explain so that we both might understand. Simply! I like that. No, I’m not sick, I have not had a breakdown. I am, you might say, I might say, in retirement from life. Temporarily. The Newton Letter by … Continue reading The Newton Letter by John Banville

Isak Dinesen vs. Raymond Chandler for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

I was not exactly ecstatic when I drew Isak Dinesen once again this week.  Last week, I drew another of her stories from Winter’s Tales a collection of “fairy tales” and did not enjoy it much at all.  So I was surprised to find how much I really loved “Peter and Rosa” which is the penultimate story in that volume.   Ms. Dinesen went up against … Continue reading Isak Dinesen vs. Raymond Chandler for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

Short Story Monday: Ivan and Mischa by Micahel Alenyikov

Ivan and Mischa by Michael Alenyikov explores the many forms of love between men.  This includes gay men who love each other, certainly, but it also includes the love between fathers and sons, between brothers and between friends as well.  Love takes many forms even when it does not cross between sexes. Ivan and Mischa are fraternal twins, raised by their father after the death of their … Continue reading Short Story Monday: Ivan and Mischa by Micahel Alenyikov