Monday, February 27, 2023

Reader's Diary #2075 - Anthony Varallo: Dispatches from a Housesitter

When a short story, such as Anthony Varallo's "Dispatches from a Housesitter" ends abruptly, especially if I've been enjoying it up to that point, I find myself wondering if missed something or if the author had an intent in mind.

The description and voice in this story are superb. As for the point? I'm wondering if I'm supposed to see a parallel between the narrator and the dog he's taking care of...

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Reader's Diary #2074 - Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow

Usually when I struggle through an exceptionally long book, I wind up with Stockholm Syndrome. I confuse the elation of finally finishing it with having enjoyed it after all. This was not the case with Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

I still barely have a sweet clue as to what I just read. The style, point of view, perspective was all over the map. It felt self-indulgent, with Pynchon trying to prove how shocking and/or witty he could be. It was dull, it was confusing, it was awful.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Reader's Diary #2073 - Mary Elizabeth Burroughs: Waste

To me, there are two types of sci-fi: sci-fi lite and hardcore sci-fi. The latter I find to be less accessible for occasional sci-fi readers and characterized by a lot of world-building including fictional jargon. Mary Elizabeth Burrough's "Waste" I found to be hardcore sci-fi.

As such it took me a little while to get into it, but eventually I was able to appreciate the story and the social commentary about classes; in this dystopian world the lowest class being short-lived, deformed humans who literally live at a dump.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Reader's Diary #2072: Joe Sweeney: How I Met Your Father

Like the TV show that inspired the title, Joe Sweeney's "How I Met Your Father" has a frame story in which a parent is retelling how she met their children's father. 

When I've tried my hand at writing short stories, I wrestled with how much description to include. How much detail do you need to set a scene and should it have any other significance (help set the mood, for instance). I find this story to be a bit too descriptive; a lot that not only felt irrelevant but also distracting and implausible that a person would remember such trivial details while reminiscing. 

Still, it was a light and entertaining piece.

Monday, February 06, 2023

Reader's Diary #2071 - O. Henry: A Newspaper Story

I still remember an old writing assignment from my childhood; a day in the life of a penny. I thought of it again today with O. Henry's "A Newspaper Story" which essentially is a day in the life of a newspaper.

The moral of the story is that the printed word holds power to affect change but it's somewhat in jest. In this case it's the physical paper that actually creates change, and coincidentally, in the lives of those written about in the newspaper.

It's amusing, fast paced, and wonderfully detailed.