Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Short Story Reviews

I don't normally read short stories, but on a whim a while ago I bought two from one story after reading about it on She is Too Fond of Books. It took me a while to get around to reading them, too. I just don't think short stories are my thing. I'm always just left feeling like "that was it?" when I'm done. But I'll take a shot at writing a little about the two I read anyway. Just know that everything I say here should be read with a grain of salt. Short story buffs may feel totally differently.

Villanova: OR: How I Became a Former Professional Literary Agent by John Hodgman (One Story #1)

The basic story is that the narrator ("John Hodgman," one presumes) is a literary agent at some ghastly writing conference and a reclusive, crazy, science fiction writer superstar, who he decides to try to get as a client, is there as well.

I picked this one for a few reasons, none of which really have nothing to do with the actual story.
1) It was story #1 and I thought it might be cool to get the first one they published.
2) My best friend went to Villanova and I spent a lot of time there. Turns out, though, the story has nothing to do with the University and only very briefly mentions the town at all.
3) I think John Hodgman is funny on The Daily Show. And he is funny in the story, too, but I'm not sure how well that translated for me. Was this supposed to be tongue in cheek? It was hard to tell.

All in all, it was an interesting story but not great.

The Duck and the Dust Eye Decision by Shahan Sanossian (One Story #37)

I don't remember why I picked this one. The title just caught my eye, I guess. And then the first page pulled me in, so I bought it. This story is about a boy from an unhappy family that has a strange medical condition that makes the world look dusty. Are the unhappy because they see the world as brown and ugly? Or are they just unhappy people at heart? The boy may have the opportunity to travel for a cure, but that would mean leaving the insular, unhappy world his family has created.

This was a pretty unhappy story, I thought, but it was really thought-provoking. I thought it was different and interesting. I wish it wasn't so short, but that's a compliment to the author.


  1. It's definitely a compliment when you don't want a story to end.

  2. Hodgman's book is really funny. If you want to borrow it, let me know.


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