- Title: Nine Inches: Stories
- Author: Tom Perrotta
- # of Pages: 246
Nine Inches, Tom Perrotta’s first true collection, features ten stories—some sharp and funny, some mordant and surprising, and a few intense and disturbing. Whether he’s dropping into the lives of two teachers—and their love lost and found—in “Nine Inches”, documenting the unraveling of a dad at a Little League game in “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face”, or gently marking the points of connection between an old woman and a benched high school football player in “Senior Season”, Perrotta writes with a sure sense of his characters and their secret longings.
Nine Inches contains an elegant collection of short fiction: stories that are as assured in their depictions of characters young and old, established and unsure, as any written today.
It takes a different set of skills to write short stories, to be able to write convincing, believable characters in so few words. It’s like a very concentrated drink, it needs to be strong and exact because you’re only going to get one sip to really understand the flavor.
There is no doubt that Tom Perrotta possesses that set of skills. Story after story, his characters come alive for their fifteen minutes of fame. Perrotta manages to create that feeling that we’re just getting a glimpse, that there’s a whole life before and after that will continue on without us. It’s the way short stories should be. Sound, solid, able to carry that weight of their existence, past, present and future.
Yay! Another Top Ten Tuesday! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
I’m changing this up a bit and including
- New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books
- Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013
in order to make this more interesting. Furthermore, I won’t be writing too much about each book because due to December entailing an awful lot of “summary” and “yearly review” posts I end up repeating myself a whole lot more than I’d like to. Alright? Alright.
New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books
- Eshkol Nevo – I need to read more Hebrew, and since I loved World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) I’ll definitely be looking for more good books by this incredible man. (World Cup Wishes)
- Emma Donoghue – Discovered her through Room, which is now one of my favorite books. (Room, Landing)
- Tom Perrotta – great writing, very enjoyable reading. (Little Children)
- Mohsin Hamid – (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013
- George Orwell – loved Animal Farm last year, read 1984 this year. (Animal Farm, 1984)
- Libba Bray – genius. Just… genius. (Going Bovine, Beauty Queens)
- John Verdon – my friend recommended Think of a Number to me last year, we both loved it. When Shut Your Eyes Tight came out she spent ages trying to get me to read it till in January she got it for me for my brithday and said “that’s it. you have no excuses.” Took me eight months to get to it, three to actually read. (Think of a Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight)
- Douglas Adams – To save y’all the repetitiveness, this guy is my inspiration, love, lord and savior. Basically. (Hitchhiker’s Guide Series 1-5, Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency, *Douglas Adam’s Starship Titanic: A Novel By Terry Jones)
- David Levithan – inspired my writing this year. (Will Grayson Will Grayson, How They Met & Other Stories)
What new authors have you all discovered? Do you plan on reading more of their books? Are there authors you discovered before 2013 and read even more of this year?
Back to doing my Top Ten Tuesday posts! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
I got a whole load of books when I was in the US so I have so many new books to read, not to mention I’ve realized I’m kind of behind on my attempt to cover both the 2012 AND 2013 Ecclectic Reader’s Challenges (after failing ’12). So my choices are going to be from all different genres, so that I can cover as much as I can. I’m currently reading John Verdon’s Shut Your Eyes Tight so that covers the Crime/Mystery category.
Here goes! (I’ll attach Category and Challenge Year for each one.)
Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List
- Bossypants – Humor, 2013
- Silence of the Lambs – Horror, 2012
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List – New Adult, 2013 (I really don’t get this genre… at all. It’s too abstract.)
- Brave New World OR A Clockwork Orange OR Farenheit 541 – Dystopia, 2013 (Switched 1984 over to Classic, 2012.)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Published in 2013, 2013
- The Trial OR The Little Prince OR The Pianist – Translated Fiction, 2013
- White Oleander – cousin recommended
- The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World – quit midway
- A Wrinkle in Time OR Lord of the Flies – Action Adventure, 2013 (the first will be my 1st reread in YEARS)
- American Gods OR Dead Until Dark – Urban Fantasy, 2013
Not bad, not bad. I just spent ’bout an hour researching titles and genres and learned a ton – especially about what the hell New Adult is because that category seems like a… mix between attempts at being more specific and attempts at making more money. We’ll see. Most of these books are books I’d planned on reading at some point anyway, so I’m happy I can incorporate them into my tight schedule. I have eleven books to read to complete both ERCs this year, which I really want to do because I don’t want to drag them into 2014 with me! I don’t really know how to define “fall,” seeing as in Israel we basically only have “hot summer” and “cold summer” so I’m giving myself till December 31st to complete this. I have eleven books for about three and a half months, and a few thrown in for personal enjoyment that don’t fit any empty genre categories. THIS IS GOING TO BE TIGHT. Wish me luck!
Are you guys doing the Eclectic Reader’s Challenge this year? Which books have you read? Does anyone else not really get the whole New Adult thang? Lemme know!
- Title: How They Met and Other Stories
- Author: David Levithan
- # of Pages: 256
How They Met and Other Stories is a collection of eighteen short stories written by David Levithan. This is the sdecond Levithan book I’ve read – well, you could say first and a half – the half being Will Grayson Will Grayosn which he co-wrote with author John Green.
This book is a collection of short love stories. There is no connection between the plots or the characters except the general theme – love. The writing spans across Levithan’s entire life as an author, icnluding stories he wrote in high school up until more recent ones. It started with Levithan writing a physics-themed love story in a boring physics class as a junior, a story he later gave to his friends who obviously demanded another one – and so he gave them just that. Over and over again.
We’ll all begin by introducing ourselves, says the brown-haired-average-height-has-at-least-two kids-and-a-real-estate-agent-of-a-husband-both-of-them-nearing -midlife-crisis group counselor.
Dr. John Smith, Cardiac Surgeon, states the blue eyed blond haired man to her left, followed by redheaded Professor Mary Thompson, Historian who is sitting on crew cut Sergeant Bill Miller, Ex-Marine’s right who has his chair slightly turned to his skinny-as-a-stick wife Madame Angelique Dupont-Miller, World-Famous Baker who just smiled at dressed for a funeral Judge Claire Gessler, New York Supreme Court.
Jess, citizen of Planet Earth.
How about each one of us tells the rest of the group something about themselves, the counselor continues.
Been married for thirty years, with two lovely children. I’m currently just in the middle of a new research project, which has unfortunately coincided with the new house my wife and I are planning for construction in the summer, says the blonde, slipping his hand through his over gelled hair before quickly trying to smooth it down again. Just began writing my third book about my travels in Africa along with a team of archeologists. It’ll be published alongside a documentary film that follows my month long trip, the Professor announces, her red curls bouncing up and down as she speaks. I’ve finished my active duty and we’ve just adopted three year old twins from Japan. Hopefully, the big contract we’re trying to sign on the bakery will be finalized in June, sending us all on our way to London for a three year stay, the couple describes, cutting into one another’s words and finishing each other’s sentences. After finishing law school I went on to work as a criminal lawyer, starting with minors and young offenders. Promotions led me away from that area to more high profile cases and today I work with the leading court in the state of New York. I have three kids, all high school graduates, two in the army and one studying abroad, says the daunting judge, sounding more like she’s giving a speech to a courtroom than talking to a support group.
I have five cats and one dog. I spend most of my time writing spoken word poetry and trying to remember to get milk so that I can make my morning chocolate milk and survive the rest of the day. I own 543 CDs, a type-writer and all 46 Dr. Seuss Special Collector’s Edition books with a personal dedication and autograph. My favorite food is pizza.
Who would like to begin with sharing some of our main goals in life, asks Ms. Counselor, and then of course points to Dr. Blondie, as if he wasn’t first already.
I hope to be promoted to head of my department and hopefully receive a grant for my research, he shares, and then turns to the Prof who continues with her answer. My main goal for this year is to finish my basic plan for the book and to start meeting up with the movie producers and working on the layout of the film. We’re obviously aiming for the contract and our move to London along with our children, Crew Cut and his skeletal wife declare, yet again speaking in plural and at the same time, as if they were one person with two bodies. I’m hoping I finally get the vacation I’ve been waiting for and my husband and I can go visit our daughter in Venice. Of course I also have work goals which include completing and publishing a paper that I’ve been working on for the past two years, Colorless Claire says.
I once had a bucket list but I lost it while sky-diving, which was ironically enough the first thing on the list.
Now that we all know a bit about each other, how about we all tell the group why we’re here, the counselor says, taking on her reserved-for-important-subjects tone.
Well, the combination of research and intensive work in the hospital is very stressful and I haven’t been sleeping well lately so my wife advised I should go see a doctor, funnily enough, and he recommended I come here, Doc reveals. I, too, lead a very stressful life and my sister goes to one of these and told me I should try it out myself. The trip to Africa was very refreshing and spiritual, yet very demanding and tiring, Mary explains. Adopting two toddlers at once is the hardest job on the planet, and trust me – I was in the army, jokes the former soldier. My wife’s sister said I should try group therapy. She spent a couple of years in India and since then she’s all about healing the soul. Yes, the kids and the contract with the possible move have been making my nights a living hell. Bill’s sister recommended this sort of treatment to me. Our sisters became very close since the day they first met and I guess Amelie – Angelique’s sister, Bill intrudes to clear things up – and her incessant nagging about spirituality and India finally cracked through someone’s skull, the French toothpick says. I’m pretty sure most members of the judicial system have been to at least one of these sorts of meeting before, the Judge says, the corner of her mouth hinting at a smile but not quite reaching it, as if it’s forgotten how to. Life in court is very… tough on one’s soul, she says, embracing a quieter, more thoughtful tone – so unlike her previous short and sharp speech.
I was skateboarding down the path of life when I suddenly slammed into a tree and found myself at a dead end. I then proceeded to enter the first building I came across, which just so happened to be this one. No, wait, this was the second building. I first went to the cupcake shop just down the street.
The counselor glances at the clock hung on the wall behind her. Well, guys, I’m sorry but our time is out, she tells us, putting on an obviously rehearsed sad face, once she probably flashes at every single client, hoping to convince them she really is sorry to see him go and to make them forget how many houses they had to mortgage in order to afford the meeting in the first place.
Dr. John Smith pulls out his Smartphone and glances at the brightly lit screen. I have an appointment starting in less than an hour, he remarks. Pleasure meeting you all! The end of the sentence is left echoing down the hall is he dashes to his car downstairs. I have to go prepare my class for tomorrow, Professor Mary Thompson comments, pulling out her iPhone. She departs with a cheery farewell. Sergeant Bill Miller rolls up his sleeve to reveal a shiny silver watch fastened tightly ’round his thick wrist. He shows it to his wife who says, the girls should be returning from my mother’s soon. The two go around shaking hands with everyone who hasn’t left yet, before following in the footsteps of the Doctor and the Professor. My husband’s flight from DC should be landing soon, Judge Claire Gessler says after glancing at the face of a round gold pocket watch she pulls out on a long golden chain from her front suit pocket. She gives a short wave, one that looks just as unnatural on her as the attempted smile earlier on in the meeting. The tap of her heels lingers long past her departure.
So, the counselor says when just the two of us are left. Where are you going?