The End of Something

You know, I didn’t think it would happen like this, but I have decided to end this blog prematurely. I know there are a number of people out there that really appreciate what I have done here in this short time, and it does not go unnoticed. I want to apologize to the two people that I have been in contact with that I was planning on doing reviews for: M. K. Grey and Borislava Borissova. You can find their websites below:

M. K. Grey

Borislava Borissova

I was going to review M. K.’s "One for All" and Borislava’s Affairs of the Heart.

By the way, M. K. Grey is the first person to ever subscribe to this blog, so kudos to her.

Also, I apologize to Ashley for not being able to do the joint review of "The End of Something" by Ernest Hemingway with her.

I apologize to Emlyn for only doing one guest post. Thanks for all the appreciation.

When I started this blog I had intended to only spend a little time with it, say one day a week doing reviews of short stories, and then spending the other six days in other pursuits. But as time progressed, more and more of my time was spent with it, and other activities fell by the wayside. As such, I have decided to end the blog now, before I spent an excessive amount of time on it.

It is the least I could do, but to show my appreciation, I have added links to many of your sites to the right side of my blog.

Who knows though, maybe I will come back here later, or do some guest posts, but don’t hold your breath. Especially underwater. :)

Thank you to everyone!

“Gareth and the New Shed” by Richard Carter #56

It is always a problem when you buy something, and it ends up not meeting your expectations. Gareth has just that problem, his new shed is like Doctor Who’s Tardis, it is bigger on the inside than the outside. He tried to get over it, and his wife had told him that it was "a very nice shed," but it couldn’t be helped. It was so bad that it was disrupting his sleep. Armed with a torch and a tape measure, he would get up in the middle of the night and measure his shed inside and out. It was always wrong, 9′ 7" on the outside, 10′ 8" on the inside. How is he going to solve this problem?

As I read this, I couldn’t help but simultaneously chuckle, and sympathize, with Gareth’s predicament. His one track mind was charming, and I couldn’t help but find it humorous. I really felt that the story as a whole had a sense of innocence that I enjoyed, which somehow reminded me of Wallace and Gromit. Maybe it is just me, but a couple of moments in this piece made me think of Gareth in claymation form. I found this to be a nice read, which can be found at Ric’s blog by clicking here. His website is entitled "Digestive Press".

Content Advisory: None

Don’t Go There! A Robblogger Look at Travel by Robblogger #55

Don't Go There! A Robblogger Look at Travel

If you want to have great reasons to stay at home, and not travel, this is the book for you. In this eBook, Robblogger discusses a multitude of countries such as Greece, Australia, and others as he tries to find reasons why he and his girlfriend should visit there. Through the use of official tourism websites, Wikipedia, and the U. S. State Department, he discusses the pros and cons of each locale. This is often to downright hilarious affect.

While Robblogger doesn’t really take himself seriously, and that his writing is done in such a way so as to engage the reader adds a lot of charm, this eBook isn’t for everyone. Its extremely funny at times, but I really wish it was cleaner. After the twentieth joke relating to sex, it can get a little old. At times I felt like skipping over the messier stuff and just enjoying the cleaner comedy instead. Of course, his humor is similar to the kind found on his website, so if you are familiar with that than this will not be a surprise. Robblogger does a good job of hitting many of the major countries, but it is a shame that none of the Asian countries, nor France, are represented here. I am sure that he could find some great material for them if he decided to do another book. Though worth the money, it is crude lowbrow humor, so reader discretion is advised. You can find out more by clicking here.

Content Advisory: Drunkenness, Foul Language, Sexual Situations

FTC Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this eBook in exchange for a review.

“The Piazza” by Herman Melville #54

Great Short Works of Herman Melville

When I moved out into the country, it was to occupy an old farm-house, which was pleasant except for the fact that it had no piazza. The was a significant detriment to my pleasure, for I like piazzas. They combine the coziness of indoors, with the freedom of the outdoors. I knew that a piazza had to be added to my abode, and so before long I broke ground on completing that goal. Looking upon the horizon from my house I see the deep meadows and mountains in the distance, and recall my inland voyage to fairy-land.

By far, this is the hardest story for me to understand that I have read for this blog. I would read entire paragraphs and find myself puzzled by what I had just read. This kind of thing happened before with Nathaniel Hawthorne, but not to this degree. It actually caused me to question my abilities as a reader, as silly as that sounds.  Up until the man begins his journey, I was confused by the majority of what I read, but I decided to tough it out to see what would happen. By the time he is coming closer to fairy-land, I was enjoying it a bit more. That is, when I could actually understand what was going on! I did appreciate the numerous references to literature, such as The Bible, Shakespeare, and others, even if the narrator doesn’t really comment on them in-depth. Finally, the ending was a great touch to the piece. Nonetheless, I think I will have to read more from Melville before I can fully enjoy his work. I cannot imagine the challenge of reading Moby Dick if it is anything like this. You can find this story in Great Short Works of Herman Melville.

Content Advisory: None

“Doodlebug” by Elizabeth Stuckey-French #53

The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa

The husband had just gotten home, and tried to hug his wife who was kneeling in the middle of the kitchen floor when she said, "I hate them." She was talking about their two daughters, Jessie and Magda. He knew that she didn’t mean it, but from her tears it was clear that she was terribly shaken. In her hands were three silver beads, all that remained of a necklace. After a few moments she begins to calm down, but the day has already been too much for her, and asks her husband to keep them out of her hair for the rest of the day. That wasn’t the husband’s plan for the evening, but agrees to help out. After dinner, he preoccupies the girls by playing Cowboys and Indians.

If you’re anything like me, you played Cowboys and Indians as a child, and one of the best ways to connect with a reader is by reminding them of their childhood. This story is as much about the husband’s time with his girls, as it is about the parents thinking about singular moments of importance in their younger years. As such, it can be enjoyed both as a story of playing a game, as well as a small prompt for the reader to remember their childhood. You can read it in The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa: Stories.

Content Advisory: None

Elizabeth Stuckey-French Website

“Joe Bugle” by Ward Jones #52

Audience Literary Journal 2007 #3

Joe Bugle isn’t the ideal family man, he is a professional killer. Not the kind who kills insects in your home, but the real thing. Like anyone else though, he’s got a family. A few kids, a wife from Kansas City, and her two deadbeat brothers that waste time in a band, among others. So how can a guy like this sleep at night? Well, he’s got mouths to feed and in-laws that need to be cared for. At least the wife’s parents aren’t suckin’ him dry with medical bills. He just has to make a livin’.

From the first sentence, I knew I was in for a different sort of read for me. I don’t watch crime dramas, and rarely read crime stories, but diversity is important, so I wanted to make sure to review this piece. Despite the subject matter, this story really only discusses Joe’s criminal activity for half of the story. Much of his time is spend discussing his family situation, and complaining about one thing or another. It is pretty much a short rant by a killer trying to make a buck. Though I don’t relate to the character, I appreciate the strong narrative voice and its fast pace. Those are the things I liked most about this story. You can read it in Audience Literary Journal Volume 2 Issue 3.

Content Advisory: Drunkenness, Foul Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Links of Interest:

Ward R. Jones Website

FTC Disclosure: This magazine was provided in exchange for an honest review.

The cover image above has been used with the permission of the copyright owner.

“Vanka” by Anton Chekhov #51

The Portable Chekhov

Nine-year-old Vanka Zhukov has been an apprentice to the shoemaker Aliakhin for three months now. It is the night before Christmas, and the orphan Vanka has been waiting for this moment for sometime. Master Aliakhin, his mistress, and the assistants have all gone to early church service, and so now is Vanka’s chance. He grabs a crumpled piece of paper, some ink, and a penholder and begins to write a letter to his Grandfather Konstantin Makarych. He is beaten by his master whenever it is handy, and the assistants tease him and make him go to the tavern for vodka whenever it pleases them. Truly, he is in a terrible situation, and with his parents dead, his Grandfather is his only hope.

If anything this story takes me to a harsher place than now (at least in much of the USA), with children being forced to work, and bad treatment being regular. Vanka’s letter is extremely touching, and really hits home how times where back when Chekhov was writing. I couldn’t help but be pulling for him, hoping that he would be safe someday. His innocence, and this story’s picture of another time, are things that make this work valuable to me. It is worth reading. You can find it in The Portable Chekhov.

Content Advisory: Foul Language, Tobacco Use, Violence

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