Why I Like Short Stories

Why I Like Short Stories

I’ve been interested in reading and writing since I was a little kid, and my go to type of book to read was a nice long chapter book. The thicker the better.

My philosophy was, the thicker it was, the more time and effort were put into it, therefore the book must be good right?

Well that’s not completely wrong, but it does have its faults. Just because a book is long, doesn’t mean it is good, but I would say a majority of them are.

What I didn’t realize until the last few years, is that short stories and anthology series really good. I read them in high-school and university, but they’re usually pretty bland and full of symbolism, plus schools rarely ever pick good reading material.

I didn’t mind short stories usually, but they weren’t my favorite thing, until recently. I’ve read a handful of short stories over the past few years, and I’ve really enjoyed them.

Usually a book with a more fleshed out story is better, because they have answers to all the questions and all of the story lines typically end some how.

What’s to complain about in that case? I’m getting the complete story, I should be happy about it.

That’s true, at least in my opinion, but there is another truth that goes along with it. Just because you don’t get the full story, doesn’t mean the story isn’t good.

There is some sort of magic that comes with creating your own story, or finishing a puzzle, and I think that’s something that short stories inspire in people.

They let people fill in the remaining pieces of the puzzle they started, and give people a chance to finish the story how they want it.

If a short story is done well, it tells just enough of a story to satisfy your needs, but not a complete enough story that it gives you all the answers.

It finds the fine line between mystery and answer. Giving you the steak, and you bring the potatoes.

It’s a near magical thing, creating a short story that makes the reader want more. I put the success of short stories up to a test. If a short story is done well, I imagine at least a half dozen different things that could happen in that story.

If a short story is done well, I go looking for more content from that world, author, or anything, just to help me finish it.

If a short story isn’t done well, that’s all there is to it. The story ends at the last word. There’s no wondering what happened next, there’s no finishing the puzzle. The story lives and dies in its own pages.

You might be thinking that you haven’t read a short story that was good, or maybe you haven’t read one that was bad. Either way, everyone has their opinions.

I’ve read a few short stories that fall into both categories, but its the ones that I crave more of that made me fall in love with short stories.

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Book Review: The Book Thief

Book Review: The Book Thief

When I think back about this book, I can honestly say that there are no happy memories that come to mind. From how I recall The Book Thief, it’s similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events–it’s just miserable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book as a whole. I thought it was fantastic, but there weren’t any moments that I genuinely remember being happy about it.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I started reading it, but I really enjoyed the suspense and the drama that came from it. 

If you’ve ever read the book, you’ll remember that there is a very interesting narrator–Death. Yes death is the narrator of the story, and because this is World War Two, you can imagine how busy he was collecting the dead. 

Death foreshadows constantly throughout the story, so we know a bit about which of the characters will die. I think Death’s perspective adds to the building suspense through the story. 

You might assume that Death being a narrator can be sort of intimidating. I mean he’s Death, why wouldn’t his POV be dark and greusome right? 

The truth is, Death was one of the brigher parts of the story. He was a ray of sunshine through some of the darker moments. 

I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.


The Book Thief is also a bit of a different view of the Holocaust, because it focuses on a little German girl, Liesel, who is living in Hitler’s birthplace.

And the character growth, in my opinion, is remarkable. There are many characters that we hate throughout the story, only to love them by the end. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you haven’t read it yet. It’s technically considered a YA book, but I think it has more impact the older you are.

I will give you a fair warning though, if you want a fast read, this book isn’t for you. It’s a bit of a grind at times. You’ll feel like your clawing your way through mud, but that slow crawl adds something to the story. It adds a sense of accomplishment and connection to the entire story. 

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I’m not one for re-reading a book, but this one is on the short list for books I plan to re-read in the future. 

I have never met someone, or found a single review that has said anything against The Book Thief. Many people state it is a modern classic. It is truly a remarkable book, and I will firmly recommend that EVERYONE should read this book if they call themselves a book lover.  

I started a podcast!

I started a podcast!

Since becoming a communications student, I have fallen in love with the idea of sharing my thoughts and opinions on different topics for everyone to see or hear.

I started this blog as an assignment, but went above and beyond what the assignment required me to do, and I have now taken to keep updating the blog, even after school has ended for the year.

It’s a lot of fun. I like sharing my thoughts and opinions, and in doing so, I have had so many great discussions about books, movies or TV shows, and I wanted to keep doing it.

I have my opinions on things, but so often, I find my opinions being influenced by other people’s when I discuss it with them, or other people have an opinion that I had no idea about. Hearing other people’s opinions is something I enjoy doing, and I thought giving my opinion might help other people.

That’s why I wanted to start a podcast.

Podcasting seems like the perfect platform to discuss a certain topic, and the idea of starting one has interested me even before becoming a communications student.

I haven’t released any episodes yet, but I have recorded a few. They’re not great, but they’re a good stepping stone to be sure, and I hope to keep making better content for any listeners that I might have in the future.

The podcast is called The Winespring Inn, and it is about The Wheel of Time. I love the books, and since the books are being adapted into a TV show, I figured it would be good subject matter to start talking about.

Currently, it’s just me, myself, and I, which kind of sucks, because I would like a partner to talk to on the Podcast, but I’m okay with going solo.

I’m going to try to get episodes out every week, but I’m not going to promise that because who knows? I might be busy.

The idea of the podcast will be more of a discussion/encyclopedia type. I’ll discuss certain topics, but also give a sort of encyclopedia entry on different aspects of the series. Whether it is locations, people, weapons, or various other things, The Wheel of Time is a massive book series, and it can be pretty confusing.

But yeah! I started a podcast, and I am pretty excited about it. Look out for it this weekend!

What would happen if we couldn’t tell stories?

What would happen if we couldn’t tell stories?

Alexis Wright wrote a wonderful piece about what the world would look like if there weer no stoies, and the systemic weaponization of silence.

I definitely recommend taking a look at the article. it’s an eye opening read.

What would happen if we couldn’t tell stories?

 

Solve It Sundays: Bodies in Motion

Solve It Sundays: Bodies in Motion

So before I get into the puzzle, I wanted to introduce a new segment I wanted to start. I bought a book a few years ago called Einstein’s Puzzle Universe and I really enjoyed trying to solve the riddles, and I thought some of you would too.

Now you’re probably thinking, OH, it’s Einstein, there’s no way I can solve his riddles, he was a genius. Well that may be true for some of the riddles, but most of them can be solved with a bit of applied brain power! Good luck with them, and let me know what you think, or if you think you know the answers, let me know!

I WILL ADD THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, SO DON’T SCROLL DOWN THERE IF YOU DON’T WANT THE ANSWERS.

We are used to the idea, that it is possible to sit still, and pass time in a motionless manner. But this amazing planet of ours is very far from static. At all times, we are hurtling through the gulfs of space at astonishing velocities.

It may seem to casual thought that from the Sun’s viewpoint, all of Earth’s population is moving at the same speed. After all, our planet revolves around it at a steady 30km per second – anticlockwise, if we are looking from above the North Pole. However, there is another factor to consider. The Earth spins on its axis as it rotates, at a speed of around 28km per minute, if you are at the equator.

You know, of course, that from the surface of the planet, the Sun appears to rise in the east. So, are you moving more swiftly during the day, or at night?

I’ve found the best way to solve some of these puzzles is to imitate them, at least to a certain extent. Obviously you don’t have a planet in your back pocket, but I’m sure you have a few roundish shaped objects laying around you can use.

Let me know in the comments if you figured out the answer, and remember, DON’T SCROLL PAST THIS UNTIL YOU’VE SOLVED IT, OR HAVE GIVEN UP. Spoiler warning below.

Type it Out Tuesday: April 30

Type it Out Tuesday: April 30

I’m back again this week with another writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. I hope you all enkoy them.

I really enjoy the ones this week, and I think you will too. As always, I’d love to hear some ideas you guys have.

#1: Turn one of the last texts you sent into a story.

#2 Add an original scene to the last movie you watched.

#3 Write a letter to your 14-year old self

 

Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

A century before A GAME OF THRONES, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros…

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: George R.R. Martin

Continueing with the Game of Thrones theme that has been so popular lately, for whatever reason, this week I decided I’d review A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a prequel “series” to the main storyline.

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Having read the main series before I got a hold of this, I had a basic understanding of some of the characters in the book.

What I really enjoy about the supplementary Game of Thrones books is that there is usually some really nice artwork to look at while you read. There is some artwork in this one, but not as much as I would prefer, and msot of it is sketches.

I read it probably three years ago now, and I still remember some of the moments in the book because of how cool they are. I remember tjere was one about Duncan, or Dunc, who is the main character of the book, and he is tried for a crime, which causes a trial by combat.

After the combat, which his team had one, multiple royal family members and Kingsguard members were left dead, all because they defended the innocence of some random guy, who was really a sorry excuse for a knight. His main feature was just finding Egg, and guiding him around the world and keeping him out of trouble.

Dunc and Egg make a wonderful pair, and become life-long friends because of the events in this book. Ser Duncan is not only a knight in name, but also one in deed. This is something increasingly rare in the seven kingdoms. There are few true knights and even fewer when the events of A Song of Ice and Fire take place.

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Dunc is a strong and honorable knight, but isn’t all that smart. They call him “thick as a castle wall,” but that’s where Egg comes into play.

Egg is still a boy, though he has a fully developed mind that even the Maesters shall envy. He tempers Ser Duncan’s wrath, guiding him to choose the best course of action. Indeed he has the mind that Duncan lacks. However, for all his intelligence, he still has a whole world to see and understand; he still needs to develop his wisdom.

By being Duncan’s squire, he gets to see honour and decency; he begins to understand how people work, and how best to defeat them; he learns that it can be achieved through words as well as deeds.

The two embark on some interesting adventures. Their first (The Hedge Knight ) is by far my favourite. It depicts the pair’s first meeting, and they discover how important them coming together was. Dunc changes the fate of the Seven Kingdoms. The two only met by chance. Their actions lead to the altercation of who is to be the next King. So, it’s all rather far reaching stuff. The second story ( The Sworn Sword) didn’t quite work for me and felt a little flat in all. The third ( The Mystery Knight) made up for it, though, with its character defining moments.

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Overall they are all a short read, but nontheless are fun to read, and if you are a Game of Thrones fan, they are a necessity.

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