#Friday56 – Hag

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold by a various group of awesome British and Irish authors – It is perfect for any folktale, retellings or feminist enthusiasts out there who want something just right for the upcoming dark nights and spooky season ahead.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


As for me? I leave the island and I leave the past, or as much as I can. Meaning: now there’s only you. So, I hope you put your best foot forward as you heard all this and, if you didn’t, you might want to have a think think about that.

The Tale of Kathleen by Eimear McBride

This book was so brilliant to read. Each author put so much thought, effort and detail into their chosen retellings. It brings a fresh, modern and diverse uplift to some truly great British and Irish folktales. You really should read it! You can check out my full, spoiler-free review here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#Friday56 – My Fence Is Electric: and Other Stories

Howdy Bibliofriends, it’s Friday!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from My Fence Is Electric: and Other Stories by Mark Newman. I was so excited when Odyssey Books contacted me directly to review this collection of short stories. It’s not often I’m approached by publishers directly so I jumped at the opportunity straight away – and I was not disappointed – thanks so much to them and Mark Newman!!

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


A rustling, a muted round of applause then, as all the little yellow squares test their newfound wings. Then there is a blur of little yellow squares around them, like blossoms falling. They are surrounded like this for perhaps a minute, then the little yellow squares find a place to land and fold themselves flat again.

This collection of short stories was so relevant and current that I strongly suggest you check it out – there really is a story for everyone in this anthology and it’s so clear to see why so many of them are award-winning. In a world filled with novels and epic sweeping series, Mark Newman has put the humble short story firmly back on the map! You can check out my full review here!


What is your favourite short story / short story collection? Do you read this genre often or would you like to explore it more? As always, leave me your #Friday56 links or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings: My Fence is Electric: and Other Stories

Happy last Wednesday in June Bibliofriends!

Short stories are an art of their own. To do it well is some achievement, but to do it so well that it becomes powerful enough to leap off the page into your bookish heart is something else entirely… It’s safe to say that Mark Newman is a master of the short story art form.

My Fence Is Electric: and Other Stories is an anthology full of award-winning stories that deal with a lot of the macabre sentimentalities of everyday human existence. Dysfunctional families are actually quite normal nowadays; we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors; many of us have parts of ourselves that we’d rather change or adapt. In places, Newman writes parables of bygone childhoods for reminiscent adults – others form as eerie ghost stories of the living – literary brilliance right up my street!


Book: My Fence is Electric: and Other Stories by Mark Newman
Genre: Short Stories
Publication Date: 18th February 2020
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Pages: 162
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

A housing estate is in shock following a child’s disappearance. A girl and her invisible friend go their separate ways. A father and a son bond over Post-It notes. A single father and his daughter have different approaches to the disappearance of their dog. A father finds his way to coax his agoraphobic son back out into the world.

My Fence is Electric and Other Stories is a collection of award-winning short stories looking at those moments in life that fizz with the electric intensity of change.


Many big themes (love, hope, freedom, conservation, illness, tragedy and change) are represented in these stories and Newman has such a wonderful way with words and descriptions; it really appealed to the inner logophile within me. Here are some of my personal favourites:

Before There Were Houses, This Was All Fields – Living in a rural area, I can relate majorly to our fields turning into building sites. This story opened Newman’s collection in a way which sets the tone for the whole compilation. The spooky imagery of the fairytale street names followed by evil and the likening of houses to skulls with their concrete breeze blocks and no windows for eye sockets was exceptional. You’re reminded that this story could so easily have been something you watch on the evening news. In a world with an expanding population and increasing housing need it’s an apt nod to what humanity has concreted over.

Little Yellow Squares discusses the way we can be talking about the same thing but really be having two entirely different conversations – all I can say is, I wish my post-it notes did what they do in this story!

We Sink When We Swim – I love the symbolism of the swimming pool in this story. The way it represents a journey, growing old, being lonely and the metaphorical way it considers what is really beneath the surface of the water and our emotions.

Butterfly Farm – So short yet so sweet. Without spoilers, I love the way the way freedom is represented and parodied between the butterflies and ‘she’.

My Fence is Electric focuses on the way we try to protect ourselves from heartbreak, I’ll never look at an electric fence again without thinking of this story.

Rosa is Red, Violet is Blue centres around our identities, how we strive to be someone different and the change we want to bring about in ourselves. I enjoyed the way the colours represented differing attitudes and personality traits.

I read My Fence is Electric: and Other Stories during the coronavirus lockdown and it strikes me as the perfect ‘stay-at-home’ book to remind you of ‘real people’ during this time when we can’t see our friends and families as we usually would. It’s a reminder that we are all unique, we all have little worlds inside our own heads, yet we are all out here on planet earth trying to survive through this together whilst being socially distanced and apart. In my own little way, the stories reminded me slightly of a bookish version of my favourite Florence + the Machine songs, probably another reason why I thoroughly enjoyed it. This collection really does have something for everyone, you can dip in and out of the stories at any time or read them through in their published entirety.

When I think of the greats of the short story genre, I often think of the renowned anthologies: Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love; Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories; Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber – I will now definitely be adding Mark Newman’s My Fence Is Electric: and Other Stories onto that list as well – it deserves its place there.

A big thank you to Odyssey Books for getting in contact with me via Twitter and providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. An extra big THANK YOU to Mark Newman for bringing these incredible stories into my life! ☺️

Even if you don’t normally read short stories, there is bound to be something for you in this collection – I would wholeheartedly recommend you read it!

Odyssey BooksAmazon | Waterstones |


What’s your favourite short story ever? Do you prefer longer short stories or short short stories? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx