Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Short Stories

February's Short Stories (original sign-up post) (my list of 52) (challenge hosted by Bibliophilopolis)
  • Ace Diamonds "The Grey Woman" by Elizabeth Gaskell from The Grey Woman and Other Stories
  • 3 Hearts "At Five O'Clock in the Morning" by L.M. Montgomery from Short Stories 1905-1906
  • 10 Diamonds "Mr. Cosway and the Landlady" by Wilkie Collins from Little Novels
  • Jack Spades "A Day At Niagara" by Mark Twain from Complete Short Stories
"The Grey Woman" by Elizabeth Gaskell from The Grey Woman and Other Stories
  • Premise/Plot: Readers learn the story of Anna Scherer and how she became "The Grey Woman." It's a story revealed through Anna's own letter to her daughter, a letter that has been passed down through the generations. The narrators of the story take shelter during a rain storm, see a portrait, ask about it, and are given a letter. In this letter, she's confessing to her daughter--telling her the whole truth. The story has a very gothic feel to it.  This is a great read!
"At Five O'Clock in the Morning" by L.M. Montgomery from Short Stories 1905-1906
  • Premise/Plot: Murray lacks tact but gets the girl--most likely--anyway. I can't say that this story wowed me. It's not one of L.M. Montgomery's better short stories--there are so many that are GREAT. It's a mistaken identity, miscommunication, courtship story.  
"Mr. Cosway and the Landlady" by Wilkie Collins from Little Novels
THE guests would have enjoyed their visit to Sir Peter's country house—but for Mr. Cosway. And to make matters worse, it was not Mr. Cosway but the guests who were to blame. They repeated the old story of Adam and Eve, on a larger scale. The women were the first sinners; and the men were demoralized by the women.
  • Premise/Plot: Readers learn of an unpleasant house party. The guests have not had a happy stay particularly. Soon EVERYONE just *has* to know the history of Mr. Cosway. What has happened in his past? There has to be some reason, some explanation for his strange-to-them behavior. The mystery is solved when a news story is shared. The story in the paper is about a boat accident: two women and a man have drowned. When Mr. Cosgrave learns the names, well, he gets REALLY excited: almost jubilant. Mr. Cosgrave's friend later tells the guests why. You see, Mr. Cosgrave as a younger man was TRICKED into marrying a landlady. The story is cleverly told. I enjoyed it.
"A Day At Niagra" by Mark Twain, from the Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain, this particular story was published in 1903, I believe.
NIAGARA FALLS is a most enjoyable place of resort. The hotels are excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even equaled elsewhere. Because, in other localities, certain places in the streams are much better than others; but at Niagara one place is just as good as another, for the reason that the fish do not bite anywhere, and so there is no use in your walking five miles to fish, when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful nearer home. The advantages of this state of things have never heretofore been properly placed before the public.
When you start out to "do" the Falls you first drive down about a mile, and pay a small sum for the privilege of looking down from a precipice into the narrowest part of the Niagara river. A rail- way "cut" through a hill would be as comely if it had the angry river tumbling and foaming through its bottom. You can descend a staircase here a hundred and fifty feet down, and stand at the edge of the water. After you have done it, you will wonder why you did it; but you will then be too late.
  • Premise/Plot: This is a comic piece. The narrator is relating to the reader his experiences at Niagra Falls. One thing after another after another leads him to regret his visit
Here I followed instructions, and divested myself of all my clothing, and put on a waterproof jacket and overalls. This costume is picturesque, but not beautiful. A guide, similarly dressed, led the way down a flight of winding stairs, which wound and wound, and still kept on winding long after the thing ceased to be a novelty, and then terminated long before it had begun to be a pleasure. We were then well down under the precipice, but still considerably above the level of the river. We now began to creep along flimsy bridges of a single plank, our persons shielded from destruction by a crazy wooden railing, to which I clung with both hands-- not because I was afraid, but because I wanted to. Presently the descent became steeper, and the bridge flimsier, and sprays from the American Fall began to rain down on us in fast increasing sheets that soon became blinding, and after that our progress was mostly in the nature of groping.
  • But the worst he brings upon himself in a way. He starts jabbering complete nonsense to three different "Native Americans" in the gift shop, I believe. The people dressed up as Indians, readers learn, are not the real deal. (They are all Irish.)  And they don't appreciate his ridiculousness. You can't really blame them for their response, perhaps.
"Is the Wawhoo-Wang-Wang of the Whack-a-Whack happy? Does the great Speckled Thunder sigh for the warpath, or is his heart contented with dreaming of the dusky maiden, the Pride of the Forest? Does the mighty Sachem yearn to drink the blood of his enemies, or is he satisfied to make bead reticules for the pappooses of the paleface? Speak, sublime relic of bygone grandeur-- venerable ruin, speak!'

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

katenread 6:46 PM  

I read Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story" a few weeks back and found it full of Gothic goodness. I think I'm going to have to read more from her.

bibliophilica 4:06 PM  

Of these, The Grey Woman intrigues me the most, and I've been meaning to return to Gaskell lately. Hmmm.

I think "A Day at Niagara" has made an appearance in a prior year's Deal Me In challenge. I can't remember which blogger covered it though.

I continue to be amazed at the sheer volume of reading - and posting! - you manage to do. Very impressive. :-)

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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