Since I missed the last Top Ten Tuesday and the next one will be taken by the Author Toolbox blog hop, this TTT is going up now so you can pick it up any time you go by. It might even be on a Tuesday.
The tag started on The Broke and The Bookish all the way back in 2010, but now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s one of the bigger blog hops I’ve found for the bookblog world and I super recommend checking out some of the old lists. They’re a lot of fun, and there are so many good book recommendations that reading the posts will make your TBR scream at you (always fun).
This week it’s all about our favorite novellas/short stories and I’m stoked for this one. Short story collections are one of my favorites. They’re perfect for when you want to slip into a new world and then slip out again without using up days and days worth of time. Read a story or two, then break for chores. Read another story, make some food for the tiny hoomans. The very best short stories are so engrossing that it’s like you just read a full-size novel, anyway.
Night Shift, Stephen King
These are the King’s older stories (1970-1978ish) and you can tell. His characters are complete, the terror is driving, as always, but the endings lack even that tiny bit of light his later work has. Unhappy endings and gore, galore. (I’m sorry for that. I couldn’t resist.) Children of the Corn is much scarier as the story than as the movie, by the way. Roughly half of the stories from the book were made into movies, including “The Lawnmower Man” “Graveyard Shift” “The Mangler” & “Sometimes They Come Back”.
Skeleton Crew, Stephen King
Also 1970s and a few 1980s stories from the King, which means they’re also earlier in his career and a tad darker than his longer work can be. Less movies made out of this group, which is just as well, because there’s one story in particular (“Survivor Type”) that I REALLY don’t want to see on the big screen. *Shudders* These stories stick with you, to come back just before you get to sleep (“Gramma”!).
Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King
The stories in this collection are unique in that not much supernatural horror is going on. Usually King has creeping tension, rich atmosphere, horrifying acts, visceral gore, sympathetic characters, and some sort of screwed up supernatural thing driving it all. These have everything except the monster, because the characters (those sympathetic ones, remember) *are* the monsters. They are normal people, doing deeply unsettling things, making you wonder . . . what if? I honestly gave strangers a heavy dose of side-eye for months after reading this collection. Especially “Big Driver”. Multiple trigger warnings, for “Big Driver”.
The Bachman Books by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)
I was lucky enough to find a copy at my local used bookstore that includes “Rage”, which has been taken out of most printings since the Columbine, CO school shooting. I understand why, and I applaud King’s decision, but I was glad to get the chance to read the story myself and make up my own mind. And I’ll always be grateful I got the book, just because it has “The Long Walk” in it and that’s a story that will stay with me forever. “Roadwork” was the weakest, for me, while “The Running Man” was basically the Long Walk with more drugs and guns. Still an enthralling story, I just fell deeper into the world of the Long Walk.
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, Edited by John Joseph Adams
Just like the title says, it’s a curated collection of short post-apocalypse stories by some pretty well-known authors. They range from amazing to meh, like any other story collection. The short by Stephen King (“The End of the Whole Mess”) was great, of course, but it was also fun to see that George R.R. Martin can turn out a good, concise thriller without introducing a zillion characters (“Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels”). Other favorites were “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” by Cory Doctorow, and “Speech Sounds” by Octavia E. Butler. It’s a bleak collection and I had to take it a few stories at a time, broken up by lighter reads.
The Novellas, by Kealan Patrick Burke
This one is a “want-to-read” because I’ve heard such good things about Burke. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s an Irish author who piles on the inventive horror. He’s pretty funny on social media, too. This collection is supposed to showcase his deft characterizations, and of course have a good spattering of gore in it too. I’m really looking forward to it.
That’s only six books (I am totally failing at both “top ten” and “Tuesday” this time) but it’s getting a little wordy. And I’d love to hear some recommendations! Are there any short story collections you love that I should read? I’m very much in the market for some new ones.