Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

Another Gaiman book? Yes, amazingly enough, there are a lot of Neil Gaiman books I have yet to read and so I am trying to remedy that – one book at a time. Trigger Warnings is a short story collection with a smattering of poems throughout. There is even a small gift to those hoping for more from Shadow (American Gods main character).

If you are seeking a novel that will keep you up at night, seek an H.P. Lovecraft short story collection for this will not satiate your desire for creepy, nightmare-ish tales. In Gaiman fashion, this collection contains exercises in wordplay, experiments in storytelling, and a few stories that will become creepy after a couple read-throughs. He did not intend to scare the audience, merely to make them uncomfortable.

This is a huge task. Instead, Gaiman aimed to make uncomfortable the reader he pictured writing for and with each story we have a different reader. He may make you uncomfortable if you dislike spiders with one tale, but you may read the remainder of the stories and not appreciate anything about them. I believe it is because of this hit or miss style many people have been rather critical of this collection.

I enjoyed it. Not every story was my cup of tea, but I enjoyed the word play and experimentation found in each story. I would not recommend this to you if you are just discovering Gaiman because he has such great books to be devoured first.

-A Bookish Girl

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Midnight Never Come

A clash of historical fiction and fantasy (fae, more specifically). A mixture I was hesitant to believe could work. But after The Memoirs of Lady Trent I was hungry for more Marie Brennan novels, so I hesitated only for a moment before diving into the first of the Onyx Court series. And, once there, I rather enjoyed myself.

The story took place during a time period in England with which I have always been fascinated, the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The historical fiction aspect of this novel is well-researched and detailed. That being said, the fantasy aspect of this novel is creative and clever. This book has the best from both genres.

-A Bookish Girl

Fortunately, the Milk

Not every carton of milk saves the world.

This story of time-travel and the world-saving carton of milk made me hope that when/if I have children I could spin a tale like the one told by the dad in this story. If you are an adult, reading this book will take no time at all but the smile and joy gained from it will linger for much, much longer.

I highly recommend this for a mid-week lunch read when you need a pick-me-up.

-A Bookish Girl

 

The Graveyard Book

Gaiman has an unparalleled ability to turn the mundane into an enchanting land filled with wonder and adventure. The overlooked, overgrown, and ordinary graveyard becomes the most magical setting for this coming of age story. Despite the setting, every child (even the one locked deep inside some of us adults) will feel a connection with this story.

This story is clever, sweet, sombre, and even a bit scary. (The Ursala kind of scary, not the Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind.) Gaiman does not buy into the theory that every children’s story has to have a happy ending. However, there is always hope. And, what a message for us to keep close at heart as children, as adults, or as individuals living in this broken world; Life is not always happy, endings are bittersweet, but there is always hope.

I will read this to any child that comes into my life: mine, my brother’s, my best friend’s, doesn’t matter they all need to experience this story.

-A Bookish Girl

Coraline

Neil Gaiman proves that children’s books do not need to be dull, simple, or ordinary. Coraline is a beautiful novel about courage and strength. It is definitely a bit scary if you are a child. (It is scary like Scar singing “Be Prepared” and not the kind of scary that leads night terrors.) However, Gaiman acknowledges the scary parts through the eyes of his character and encourages the reader to be brave. Again, I find myself reading a book that I easily imagine both parent and child enjoying.

I really respect Gaiman’s stance that a child reader does not mean a happy, perfect world. Nor does it mean simple sentences or themes. Rather, he writes a novel people of all ages can enjoy and from which we all can learn. I am twenty-six and I was brightened and encouraged by Coraline’s strength and bravery throughout the novel. (I was even a little unnerved by a few of the scary parts.)

Perhaps, I admire Gaiman because even this children’s book is written with the seriousness of an author trying to share an idea: courage is what occurs when you do the right thing even when it is terrifying.

Who among us does not need that reminder from time to time?

-A Bookish Girl

Twilight Robbery / Fly Trap

The sequel to Fly by Night and perhaps a better story than the first novel, which is not something you can commonly say about any book series. The language in these novels is incredible. There is an enchanting rhythm in the way Frances Hardinge describes a scene and a character’s perspective. The climb of the novel was entertaining and action-packed, but once the apex in the story occurred, I was unable to put the book down. Every page had my heart firmly in its grip with a stubborn refusal to ever release the tension, until alas! it was the last page.

This book only furthered my adoration for Hardinge. Fortunately, I acquired a book or two more of hers during my birthday haul. I am certain, after my wedding and all, I will settle down with a cup of tea, a weekend, and a puppy and get lost in another story of her creation.

I really like that she writes for young adults but not for young minds. She is not afraid to introduce her young readers to philosophy, which makes this a very enjoyable read for both a parent and child. She brings up questions, cynicism, and morals that we all consider throughout our life and should not be afraid address with our children or ourselves. And she does all this slyly in a novel action-packed and full of twists and turns. I really feel like Hardinge does a great job of packing everything into a novel that a reader wants without overwhelming the reader with any of it.

I really, really do hope you will try her out whenever you can. Seriously. GO! Buy her book!

-A Bookish Girl

“What made a girl a damsel in distress? Were they not allowed claws? Mosca had a hunch if all damsels had claws, they would spend a lot less time in distress.” – Hardinge, Fly Trap (Twilight Robbery)

Getting Married.

Whoa!

After years of certainty that I would be that single 50-year-old, high-power career-focused woman as shown in every Hollywood film about high-powered career-focused women, I am getting married. (I am also getting a doctorate in the career field I dreamt about since I could drive: ground-breaking engine research. So, I did not even give up the career thing.)

And, I am thrilled. Super excited. Beyond myself. This might actually be the happiest day of my life thus far. Nothing super fancy; a short hike, a ceremony on our favourite hiking trail, dinner with our family and closest friends, and drinks and celebration around the firepit in our backyard.

And I just know it will be perfect.

And I cannot stop thinking about it.

Five days.