Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fragile Things Readalong Week 7

Another week, another story that isn't included in my edition of this book! Despite that, this has probably been one of the better weeks of the readalong as I really liked two of the three stories that I read in this section.

It's interesting as the way the book has been compiled has definitely been a change in the type of stories we are reading. More aliens and space stories than the spooky reads that we have had in previous weeks, although the second story I talk about (Pages...) does not have that setting.

In the End is the story that isn't in my edition of this book.

Goliath - Is it possible for just the last line to make a short story? I hope so because that is exactly what happened to me. I loved this story which tells the story of a man who is destined to save the world - there is humour, poignancy, twists and turns, and then a kicker of an ending line that I can share here without really even spoiling the story:
I'll die soon. But the last twenty minutes have been the best years of my life.
In the introduction, Gaiman tells us that this story was written to go on the website for the film The Matrix - a movie I have never seen. I therefore don't know what this story added to the movie, or indeed gained from the movie, but it works well for me as a standalone entity anyway!

Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Louisville, Kentucky - Phew....just the title is long enough to be a short story. Apparently this is another story that was written to accompany an album by Tori Amos (as was Strange Little Girls). Of these two stories, Pages (did you really think I was going to retype the whole title every time I mentioned it?) worked better for me. Our main character is chasing after Scarlet, and he follows her from one side of the USA to the other trying to catch up with her. We don't really know why, or why Scarlet keeps moving around, but she always manages to stay one step ahead.

My favourite line in this story was when he "spoke to a woman I used to love today, in a cafe in the desert."

"I thought I was your destination," she told me. "Looks like I was just another stop on the line."

I could just feel the long ago heartbreak in her voice, the one that is only mostly healed, but not completely!

How to Talk to Girls At Parties - this is one of the Gaiman short stories that I had heard of before I started reading this anthology. I had heard so many good things, and I wasn't disappointed! I actually loved the story of how this story came to be as related in the introduction. The idea of being so nettled that another author could come up with a good short story in 24 hours that he had to go and sit down and write a story in a short time too! Who know that writing was competitive in this fashion!

The story itself is about two young boys who crash a party, but it isn't the party they think it is. Enn is shy and finds it difficult to talk to girls unlike his somewhat brash friend Vic who seems to be much more successful with the young ladies.

You have to wonder if Vic will be in such a hurry to be quite such a player after the events at the party!

I have actually had quite a busy Gaiman week. Earlier in the week I rewatched Stardust (the movie version) and loved it all over again, and then just like last week, I did find another Neil Gaiman short story to listen to. In fact, it is fair to say that one thing that this readalong has done is made me even more aware of his name when skimming through posts.

The short story that I listened to was called The Thing About Cassandra and it was podcast on an NPR show called Selected Shorts on October 16. It was performed in front of a live audience and I have to say that really added some ambiance to the telling. It was also a really fabulous story, perhaps even one of my favourite Gaiman short far.

Next week is the last week of the readalong and while I will be glad to get to the end of the book, I might also have to go and borrow some other short story collections to take my time reading through!


  1. I've been meaning to watch Stardust again, it's such a lovely film - though I like the book even better.

    I don't think you missed much not being able to read In the End - it was very short and not Gaiman at his best, I think. I've followed your link to the story you listened to and am dying to hear it as you liked it so much.

    Pages was definitely better than Strange Little Girls - I ended up quite liking it, and the other two were great.

  2. Sorry you missed In the End. It's a prime example of how Gaiman likes to play around with myth (like he does all the time in the Sandman comics). I'll have to listen to Cassandra. Your description makes it sound great.

  3. Seriously, that last line! I love it so much.

    Also, hooray for Stardust! I watched that movie before reading the book and I was surprised at what completely different creatures they are, but I do so enjoy them both.

  4. When I was preparing for the readthon, I had wanted to include the first Sandman book from Gaiman in my stack, but none of the bookstores in town had it :(
    I was thinking of ordering it, but it never would have gotten here in time, so I think I am going to have to settle for ordering it for the next readathon!

  5. I stayed up the whole 24 hours for Dewey's Readathon, dozing in my reading-recliner about an hour and a half toward the end (around 4:00 a.m. my time). That means I slept right through the automatic posting on my blog this morning and the reason I'm here now. I'm here to tell you ... TA-DA!

    I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. To receive you award, go here to pick it up: http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.c...

    You certainly deserve it, my versatile blogging friend!

  6. I agree that the last line of Goliath really made the story!

    I didn't like How to Talk to Girls at Parties... It was good, but nothing amazing for me. I had heard of it before, too.

    And, I still can't believe how different your edition of the book is to the one I am reading considering all the missing stories!

  7. Loved the aliens this week!

    I thought "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" was hilarious. "You wouldn't want to make a universe angry."