Reviews: 4/23-4/30

Miniature Mysteries: 100 Malicious Little Mysteries
by Various Writers, edited by Isaac Asimov

This amazing collection was the 1981 (I think) version (there’s a 1990s version that might be updated) and the stories were deliciously ’70s. There are, as it says on the tin, 100 short stories in this anthology, making for a very big book! Stories range from two to five pages each, a good size for short mysteries. There were some mediocre ones, of course, but there were some spectacular stories in there, most of them with a darkly comic twist. I highly recommend seeing if your library has a copy. They’re great stories to read when you’re short on time or want something bite-sized before bed.

The Story of Be
by David Crystal

Ugh, this man. If I could take a class under him, I’d do it in a heartbeat. He’s renewed my interest in linguistics once again. This is a history of the word “Be” in all its forms (is, am, are, were, was, etc.). It’s a fascinating read, especially when he goes back to Old English to show you where all these different forms come from, and then shows regional dialectical forms in Modern English. He goes over a number of forms of “be” (and also explains the “he is risen” phrasing and why that’s so particular). Honestly, I loved it. If you’re a word nerd, you’ll love it too.

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest
by Sarah Hampson

This was a cute children’s book about taking things for granted and promoting peace and happiness between people. The pigeons believe it’s been too long that they’ve been harassed and forgotten and shooed away, and they’re ready to protest. This results in a day without pigeons, which turns out to be a very sad day indeed. There’s some solid history in here about the use of pigeons as messengers in wartime, and in the end they’re appreciated as they are. It’s really cute, the art is precious, and it’s a good fit for kids, especially once in cities where pigeons are everywhere.

Macbeth
by Jo Nesbo

I won’t lie to you, I got to where Banquo’s ghost showed up and called it quits. It’s a bit too on-the-nose a Macbeth retelling for me. It’s also, for my tastes, rather dry in places. The first two chapters are the hardest to get through, with paragraphs focused on raindrops and seagulls, respectively. I wish I was kidding.

Maybe one day I’ll finish it. If someone got it for me as a gift, I definitely would. But my library copy is due tomorrow, so it’s going back unfinished.

The Best Kind of People
by Zoe Whittall

This was an interesting one. Ostensibly, it’s about an accusation of rape against a male teacher, but it’s actually about what his family goes through during the accusation, imprisonment, and subsequent trial. It never answers the question of what actually happened, but it doesn’t need to. The story focuses on the family falling apart and how they survive what’s going on. It’s interesting enough to warrant a read, though I can tell you it might be triggering for some for talks about child abuse/molestation/rape.

About Fleet Sparrow

Writer, Reader, Critic, Bear.
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