Previously, on She Made Me Do It...
Flannery challenged Tatiana to read:
Verdict: Coincidentally, I liked Flannery's recommendations in the order the appear above - from the best to less... best.
Iphegenia in Aulis was the best for me. It was such interesting twist on a familiar trope! I won't mention which trope, not to spoil things, but this paranormal story was awesome (much better than the Sookie short that was in the same collection) and probably the best work of fiction about this particular type of creature.
I enjoyed Y as well. One day all male species die out and the MC is the only surviving man. How will this women-filled world function? I didn't agree with all the extrapolations Vaughan came up with in this comic, and yet it was entertaining. I will eventually read the rest of this series.
Finally, Address Unknown. I definitely wasn't as impressed by it as Catie and Flannery had been, but to be fair, it's hard for me to be impressed by a Nazi story (I had been raised on WWII books and movies), but I appreciated the clever twist.
Great picks again!
Tatiana challenged Catie to read:
Verdict: I can credit Tatiana with introducing me to two new favorite authors this month, as I adored both of these collections. I haven't read the entire Ted Chiang yet but I'm working my way through steadily (and out of order, for some reason). Hell is the Absence of God is the absolutely frightening story of a man who lives in a world where visitations from terrifying and destructive angels are an everyday occurrence. Heaven is populated by those who believe in God; whereas, hell is quite a bit like Earth – only without all the hindrances of corporeality. When the main character loses his beloved wife, a believer, he as a non-believer struggles to reconcile his desire to see her again with his complete lack of faith. The ending is a bleak punch to the face look at the darker side of absolute faith that left me feeling sick and cold. In other words, I absolutely loved it. Chiang’s other stories (the ones I’ve read so far) are likewise brilliant – he writes hard science fiction with an emphasis on the hard. I would recommend his writing to those who love Ursula K. Le Guin or Bernard Beckett.
Too Much Happiness was just genius from start to finish; although, I must say that Wenlock Edge wasn’t my favorite in the collection. Munro has a very quiet, understated way of writing that seeps into you and makes you feel more and more uneasy. It’s that feeling of standing in a completely bland, normal looking room and just knowing that somewhere, something is terribly off. She is an expert in building quiet tension and although her stories don’t often end with fireworks, they leave a definite mark. My favorites in the collection were Dimensions, about a woman who can’t seem to separate herself from her abusive husband and Deep-Holes, about a mother who constantly undermines herself for her husband and children.
In conclusion, my main verdict is this: Tatiana has impeccable taste. Thanks for another great round!
Catie challenged Flannery to read:
Verdict: Fade to White is the first of Valente's work I've read and it certainly won't be the last. I've already recommended this story to several more readers. I could absolutely picture every part of it as a movie. I WISH IT WAS A MOVIE. My heart broke for one of the characters and in such a short piece, that is a feat. I liked Valente's style, particularly the way she describes things and how her characters interact. Black Step I didn't like as much, but I think part of that could be that I wanted it to be a story by Ron Rash, one of my new loves. There were several images in the story that I loved and I am still thinking about it a few hours after completing it, which is always a good sign. Catie is right that this author and collection are good recommendations to people who enjoyed Rash's Nothing Gold Can Stay. I definitely plan on reading the rest of this collection, though I think I might enjoy Woodrell's work even more in audio format. There's something about these dark, depressing tales that lend themselves to audio performance. I suppose it is the way each of them feel like a character telling a short story--it feels like oral history. I wanted to read Squirrel Meets Chipmunk but just didn't make the time this month. I will eventually, though! Thanks for the recommendations, Catie!