Monday, September 17, 2012

Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores Edited by Greg Ketter (ARC)

I'm not a fan of the cover though...
I think it mis-represents the book.
As you can obviously see, I'm a huge huge bibliophile. So when I saw this anthology about stories that feature a bookstore, I had to read it. However, I have fairly mixed feelings about the book. To me, the book had rather weak stories as it's starting and ending, but the middle stories were wonderful! I really really loved them. My favourite stories were:

The Hemingway Kittens: Successfully mixing kittens in a bookstore with science-fiction elements, this makes me want to grow up and start a bookstore with kittens in it! Well, almost. I don't relish the idea of having to clean up and feed kittens everyday. A really adorable story.

Lost Books: It's a ghost story (I mean, there's literally a ghost/undead person in it). But it wasn't scary and was really rather sweet. I enjoyed the idea of loving books through time and space.

Pixel Pixes: A tale with the fey in it! Well, it makes sense that such a story is here, because really, we're all introduced to fairies from books right? This was an entertaining story, and struck the right balance between the traditional fairies and the modern world.

Blind Stamped: Again, this story looks at loving books beyond the physical constraints. It appears that a lot of stories featuring ghosts like to do this. Still, I'm not complaining, I thought it was really well-written, a bit spooky at first but with a really cool ending.

Ballard's Books: Featuring a mysterious shop and a not-so-likable protagonist, this story looks at the idea of changing fate. Personally, I thought the protagonist deserved what was coming to him.

Books: Ahh, something about the addictive-ness of books. One of the creepiest stories, but very well-done. As a tip, don't read this as the last story before you go to bed. Especially if you bed faces a shelf of books. If you're anything like me, your imagination may get the better of you (;

Escapes: Another one of the books-literally-change-lives stories. But I thought it was really interesting. Plus, the author has created an engaging and sympathetic heroine, with a very distinct bookstore. I was really impressed with how the conflict-resolution plot was tightly written into a few pages. One of my favourite stories (along with the kittens)

I Am Looking for a Book.....: A parody of the 'book of power' and it has a protagonist that wouldn't feel out of place in Discworld. I laughed a lot while reading this book, and I thought it was very clever.

The rest of the stories (around 6 in total), I didn't quite understand. That, and I didn't really like the protagonists, made it a bit disappointed with the book. I think, if you're interested in this book, you should borrow it from the library first before deciding if you want to buy it. It's definitely one of those books you can read over and over again, but first, you have to decide if you want to re-read these stories.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.


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