Fiction, short story

From the Midway

Let me state right up front I like books like this, and Leaf Seligman hits all the right parts with me.  From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging is not quite short stories in that they are connected with characters travelling in and out each vignette (reminding me of Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson).  It’s not quite a novel either.  That may be a challenge for readers who prefer one style over the other.  I’m not one of those readers.  Let me be clear of one thing.  The writing in this book is just plain good.  Seligman has her finger on the pulse of speech, particularly that of the American South which has different dialects, vocabulary, and speech patterns.

The thematic setting of a midway is compelling.  There’s a difference between a circus and a midway and once the reader understands that, there should be no confusion of the subject matter and who the individuals that occupy that world are.  I love this world.  It’s full of vibrant, interesting characters.  And while their “oddities” may be the crowd draw, Seligman does a good job making these attractions the people who they are – with feelings, fears, and aspirations that are universal, even if their physical oddity is not.  We all can relate to these situations and thoughts that the characters share with us.

The challenge with creating worlds like is that it can be one note – with  everything seeming the same.  That may not be for some readers, though I didn’t mind it.  The book was a wonderful read that leaves an indelible impression.

I received an early copy of the book in exchange for a review.

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comedy, short story

Comedy by Kelly Oxford

You know that book you take with you to the dozens of daily moments where you have but 10 or less minutes to get in some reading. This is that book. Hence the worn edges and coffee stains. It’s taken me a while to review this one, because it was just so easy to read in small doses, I didn’t want to rush through it in one sitting.

When You Find Out The World Is Against You by Kelly Oxford is a collection of short comedic somewhat autobiographical stories. Each one is easy to enter and leave at will, making it a great alternative to your phone when you know you will be waiting somewhere for 5 minutes.

Oxford’s wit is wry and at times painful but always funny even when (or especially when) awkward. The moments captured are familiar or translatable to any first world middle classer. I’d recommend the ebook or paperback of this, though I imagine the audio version would actually be the perfect way to enjoy it. Oxford’s voice is the primary character throughout.