The Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde, 5/5
Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite authors and I have read (and re-read) his major works, such as the entrancing novella, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the impossibly witty play The Importance of Being Earnest. However, there were a few of his short stories, plays and poems that I’d never encountered before, so this collection was a delightful mix of old favourites and new discoveries.
Why I read it: this collection was a birthday present from my dad.
Fire in the Hole and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard, 4/5
I enjoyed Leonard’s punchy, no-nonsense writing style (distinctly American, somehow) and entertaining tales full of cool-as-ice characters, though much of it was more R-rated than I’m comfortable with.
Why I read it: I really liked the TV series Justified and wanted to check out the short story that inspired it.
The twelve short stories in this collection rely a little too much on the supernatural for my taste, but are still good fun and feature such familiar friends as Sir Richard Hannay, John Palliser-Yeates, Lord Lamancha and Sir Edward Leithen.
[Why I read it: I love Buchan and added this book to the pile by my bed after I saw a family member reading it.]
A great sense of comedic timing, a keen eye for observation and a healthy appreciation for the potential absurdity of the ordinary combine to make this collection of short stories, poems and miscellanea an entertaining and thought-provoking (but mostly entertaining) experience. My favourite story was probably “The Man Who Invented the Calendar” though “The Girl Who Gave Great Advice” was also hilarious. If Novak writes more, I will definitely read more.
[Why I read it: Book Guy Reviews’ enthusiastic write-up of this book was convincing.]