|Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link|
I often shy away from short story books as I find them frustrating. I think it is the feeling of losing characters too soon, just as I get to know them. Sometimes they are worth the extra effort your brain has to make when reading them - and you do get a lot of narrative for you money with a good book of short stories.
The tales in this book are, straight up, the best short stories I have ever read - and I am including Neil Gaiman in this - the storytelling extraordinaire himself. I am almost at a loss as to why this book of short stories is so much better than its contemporaries, although the book as a whole is as well written, original and memorable as you might expect. This book has something...extra, something that makes it stand out - I think it made me feel like a kid again, and was just about scary enough to remain comforting - like reading with a torch underneath the duvet at bedtime. The stories are weird yet wonderful, and laconic yet thought provoking - I have recommended it to pretty much all comers since I read it.
Apparently the book is aimed at teenagers but it didn't read too young for me - rather just made me feel like a teenager embracing reading for pleasure for the first time.
|Book illustration by Shaun Tan|
Read this book if: you want to feel like a kid again/you have missed reading/you forgot what reading for favourite book for the first time felt like/you want a book both you and your kid will love/you like a bit of a thrill with your bedtime reading/you like a hint of chilli in your chocolate/your inner emo needs feeding.