Posts Tagged ‘shortstories’


Buttered Side Down

August 30, 2010

I’ve been on a crazy Edna Ferber kick for the past week, starting with a reread of the Emma McChesney books. Up until last week, my knowledge of Ferber was restricted to Emma McChesney, Dinner at Eight, and Giant, so I wasn’t surprised to find that she doesn’t always feel called upon to produce a happy ending, but there’s “Let’s not have a happy ending this time,” and there’s “Buttered Side Down is kind of a perfect name for this collection of stories.” Although, to be fair, the collection Cheerful — By Request is approximately as depressing. Read the rest of this entry ?


Torchy Again

May 13, 2010

I have now read all of the Torchy books, and realized two things:

1. The bibliography I was looking at is wrong, and The House of Torchy comes between Wilt Thou Torchy and Torchy and Vee, not after Torchy as a Pa. It’s important to know that, too, because if you skip it you go straight from Torchy getting married yo Vee to Torchy living on Long Island with Vee and an infant son and a French cook/gardener, and doing his work for the Corrugated Trust under the auspices of the US Army.

I kind of love it when authors deal with wars by having their series characters reassigned to their usual jobs by the Army.

2. Torchy and Vee are the best early 20th century fictional couple ever. It’s not just that they talk to each other about all sorts of things, that they laugh together, that they like each other as much as they love each other but done always understand each other. It’s also that Vee, the beautiful heiress, wasn’t even the tiniest bit reserved or distant from the beginning. And that Torchy kisses her pretty early on in their friendship (and frequently thereafter), and she doesn’t really get upset. And that they’re always touching each other–they hug, and hold hands, and Vee rumples Torchy’s hair–and it’s almost shocking, because I’ve never before come across fictional characters from this era who were so casually affectionate. It’s kind of great.



May 7, 2010

After I finished The Circular Staircase and The House of a Thousand Candles, I thought I’d continue on a Mary Roberts Rinehart kick. And I liked Tish, one of her books of stories about an eccentric spinster and her friends, but it didn’t make me want to read more Tish books. It made me want to reread Torchy.

Torchy is, like Tish, a character in a long-running series of short stories. But his are better than hers. I meant just to reread Torchy, but once I was done with that, I read Trying Out Torchy, On With Torchy, Torchy, Private Sec., and Wilt Thou Torchy and now I’m in the middle of Torchy and Vee. Read the rest of this entry ?


Emma McChesney

October 23, 2009

There are, apparently, three books of stories about Emma McChesney, a travelling saleswoman, but I wish there were more. They’re by Edna Ferber, and they are…kind of fantastic, actually. I was skeptical, and I shouldn’t have been.

Emma McChesney is in her mid thirties, but looks younger. She has a teenage son named Jock, who has both faults and flashes of brilliance. She travels for the T.A. Buck Featherloom Skirt Company, and she is almost, but not quite, too good to be true. Read the rest of this entry ?


Fairy Prince and Other Stories

August 31, 2008

I hadn’t really meant to read another Eleanor Hallowell Abbott book just yet, but I was looking at Project Gutenberg’s list of this week’s updates, and the first item on the list was Fairy Prince and Other Stories. Short stories are nice because they require such a small commitment, and I thought I would read one or two in order to take a break from Peter and Jane, but then, of course, I ended up reading the whole thing.

The title is somewhat misleading, because all the short stories are about the same family ( Mother: has brown eyes; Father: likes tulips; Rosalee, 17: is pretty; Carol, male, 11: is dumb — literally; Ruthy, 9: is a terrible narrator) and take place in chronological order. Read the rest of this entry ?


The New Boy at Hilltop

March 25, 2007

After all those Ruth Fielding books, I was kind of sick of girls, so I set out to find a fun boys’ book. I ended up reading The New Boy at Hilltop, and Other Stories, by Ralph Henry Barbour, except that I didn’t notice the subtitle at first, so I was kind of surprised when I got to what I thought was the second chapter and Kenneth Garwood wasn’t one of the characters. But it really is a boys’ book, so I’m not that disappointed.

Kenneth is the hero of the first story. He arrives at Hilltop, his new school, after Christmas, and is told by the principal that he’ll be rooming with Joseph Brewster, a model student. Ken is sure he’ll dislike Joe, and Joe is kind of upset when he gets back to school and finds that he has a roommate now. So of course they immediately get into a fight, and after that they’re friends.

Read the rest of this entry ?