Short's Not Just For Kids

Every once in a while I get to review a short book. It gives me a break from the long ones, refreshes the parts other books can't reach, to paraphrase an old English beer commercial, and lets me feel good about getting a few more book reviews off the waiting list. Of course, reviewing a short book takes just the same amount of time as reviewing a long one. But reading it's faster.

Oddly enough, writing a short book isn't necessarily that much faster. It's faster than writing a novel, simply because the fingers don't have to fly over quite so many keys and pages. But editing short takes way longer than editing long. With fewer words, each one has to count, whether in a children's book or an adult's. With fewer pages, every error sticks out like a sorer thumb. And those fingers that typed so hard hover over the keys while the eyes hover over the words.

I'm editing my Fred and Joe stories at the moment. Each short story needs editing on its own. Then I have to check the placing, the overall arc, the question of whether Fred's younger by the end of the book than he was at the start. And then I find my brain switched off and I typed a correction filled with rhyming words instead of the words I intended. Poor brain.

Anyway, my short books for last week include two children's books and two adult romances - an interesting mix. They were all interesting reads as well, so find some coffee and choose your read:

Oliver and Jumpy - the well-dressed cat and friendly kangaroo - have another set of three stories out in 34-36. Each story has a different illustrator and a different feel, making it an intriguing addition to the collection. There's even a story of how the cat got his hat. Enjoy with some easy-drinking two-star coffee.

President Lincoln, from Log Cabin to White House, by Demi is a very different, and much more serious children's book. Bright images with a pleasing sense of space invite children into the tale, and provide a wise sense of contrast as past moves closer to present. If I were looking for a book about a famous president, this is the one I'd choose. And I'd drink some well-balanced three star coffee while reading.

In more adult fiction, I enjoyed reading and reviewing two more lunch-break e-books for Nights and Weekends:

Eternity Swamp is classic short tale of horror - I imagine reading it on a dark night before Christmas - I'm not sure why. It echoes with strains of the fiddler at the crossroads, and it's told in a beautifully smooth consistent voice. Dark and haunting - your sins will find you out in this swamp, so you'd better drink some seriously dark five-star coffee while you read.

Not2Nite has a really great title, and offers a fun short read (130 pages) to match. It's set in London, in the Blitz, and stars an American trying to organize a future while an English woman wonders about the past.


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