Sunday, December 1, 2013

Strangely Funny - Sporadically Entertaining (#bookreview)

As we enter into the final month of 2013, I find myself with a towering review pile, one that's dogeared and bookmarked with titles that have been lingering on that strange and dusty shelf between 'read' and 'did not finish'. Some are books that keep getting nudged aside by tour-date commitments, while others are titles I'm reluctant to cast aside altogether, but which haven't quite managed to 'hook' me and demand that I keep reading.

This is one of those titles I've had sitting on the table behind the couch, waiting to be picked up for the occasional read between innings (go, Jays!), periods (go, Sabres!), or commercials (go, Grimm!). It's been something of a struggle to keep it from the DNF pile, but it seemed like every 'one last story' was just strong enough to keep me reading.

Strangely Funny is certainly strange, but I can't say that I found much of it genuinely funny. Some of the stories were mildly amusing - in a smirk and a smile kind of way - but I can't say any of them had me laughing out. Humor is incredibly subjective, so I have to give Sarah E. Glenn credit for the variety of stories she's compiled here, but none of them really struck my funny bone. While many of them didn't work for me, there were some standouts that I would be remiss in not highlighting:

"Criticus Ex Machina" by Sarah E. Glenn
"Jake Blossom, Pixie Detective" by Ken Macgregor
"A Proper Job for a Lady" by Gwen Mayo
"Tommy and the Trolls" by James McCormick
"One Scareful Owner" by Catriona McPherson
"I Must Be Your First" by Paul Wartenberg

The stories are arranged in alphabetical order by author, so you can get a sense of just how long the dry spells were. I'd have to go back and count, but I believe there were 7 or 8 stories before striking gold with Glenn's own tale, and another half dozen weak entries followed. I had thought we'd hit pay dirt with 4 fantastic stories in a row, but the dry spell after that mini-run was even longer. Fortunately, Wartenberg swooped in to save the day (and a certain Slayer) with a great penultimate entry in the collection.

Awkward and uneven, and certainly more odd than funny, Strangely Funny is a collection that certainly had its strengths - it just contained, for me, too much fluff in between.


Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Mystery and Horror LLC

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