We read another short story collection, Things You Should Know by A.M. Homes and most of us really enjoyed it! There were some stories that we didn’t ‘get’, but Homes is a great writer, so we are looking forward to giving some more recommendations for if you liked her work.
We asked Charlotte which Homes novel was the best and she told us this would be This Book Will Save Your Life (disclaimer: she hasn’t read all of them yet). Richard is divorced, trades stock from the comfortableness of his own home and needs no one. Then two strange things happen to him that ruins his ‘perfect’ little life. He gets crazy back cramps and a large sinkhole threatens the structure of his house. He finds himself hurled back into the world and has to learn to embrace the messiness of real life.
Keeping with the short stories we’re recommending The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith. These are stories of everyday dislocation where people nevertheless find connection, mystery and love. The characters will tell you all about Christmases past, meet-cutes, former lovers and their former selves. Smith is an expert storyteller, just like Homes, making strange situations heartfelt and interesting.
A lot of the stories in Things You Should Know are about marriages having gone awry. The Dog of Marriage by Amy Hempel are nine stories surrounding similar topics, ranging from bad marriages, sexual obsession and unsatisfied longings of everyday life. So more of life’s troubles to delve into if you enjoyed Homes’ collection.
These are our recommendations, but let us know if you have any others!
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Which of the stories is your favorite and why? You can do the same for least favorite.
– What connects the stories? What themes does Homes explore?
– Were you surprised with the magical realism in two of the stories and why would they be connected to each other?
– Does Things You Should Know work as a collection?