Our second book club pick of the year was a collection of short stories by Diane Cook. All of these stories were a little crazy, very fantastical and heavily debatable. Not everyone liked them, but we refer to our book club review of Man v. Nature if you want to read why someone loved this book. Here we’ll recommend some further reading if you’re interested! We also have some discussion questions at the end in case you’re reading it with your own book club.
Man V. Nature was Diane Cook’s first book, so we’re not recommending something else by her. Instead we’re recommending a book that we’ve mentioned more often here, Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, which is a must-read if you like the strange settings of Cook’s stories. Get in Trouble is filled with crazy settings, weird people and great magical realism.
A book Diane Cook often recommends for anyone in the need for a good short story collection is Twenty Grand by Rebecca Curtis. Her characters—young women struggling to find happiness, love, success, security, and adventure—wait tables, run away from home, fall for married men, betray their friends, and find themselves betrayed as well.
And if you still can’t get enough of short stories with magical realism, then we recommend you’d try The Wilds by Julia Elliot. It’s a little southern Gothic, dark and humorous. With settings like South-Caroline nursing homes, Caribbean Islands and rinky-dink towns combined with strange characters doing even stranger things, this collection will entertain you for quite some time.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Are the stories too cruel? Do you find the ‘moral’ of the stories too dark?
– Do the ‘twists’ or ‘out-there-ideas’ detract or add to the stories and why?
– If made to choose, which of these stories would you want to live (read die) in?