Short Bites: Peep Show

Another story in Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, “Peep Show” takes us on a reflective journey.

In a weak and impulsive moment, a man takes a detour into a strip club. He knows he shouldn’t, but, heck, we are all entitled to make our own mistakes, so let him God. The man buys five tokens even if he’d only intended to see one show. Right. Well, I don’t think the main character enjoyed the four other peep shows that followed, but I did.

As always, Nathan Englander provides us with a lot of detail that it’s easy to visualize the story, the peep show. The first one wasn’t very surprising, and I was wondering what on earth I was getting myself into, but then the four others that followed were out of this world, and I needed to see how it ended. I’m not sure I would ever want my own peep show, but from an outsider’s point of view, that was one hell of a show. I can appreciate.

Short Bites: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” (the title story of this compilation) is about the generation(s) of Jewish Americans that grew up after the holocaust. For the most part, they’d lived generally worry-free lives, with some members of the generation eventually moving “back” from the US to Israel.

Speaking of US and Israel, this story does touch on some differences in culture between those in the US and in Israel. While those difference may exist in the details, some things, such as love and family, are universal.

Nathan Eglander spent the first part of the story creating context and building out this little world. Yes, it can get a little specific, but this story focuses on the universal things—things that anyone regardless of race and religion can relate to. While you need to know of Anne Frank and of the holocaust for context, the question asked at the end of the day is quite universal: do you trust your neighbors?

Short Bites: #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere

I love Twitter threads. These can be especially funny when someone live tweets a strangers’ intriguing conversation at a coffee shop (think: Titas of Manila style). If the live tweeter is munching on popcorn, we can join in, too.

In “#connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere,” Seanan McGuire brings a haunted house to life through @boo_peep’s tweets. (@boo_peep and the crew have an accompanying live stream as well, but we readers are content with the tweets.) McGuire shows us how to rock a good story using an alternative medium.

I absolutely loved this story. Can someone please give Seanan McGuire a thousand gold stars for story, style, and execution? Thanks. But please don’t bother me again with ghost stories because no one’s home, and I’m done, done, done with scaring myself. Yet here I am still seeing What the #@$% is That? through… (See Those Gaddam Cookies and Little Widow for other short stories in the collection.)

PS: Earlier this week, I saw a copy of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame, which I would have purchased earlier if not for my self-imposed book buying ban. If you’ve read it already, let me know how you liked it!