30.8.13

Cephalopod Coffeehouse - Unmade by @CarolOates

I've joined a new blog group that I'm very, very excited about: The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, brainchild of The Armchair Squid.  In Squidward's own words, the idea is that "each month, participating book enthusiasts shall post about a favorite book from the previous month's reading.  Bloghop meetings are held the last Friday of the month." If this sounds fun to you too, you can join the club in the linky below.

I'm going to warn you all from the get-go that I'm a slow reader. Marry that with me being knee deep in writing a new manuscript, an editing assignment on the verge of being dropped into my lap, and all the other things I call "my life" and I don't see my book-reading rate increasing any time soon. So, there will be many months in which I only read one book, and sometimes I won't like that book, but still, I hope that sharing my thoughts even on books that I don't enjoy will make for interesting discussion within the group.

For my first contribution, I very happily get to report on a story that I lovedUnmade, a novella by Carol Oates. With limited reading time, novellas and short stories have become my new best friend. It's wonderful to be able to experience a whole arc within a short time, and this is one story that's still living large in my head even though it was only 51 pages.

I share my thoughts about everything I read at Goodreads, and these are my copied and pasted thoughts on Unmade:

Great, great story. A classic. From the very first words, Unmade has an eerie tone that gets steadily darker as you--- wait, no, I don't want to give away any spoilers. Just know that this is a beautifully-written story that had me riveted throughout, wanting to know where it was going, and where it went was highly satisfying. For a short novella, it brought up a lot of interesting themes that have kept me thinking. I'd classify it as dark NA with explicit scenes that are wonderfully and tastefully handled. 

One of the very subtle themes in the story that particularly struck me was regarding a specific dynamic of relationships---at what point does being a "good influence" become controlling behavior that discounts your friend/mate's ability to think and choose for him/herself?

I think that what I love most about this book is that it follows through on all the ominous prospects promised by its opening. I hate having my expectations built up at the beginning of a story only to have the ending fall completely flat---this story does NOT do that.  If you're hankering for a bit of soft-core horror, I highly recommend this short novella.

And now I get to hop around and see what the other CC members have been reading. Here are links to the other Coffeehousers if you'd like to join me. New members are being accepted if you'd like to add your link.

17 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Sounds interesting! I like a good, meaty novel but I definitely want to read more stories and novellas.

Veronica Rundell said...

I started UNMADE last night, but realized it was horror and put it to bed for the night. I can't read anything creepy before bed or there will be no sleep for me!

jaybird said...

I'm so happy you decided to join us!!

I also enjoy a great novella- sounds like a very good, quick paced read. I'm going to add this to my TBR pile right now. But I'll be sure not to read it before bed. :)

Sally said...

My family all call me a wimp and I will freely admit to being one. Even a well written horror as you suggest this novella is, will have to pass me by this month.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like Joyce Carol Oates too; I've read several of her stories. I like how she's able to say a lot with just a few words; that's always something I've struggled with, because I always say too much. I also found out recently that she's on Twitter, which makes me want to join so that I can follow her.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I need to read shorter stories so I can get through more books as well.

Julie Flanders said...

This sounds really good, and I've become a big fan of novellas recently because of my own limited time. I love a short read!

This is my first post with the Coffeehouse too and I'm so glad I joined. Very fun.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I always thought that Oates' work has a sense of inevitability and dread behind it.

Janie Junebug said...

I review books regularly, but I don't like to join a group that would have the likes of me as a member.

Love,
Janie

Stephanie said...

"One of the very subtle themes in the story that particularly struck me was regarding a specific dynamic of relationships---at what point does being a "good influence" become controlling behavior that discounts your friend/mate's ability to think and choose for him/herself?"

That does sound intriguing. I like Joyce Carol Oates, too, and have read quite a few of her short stories and novels ... that woman is prolific! But her longer stuff is really not as good as her shorter stuff, all in all. Her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is probably her masterpiece. And definitely horrifying.

Thanks for the review!

Veronica Rundell said...

Okay, I've finished UNMADE and, man, I liked it.

Veronica Rundell said...

Okay, I've finished UNMADE and, man, I liked it.

Veronica Rundell said...

Okay, I've finished UNMADE and, man, I liked it.

Denise Covey said...

I plan to read this one. She is a great author but at times I wish she would lighten up a bit. Novellas are my choice for ebooks.

The Armchair Squid said...

I'm just tickled pink that you're joining us!

I burn through books during the summer but now that teaching duties have resumed, I'll be lucky to finish one book each month. Fortunately, I do have a few shorter ones lying around.

So, NA is new adult? As in the 18ish crowd? That's a new one for me. Every industry has its jargon. Horror usually isn't my thing but I'm always open to a pleasant surprise. For instance, I liked The Walking Dead a lot more than I expected. I'll keep an eye out for this one.

Later Skater,
Squidward

Feather Stone said...

That does it! I'm going to have to splurge and buy and ereader. What an amazing book. Feather

Trisha F said...

Sounds like a great read. I'll add it to my TBR :)