Lazy Sunday CXCVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2023

Another Spring Break is in the books and I’m back to the grind tomorrow.  It’s five weeks of classes, one week of exams, and one week of teacher meetings until I’m free—free!

Before heading into the final leg of the school year, here’s a look back at last week’s Spring Break Short Story Recommendations:

Happy Sunday—and Happy Reading!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:


Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2023: “The Bottle Imp”

While visiting family over the long Easter Weekend, my mom had me go through a collection of her old books, inviting me to take whatever I wanted (with the [stated] ulterior motive of clearing out my parents’ house).  Among the treasure trove of books was my mom’s 1963 Scholastic book sale edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  In that edition are a few of Stevenson’s short stories, including the subject of today’s edition of Spring Break Short Story Recommendations, “The Bottle Imp.”

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Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2023: The Haunting of Hill House

Today’s installment of Spring Break Shorty Story Recommendations is actually not a short story, but rather a novella or short novel, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.  My copy is the 1984 Penguin Books edition, which runs at about 246 pages of text.  That seems like standard novel length, but the print is a bit large, and while there are distinct chapters, the book feels like a very long short story or a shorter novel.

Nevertheless, it’s my blog and I have decided to feature this chilling novella in this year’s Spring Break Short Story Recommendations.  It is a classic of the haunted house genre, and is a powerfully psychological tale.

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Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2023: “Barn Burning”

In lieu of the typical Monday Morning Movie Review today, I’m dedicating most posts this week to reviews of short stories (and possibly one short novella).

Spring Break has sprung, which means it’s time for my annual Spring Break Short Story Recommendations.  Spring Break is one of the few times each year where I find myself with the leisure time necessary to read literary (and non-literary) short stories, and to celebrate this wonderful format.

It seems that in our age of hyper-connectivity and bite- (and byte-) sized content, we’re either reading massive amounts of digital fast food (like this blog), or settling in over the course of many evenings with long-form novels.  My perception could be completely slanted towards my own experience—quite likely—but I get the sense that the noble short story has suffered somewhat.

(A quick aside:  for the best bite-sized writing I’ve yet to find on the Internet, check out Stacey C. Johnson‘s blog Breadcrumbs; her writing is so inviting and mysterious, and probes at the interesting corners of life.  Check out her piece “Survey of Poetry“; it’s excellent, and it’s about a mischievous [and real!] octopus.)

Even if I’m wrong about that assessment, I am right about this one:  the short story is a form worth preserving.  I have long harbored, though not acted upon, ambitions to write a collection of short stories; perhaps I’ll one day put cursor to digital paper and get the thing done.  My own incalcitrance, however, is no reason for you not to read (or write!) short stories.

All philosophical ramblings aside, let’s get to today’s short story:  William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning“:

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TBT: Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2022: “Witch’s Money”

It’s SPRING BREAK!  One of my multiple cushy, extended breaks—the primary perk of dedicating one’s life to the molding of young minds—has now commenced, which means next week I’ll be inundating you with reviews of short stories, as is this blog’s Spring Break tradition.

One story I read last year was John Collier‘s “Witch’s Money.”  It’s the tale of a haughty artist who succumbs to the ignorance and greed of peasants who think that checks are a magic source of money. I read it when I was quite young—to young to appreciate its nuances at the time—and it made an impression on me.  Don’t write a check your butt can’t cash… or, at the very least, don’t write checks in lands where people don’t understand the basics of modern banking.

With that, here is 20 April 2022’s “Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2022: ‘Witch’s Money’“:

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TBT: Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!

I released my first self-published book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, two years ago.  Two years on, I have finally released my second book, Arizonan Sojourn, South Carolinian Dreams: And Other Adventures.  It’s a collection of travel essays I’ve accumulated over the last four years, and it’s available now on Amazon.

Here’s where you can pick it up:

With the release of this new book, it seemed apropos to glance back at the release of Inspector Gerard, and all the excitement of yours portly at the time.

With that, here is 26 March 2021’s “Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!“:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Worst Films: #5: Color Out of Space (2019)

We’re really getting into the dregs with these worst movies.  This point is where it starts getting hard for me, too—it’s easy to write about any movie, but having to think about the worst ones is surprisingly difficult.

As I had to travel out of town this weekend for a late family member’s memorial service, I decided to use the tactic to which all bloggers must, at times, resort:  reusing an older post.

The film is legitimately bad, and I really would place it on this list.  So, why not kill two birds with one bad film?

Last June, my blogger buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire and I both published reviews of 2019’s The Color Out of Space simultaneously (you can read his screed against this cinematic butchering of the the Lovecraft story here:

He’d written a brief blog post comparing Nicolas Cage to William Shatner.  In it, he announced that Nicolas Cage starred in an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Colour Out of Space.”

Naturally, I immediately went to RedBox and (with a coupon code, of course) and rented The Color Out of Space on-demand.  As a fan of Lovecraft’s weird tales and Nicolas Cage’s weird acting, I had to see this film.

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Lazy Sunday CXLV: Friends, Part VIII

The cavalcade of friendship continues this Sunday with three more posts.  Apparently, I’ve given musician, actor, and international playboy Frederick Ingram a lot of screen time in Supporting Friends Friday, but all of this weekend’s friends have enjoyed two or more Friday shout-outs:

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday CLXIV: Friends, Part VII

Ah, friendship.  Sometimes it’s all laughs; other times, you’re moving a marble-topped dining room table up three flights of stairs on your day off.

Fortunately, my friends offer so much, and ask so little.  This weekend’s trio offer up tunes, stories, and pictures:

I’d move a marble-topped table for any of them, any time.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments: