Reading with Robin: A Small Fiction

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: A Small Fiction, written by James Mark Miller and illustrated by Jefferson Miller!

Background Photo by Igor Kyryliuk via Unsplash

When I was an undergraduate, I became infatuated with flash fiction and microfiction. Not a fan of traditional short stories, the idea that a writer could tell a complete, compelling story in less than a page was mindboggling to me. I instantly set myself to the task of mastering this form and have since had many flash pieces published in journals and on websites around the world.

You can imagine my delight, then, when I stumbled across James Mark Miller’s book A Small Fiction: An Illustrated Collection of Little Stories. Humorous, heartbreaking, hair raising, the 280 character stories presented in this collection will enthrall and enrich the life of any reader, but especially appeal to those of us who can appreciate the difficulty in crafting these bite-sized delights. Illustrated by Jefferson Miller, every page gives you something new to think about and will leave you pondering, “How did he do that?”

I think what I liked best about this book is that each and every story in it has something special to offer – seriously, there was not a single one of the 280 character offerings in A Small Fiction that was not a joy to read. Also, Jefferson Miller’s illustrations perfectly complemented James Mark Miller’s style and tone and really added to the overall experience of the book, when it would have been so easy to have the illustrations overpower the language.

The twitter homepage of A Small Fiction

Fans of James Mark Miller’s popular Twitter account @ASmallFiction will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy consuming shorter works by writers like Ernest Hemmingway, Joyce Carol Oates, or Franz Kafka, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Pixar Shorts, Steven Universe, or Trip to the Moon, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: Fortunately, The Milk

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: Fortunately, The Milk written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young!

Background Photo by Mehrshad Rajabi via Unsplash

Anyone who knows my novel reading habits knows that I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and anyone who knows my comic reading habits knows that I am a huge Skottie Young fan. So, naturally, their book Fortunately, The Milk was going to make an appearance on this blog sooner rather than later.

Fortunately, The Milk is a delightful, imaginative romp through a world populated with pirates and dinosaurs and vampires in which one father courageously attempts to make it home to his hungry children without spilling the milk he was sent to pick up for breakfast. Written in Gaiman’s signature style and with illustrations drawn in Young’s striking hand, the book is a treasure for children aged 7 to 107.

I think what I liked best about this book is that at it’s heart, it’s a story about a father who loves his children so much he is willing to fight off all kinds of threats (even if they may or may not be imaginary) to get them what they need – milk for their cereal! Young’s illustrations match perfectly with the manic, creative tone of the story which Gaiman’s protagonist weaves and the only regret I have is that the whole thing isn’t done in equally vibrant color!

Skottie Young (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Fans of any of Neil Gaiman’s extensive writing catalog or Skottie Young’s equally expansive illustrative work will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy consuming work by creators like Terry Pratchett, Dustin Ngyuen, or Roald Dahl, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Gravity Falls, We Bare Bears, or Steven Universe: The Movie, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: The Awakening (Dragon Heart Legacy Series)

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: The Awakening by Nora Roberts!

Background Photo by Donald Giannatti via Unsplash

Nora Roberts may be the most prolific and successful romance author of the modern era. She has published over two hundred and twenty five books, writes under a handful of pseudonyms, and was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. When I was a young adult, I discovered her (accidentally) by reading her In Death series, published under the name J.D. Robb.

Until this spring, however, I had never read a book published under her proper name.

The Awakening, the first book in Roberts’ new Dragon Heart Legacy Series, is everything a magic-loving girl like me could want. Dragons, pixies, evil gods, and good dogs – the world Roberts weaves into existence in the form of the realm of Talamh has it all. It is a joy to watch protagonist Breen Kelly transform from an anxious, self-doubting young woman into a witch of unfathomable power. Readers who don’t mind a little romance in their fiction will, unsurprisingly, find a lot to like here as well, as Breen and Keegan, ruler of Talamh, circle around and towards each other, with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

I think what I liked best about this book is the exploration of the idea of balance, not just of good and evil, but of life in general. Breen is a woman of two worlds, and rather than choose between them, she seeks to balance a life that consists of both. We all have duties and responsibilities that pull us in different directions, but it’s important to remember that as long as we stay true to ourselves, we can never really lose our way.

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Fans of any of Nora Roberts’ extensive writing catalog will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading work by writers like Debbie Macomber, Julia Quinn, or Julie Garwood, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Outlander, Poldark, or The Time Traveler’s Wife, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: Hyperbole and a Half

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh!

Background Photo by Crista Matos-Albers via Unsplash

If you were on the internet in the late 2000s, you were probably more than passingly familiar with Allie Brosh’s blog, Hyperbole & a Half, and the insanely funny, shockingly poignant, and sometimes heartbreaking stories that would be illustrated and told there. These cartoon epistles were a staple of my undergrad years at the University of Washington and I remember the ecstasy I felt when I learned that Brosh’s most famous work (along with new content) would be collected and sold in a book titled after her blog.

Hyperbole and a Half is perhaps best explained by appending the rest of it’s title: “Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened”. Part autobiographical memoir, part general observational humor, Brosh’s illustrated text covers a broad variety of topics and experiences that are at once particular (the story of a goose invading her house is a stand-out favorite of mine) and yet, somehow, universal.

I think what I liked best about this book is Brosh’s uncanny ability to boil down complex and sensitive topics like depression and mental health into relatable vignettes that don’t talk down to the audience or abuse the subject material. Her drawings are simple – crude, even. But that is part of their appeal. We’ve all felt alien or out of place, but Brosh let’s us know that it’s not just okay to feel that way, but that we should let our freak flags fly.

Panel from Sina Grace’s Self-Obsessed

Fans of Allie Brosh’s original blog will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading work by writers like Sina Grace, Alan Alda, or David Sedaris, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Benny & Joon, or Inside Out, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Sir Terry Pratchett!

Background Photo by Pacto Visual via Unsplash

If I had to point to one author who has influenced me the most as a writer and a human being, it would have to be Sir Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never read his work, remedy that gap immediately. I very much believe that there is a Terry Pratchett book for everyone.

For this edition of “Reading with Robin”, I decided to highlight the first YA novel of Pratchett’s that I’ve ever read, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. We all know the story of the Pied Piper. This is the story of the rats behind the man – and the cat behind the rats. In a world filled with magic and mystery, one clever cat is just trying to make his way in a society that has all these ‘rules’; ‘rules’ that he knows how to exploit. The town of Bad Blintz has a rat problem, but no rats to be found. And there’s a voice in everyone’s head… whispering…

I think what I liked best about this book was the balance of darkness and light in the story. Pratchett is never afraid to deal with serious topics, and just because this book is YA doesn’t mean he’s about to shy away from themes like where does evil come from, the cruelty of human beings, and the price of knowledge. In the end the story comes to a satisfying and happy end, but you travel through the dark underground for a good long while before you get to bask in the sunshine.

Free Image from Pixabay

Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading writers like Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, or Ursula K. Le Guin, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Hellboy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Lord of the Rings, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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