I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton
This collection contains a fair number of the popular Pusheen comics. It has jokes about the weird habits of cats, holiday illustrations, and even a section devoted to Pusheen’s fluffy sister Stormy. It is equally humorous and delightful. And, of course, utterly cute. Cat lovers everywhere will appreciate it, but others may find themselves falling in love with Pusheen, as well. (Source: Gift) Four stars.
The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton
This short story collection contains mysteries that feature the men who comprise the titular Club of Queer Trades and make their livings in a manner which they themselves invented. Narrated by a man called Swinburne, who repeatedly finds himself caught up in adventures he cannot understand, the stories really star Basil Grant, a judge who left the bench after “going mad.” It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Basil may be the one sane man in a world gone mad around him. He believes in morality and solves mysteries by eschewing the cold logic of Sherlock Holmes and instead opening himself up to the possibilities that cannot be contained by logic. The resulting stories are equally fun and fantastic, reminding readers to open themselves up to the romance around them. (Source: Library) Four stars.
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke
Not having read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I was not sure what to expect from a short story collection of Susanna Clarke’s. However, I was immediately disarmed, for I found myself immersed in a delightful collection of fairy stories in the finest tradition. Some are retellings of familiar tales such as “Rumpelstiltskin.” Others are set in the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. One story is even set in Neil Gaiman’s world of Stardust. Each, however, has that air of coming from a long line of folklorists, told at night by the fireplace or passed down through the generations. They feel like the real thing.
Oddly enough, however, the cover bears two blurbs comparing the work to Jane Austen. I can only imagine that people see a story set in the 18th century or read a story with “old timey” language and immediately think to themselves, “But, of course, it’s Austen!” It really isn’t. The work bears no resemblance, in my opinion, to Austen’s witty social critiques or romances. There is humor here, but it’s more in the counterfeiting of language associated with old-fashioned scholars. The rest feels like traditional fairy tales, just set in a later age than perhaps we are used to seeing. (Source: Gift) Five stars.
The Man with Two Left Feet by P. G. Wodehouse
Humorist P. G. Wodehouse presents a short story collection full of surprises. From the tale of an ugly policeman who falls in love to the story of a mediocre detective who dreams of going on the stage, each work is delightfully unexpected, full of witty one-liners, and peopled by characters who can’t help but grab the readers’ interest. Bertie Wooster also makes his first appearance here, making the story of special interest to fans of Jeeves and Wooster. This is just the type of work to lift your spirits and make you hunt for more Wodehouse immediately. (Source: Library) Five stars.