Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory

Title: Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
Author: Ben Loory

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories / Contemporary / Weird / Magical)
Publisher/Publication Date: Penguin (7/26/2011)
Source: The publisher

Rating: Liked a great deal!
Did I finish?: Yes, in a handful of hours.
One-sentence summary: Forty short stories tackle big topics like love, loss, identity, and the meaning of life, in the oddest and quirkiest ways.

Do I like the cover?: Yes, it features many elements from his stories; the placards are featured in the book as well, breaking up the sections.

I'm reminded of...: Douglas Adams, Aimee Bender

First line: The television thinks it knows better than the family that's sitting there staring at it. from 'The TV and Winston Churchill'

Was... I totally that weird person snorting and snickering on the subway?: YES. Both commutes, morning and evening, and I tried to contain my mirth which only made my snortles more embarrassing!

Do... I think everyone should go to Loory's website and read the very short story 'The Girl in the Storm'?: YES. It's one of my favorites from this collection and perfectly captures the quirky, bittersweet feel of his writing.

Am... I excited about Loory's upcoming appearance in Boston?: YES. Expect more embarrassing fangirl pictures!

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow for sure, or buy for someone who thinks literature can't be irreverent or unusual or just plain weird!

Why did I get this book?: I'm feeling more adventurous about short fiction and I just adored the title.

Review: I had no idea what to expect of these short stories, which are described by one blurb-er as a "love child" of Mother Goose and Philip K. Dick. Exciting! Then I saw that Jack Zipes was one of the blurb-ers (is there a better, more official name?) and I was sold. (I should add I'm rarely swayed by blurbs, too, but I'm a sucker for Zipes!)

All this is to say that by the time I cracked open this book, I was expecting something a bit odd, very inventive, and quite quirky. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. This collection of forty stories tackles the everyday in the most extraordinary manner. There's a deceptive childishness to the stories, like listening to a toddler weaving a narrative together -- but by the time you get to the end of the tale, you find a hint of humor or horror or tenderness that is unexpected and wholly mature.

I shivered, I laughed, I gasped, and I sniffed.  Loory's briefest stories stung and delighted me, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to pause after each one to mull or plunge on for another guaranteed surprise.  Immediately upon finishing I made my wife read this (I literally had her reading in the movie theatre while we waited for Cowboys & Aliens to start), and I've kept my copy in my purse so I can share my favorite stories with anyone who has five minutes to spare. 

*** *** ***


The publisher has kindly offered a copy of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on this review to be entered. Open to US/CA readers, closes 8/26. For another entry, comment on my interview with Ben Loory tomorrow.


  1. First, I really love the cover. So many different elements actually blend together really well. Second, I couldn't be more intrigued by a book that is described as "a love child of Mother Goose and Philip K Dick." This one is definitely on my radar now. Great review!

  2. Jenna: I love the cover -- it's so perfect for the collection.

  3. Ooh, I read the story on his site. Very creepy and sweet at the same time, which...right. But another one with a cover I totally can't resist! Sea monsters AND UFOs? Yes please!

    empty.chords @ gmail.com

  4. Nat: Exactly!! I've reread that story about ten times, I think, because I'm all awww...wait! every time!

  5. This sounds a little quirky and unusual, which is something that I really like in my short stories, so I am quite interested in this collection. I am glad to hear that it was met with such approval from you, and I would love a chance to be entered in your giveaway. Thanks for hosting it!


  6. I saw a review of this and ordered it for my public library (waiting on it now) --- but your review makes it sound amazing! :)

  7. Oh curse you for mentioning Douglas Adams, now I want to try it :D

  8. I'm getting to be more adventurous with my short fiction reading too, and I find the cover to be quite intriguing! I'd love to win!


  9. Ben's been a favorite of mine on twitter for a while, I don't think I was ever really aware that he wrote fiction as well. Sounds fantastic.

  10. yep, I'd like in on this one too. I'd seen this on goodreads and earmarked it, but your review reminded me of it!

  11. I've heard such good things about this book! Thanks for an amazing giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  12. Oh, I've been looking for another good short story collection. This sounds like its right up my alley, especially with the TV quote you cited. LOVE IT. please enter me!

    savvyverseandwit AT gmail

  13. I'm so glad to see that you liked this one -- I've been reading a lot more short stories lately, and have had my eye on this (mostly because I love the cover).

    Thanks for the giveaway, as usual. :)

    Jessica M.
    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

  14. I've been reading short stories before bed. I find that they are the perfect distraction after a busy day. I saw this one on Shelf Awareness and drooled over the cover. Very Jules Verne if you ask me. I would love to win a copy!

    bookishchatter AT gmail DOT com

  15. I am a huge fan of the cover as well, It's awesome. I love short stories too. I'm looking forward to reading it!


  16. I read the reviews on this book. They were all raving about how good these stories were. Would love to win this book!!

  17. These stories sound fantastic. I'm so used to short storiesthat are rather bleak or grim, cut from the darker, troubling side of life. I love that Ben Loory's stories are a little absurd, creative and entertaining.
    I adored your review!

    Please enter me in your giveaway!
    Thank you!


  18. I had never heard of this book until I read your review, and now I can't wait to read it! The cover is amazing.

  19. Please enter me in the draw!

    My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. Ooh! What a unique cover!

    Thanks for the giveaway. I'd love to be entered!

    tardis5445 AT gmail DOT com

  21. my review of this is up today. I LOVED IT...thanks for the recommendation. After your review I snatched it up at the Borders before it closed for good.