Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Monday, July 26, 2010

Both Ways is the Only Want I Want It

by Maile Meloy
256 pages (paperback)
read via the Kindle app on my phone

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It*** About the Book ***

In this collection of short stories connected only by their Midwestern setting, Meloy looks at the lives of various people whose desires and feelings seem to conflict with themselves.

*** Why I Read It ***

This was my book club’s pick for August. I’d never heard of the book prior to it being nominated.

*** My Thoughts ***

First a bit of a rant …I had a heck of a time trying to get a copy of this book! The library’s wait list was atrocious (I ended up getting the book a week after my book club meeting) and the bookstores were out of the hardback in anticipation of the paperback coming out. Finally someone suggested that I buy the eBook – duh! Why didn’t I think of that?! So just days before our meeting I downloaded the Kindle App for my phone and purchased my very first (not-free) eBook. YAY!

Some of the stories in this book really struck me. In one story, possibly my favorite in the book, a father confronts the girlfriend of the man who murdered his only daughter. The father is looking for answers but ends up learning things he really didn’t want to know. I read this around the time that I watched the episode of Deadliest Catch where Captain Phil dies. These two stories, one true, one that reads like truth, both dealing with an unexpected death albeit in very different ways, will forever be linked for me.

There were other stories that I really didn’t connect with, stories that really bothered me. These usually had to do with parents making poor decisions that would eventually affect their children.

I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much as the only other short story collection I’ve read in recent years, Jhumpa Lahiri’s INTERPRETER OF MALADIES. Still, I’m glad I read it – it gave me some stories that I’ll continue to think about for a very long time.

*** Your Thoughts ***

Have you heard of this book before? If you are a fan of short stories, does this book appeal to you?


Tracey said...

I have read this book before and as a fan of short stories I really enjoyed it because each story wasn't so neatly packaged. I felt like there was more to each story that Meloy wasn't giving us and I haven't read any other books recently that rely so heavily on the the reader's imagination to finish a story so I really enjoyed it. They reminded me a bit of Hemingway's short stories, which I'm also a big fan of. I haven't read anything else by Meloy so I'm not sure if this book, which is her fourth, is characteristic of her other writings or not.

I posted a review over at Suite101 about it. I'll link to it from my name since I'm not sure if URLs are allowed in your comments.

Trisha said...

I don't read short stories all that often, so it's not surprising I've never heard of this. I will say that it sounds like a good read if there are stories which will stay with you for a long time!

softdrink said...

Despite the fact that I've been reading more short stories lately, I still can't bring myself to read this one. I keep forgetting it's short stories though...every time I see it in the bookstore I pick it up because of the title.

bermudaonion said...

I just had to buy a Kindle book for my book club too. The meeting's Sunday and neither the library nor any of our local bookstores had a copy. I hope I enjoy mine more than you enjoyed yours.

Andi said...

I haven't heard of this one, but I love me some short stories, so I think I'll seek it out. I might end up with the e-book, too!

Heather J. said...

Tracey – You are welcome to post links to your own reviews of the books I read – I love checking out other opinions! I readily admit that I’m not a huge fan of short stories, nor have I read all that many, so maybe my views on this book are skewed. There were some stories that really impacted me, some that disturbed me, and some I simply didn’t care about. I’m off to check out your review now. 

Trish – It was an easy book to read. I can’t say I loved it, but at least one story will really stick with me!

softdrink – We got a kick out of the title at our book club meeting … one of the girls was convinced it was going to be all about bisexuality!

bermudaonion – What book is your club reading this month?

Andi – If you do read it, be sure to let me know what you think of it!

Sara said...

This sounds like a book I will want to read. I like short stories when I'm busy, so I'll save this for the Fall. Plenty of summer reading to do right now!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Heather that sounds interesting - we have never read a collection of short stories for book club. I am actually a little intrigued by the possibilities for discussion.

Heather J. said...

Sara - Each of these stories only takes a short time to read so you can certainly fit one in between other Fall activities - great idea!

Sheila - We did Jhumpa Lahiri's INTERPRETER OF MALADIES and actually had to cut the discussion off otherwise it would have continue all night. I'm not normally a short story fan but they do seem to work very well with my book club. If you try it with yours be sure to let me know how it goes!

Tracey said...

Heather - Thanks for taking the time to check my review out. My review on this book was a little light. I was afraid if I said this is a book of short stories about average people with ordinary personal and family struggles all set in the Midwest that it might turn some readers off who might otherwise enjoy the book, because the premise does sound pretty unexciting.

I think what you should about this short story collection is almost true of all short story collections. I've yet to find a book of short stories where I enjoyed every story, or where I was moved by every story, or where I didn't like every story. I think maybe that's why I like short story collections so much (altho' for as much as I like them I don't read them as often as I'd like). If I don't like a story it's not like I've wasted days or even a week with it like I might with a novel. I love the short commitment that comes with reading short stories. If I don't enjoy a short story, oh well, I didn't spend very long reading it so I don't feel like much is lost :)

Heather J. said...

Tracey - Maybe that's why I'm not such fan of short story collections - I want to connect with the entire story, like in a novel, not just with individual stories in a collection. Thanks again for sharing the link to your review. I think you were right to include such sparse info - the premise of the book DOES sound rather uninspiring ... :)

raych said...

This Comment Is Unrelated

I will never watch the episode of The Deadliest Catch where Captain Phil dies because there is not enough Kleenex in the world.

Heather J. said...

raych - I totally know what you mean. It was handled very well, but I still cried my eyes out.

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