Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Book Review: Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores

ARC From Netgalley
Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores
Edited by Greg Ketter
Introduction by Neil Gaiman
4 stars


Bookstores are the greatest places on earth, yet there's never been an anthology devoted just to them. Here are sixteen stories, fourteen original to this anthology, each of which includes a bookstore at its core. Science fiction, fantasy and horror. Authors included are David Bischoff, P.D. Cacek, Ramsey Campbell, Charles de Lint, Marianne de Pierres, Harlan Ellison, Rick Hautala, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Gerard Houarner, John J. Miller, A.R. Morlan, Lisa Morton, Melanie Tem, Patrick Weekes, Jack Williamson, Gene Wolfe. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. Cover art by John Picacio.


Anyone who knows me knows I love books and bookshops and here we have an anthology where the bookshop is the setting for each of the stories. All the stories are different, but each have an element of the fantastic. They range from SF, to Horror, to fantasy to some with a fairy tale feel. From stories set in Nazi Germany to stories with kittens who can read. As with any anthology, you tend to prefer some stories over others, but all of them are good here. One of my favoruites was The Hemmingway Kittens, even though I'm not really a cat person, but they were just so cute. I didn't even know they were an actual breed, so I learned something too.

This is a great collection for anyone who loves books, it would make an ideal gift for a bibliophile. My one niggle is to do with the editing - some typos and the wrong words used take you out of a story very quickly. Things like 'an' instead of 'and' for example. But still a good read.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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