Sunday, 3 July 2011

Heat and chills

In the first really unbearable heat of the summer in England without enough air-conditioning it's useful to have a set of chilling short stories near to hand as an antidote. A sudden rise in temperature to 32 in the last week or so all over southern England and you start to dream of chilled drinks, ice cubes and some way to get home that doesn't involve a train whose windows are sealed and no breeze. However, a really good collection of short stories, say Joanne Harris's Jigs and Reels or Roald Dahl's Someone Like You are most effective in cooling your mood and sending chills down your spine. I love a good page-turner and appreciate the pared-down craft of the short story at its best. Jigs and Reels provides entertainment to keep you agreeably chilled and amused from the feel-good 'Faith and Hope Go Shopping' to the sinister 'Waiting for Gandalf'.

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