Thursday, October 27, 2011

For Esme - With Love & Squalor

We pick up books for various reasons. A few weeks ago, my sister and I went crazy in a bookshop named Bookalicious, which had titles you don't often see in the bigger bookstores. After Catcher in the Rye, I had wanted to read Franny and Zooey but just never got the chance because I never found the book. That day we found it, and neatly tucked next to it, was this book, by the same author. Needless to say, we picked both up among various other books. 

Now, for some strange reason, at the beginning of October, I had decided that I'd only read horror related books for the whole month - this was after that dream about scary children I had. I only managed three -
Let The Right One In
The Shining 
Abarat (I picked this assuming it was horror because the author was Clive Barker - but it was actually fantasy. Oh well.)

I gave up on horror after that, partly because I suddenly didn't feel like reading horror anymore, and also I had ran out of books on horror and therefore on Tuesday morning, I finally started reading For Esme - With Love and Squalor. Without having ever read any reviews on it, or even checked it out online, I had no clue that it was actually a compilation of short stories. 

The book was a page turner, with most of the stories set around the war, especially the story which carries the same title as the book. Men and women smoked in almost all the stories, parents were the kind who seemed to either be non-existent, or perhaps those who were not too fond of their children (or even if they were, it was displayed in a very odd manner), children were downright strange and employed vocabulary that was far ahead of their actual age, people (strangers) had long conversations with each other and so forth. I found the book very interesting as the stories mostly required you to come up with your own interpretation of what the author was trying to convey.  

My only complaint about this edition of the book is the font size. It was painfully tiny.


  1. Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a short story in six words...

    For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

    He was reputed to have said it was his finest work.

  2. I've heard of this before... There's something really sad about baby shoes that have never been worn before...

  3. I love everything Salinger wrote

  4. I really didn't like Catcher in the Rye at all. In my admittedly somewhat limited survey of friends who have read it, women like it, men don't.

  5. nursemyra: Cool... Can't wait to read the rest of his stuff. :)

    King of Scurf: Oh... I read it in the first place because I kept seeing it mentioned. Naturally, I loved it (maybe cos I'm a woman), and I was so intrigued by the character Holden Caulfield that I wanted to know how the adult version of him would turn out.

  6. it sounds good to me.

    but the complain really makes me worry as font size is very important to me! :)


    hard cover?

  7. I used to read horror - especially Stephen King. And found it haunted my dreams so I just stopped.

    I read Catcher in the Rye so long ago I hardly remember it.

  8. Faisal: It's not hard cover... but yeah, the font size spoils half the fun. Maybe you can look for a different edition?

    LMC: Oh cool, another fan!

    SAW: I noticed horror doesn't have effect on my dreams, but they disturb my waking hours...


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