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13 Ways: Illustrated Stories Paperback – September 27, 2013
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
"All of the pieces included within this book can easily be considered touching and memorable, but the real gems are 'Taking Flight' and 'Side Effects', one story to represent each of the authors' major strengths... they both succeed at capturing the imaginative spirit with the words they write on the page, constructing phrases that evoke enthralling emotions ... these authors really take pride in crafting an entertaining story... Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and all will make you wonder about this life and why things are the way they are..." - Red City Review
About the Author
td Whittle and Sandra Peterson Ramirez have been friends for most of their lives, although they live in separate hemispheres these days. Between them, they have had dozens of small jobs and a couple of full careers, including working in restaurants, retail, bookselling, publishing, tech support, computer programming, electronics assembly, and family therapy. Both have been avid readers and book collectors since childhood. "13 Ways: Illustrated Stories" is their first published collaboration, under their new imprint Thirteen Ways Press. More of their writing and photography can be found on their website, Like Telling the Truth.
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Top customer reviews
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Two authors with two completely different styles collaborate to make one terrific and imaginative book. Beginning with a single photo, they explore every style from sci-fi to grit to comic; and while the stories are thoughtful and poignant in their right, what makes the whole collection so unique is that it's accomplished in a refreshingly (revolutionary?) "traditional" manner: through creativity and strong characters. There is no "experimenting" evident here as each of the authors arrives with a confident and experienced voice to tell you a great story.
A few of the stories had me laughing out loud and one of them had me wiping a tear from my cheek (of course, that may be because I'm such a sensitive guy...). And without hyperbole, I could have easily mistaken "Someone Like You" for a Vonnegut tale recently found tucked in the back of a desk somewhere (minus the cynicism).
This is how you write short stories. I am a better reader and a better writer for having read it.
I did not like them all equally. One rarely does when reading a collection of short stories. Yet there were several that I found truly outstanding. They not only left a lasting impression; they had an impact that I call mind-expanding. What more can you gain from a piece of literature?
Most of all, I was impressed and moved by the story “Sunset at the Hyatt Regency”. It is clearly one of the two best short stories I have ever read in my life. (The other one is by James Clavell. I read it decades ago. It was about a woman dying in the rubble of a bombed house in Berlin, and while this story is branded into my memory, I do not remember the title.)
There is so much more to say about “Sunset at the Hyatt Regency”. It is a remarkably nuanced story, psychological and philosophical on different levels. I consider it THE perfect short story. It would lend itself well for a book club discussion.
My other favorites were “Traveling Heart”, “Last Kiss”, “Someone Like You“, “The Offering”, and “Home”. I was particularly impressed by “Traveling Heart” and “Last Kiss”. The characters in these stories, their actions, and their way of (wishful) thinking are so true to life. (I have met people like these protagonists.)
I also liked the other stories, all of them finely chiseled and psychologically founded.
The only story I did not like is the one titled “Cake”. However, this is not at all the author’s fault. The reason I did not like this story is that it brought back very personal and hurtful memories.
The only negative I can say about this short story collection is that a few of the stories could have been a bit shorter, at least, for an impatient reader like me. However, since Amazon defines a 4-star rating as "I like it" and a 5-star rating as "I love it", I'll rate this book 5 stars because I can truly and honestly say that I love it. If all the stories were like “Sunset at the Hyatt Regency”, “Traveling Heart”, and “Last Kiss”, I could not but rate the book 10 stars, regardless of whether or not Amazon allowed it.
I would also like to mention the included photographs, taken by one of the authors. It were these photographs that initiated the authors to let their fantasy browse and come up with the stories of this book. These photographs are of high quality, and some of them are pieces of art.
For a more literary evaluation of this book, please read Ian Heidin-Seek’s review on Goodreads. He is more literate than I am, and he related to the literary aspects of these stories much better than I would be able to. Here is the link:
There are indeed multiple ways to perceiving reality and space beyond reality in the "13 ways", which are bound together under the craft of their authors and the photographs adding multi-dimensional sense to the power of the written word.
Both authors have different views on life, with different attitudes and means to depicting it. Sandra Peterson Ramirez's contributions to the collection are more playful, realistic, and vivid sketches, done with an artistic hand. Some will make you smile; others will fill you with compassion.
td Whittle's stories take the reader into the realm of dreams, fantasies, disturbing and otherworldly experiences and new realities, which are piercingly acute in their fantastic realism. Some tales skillfully deal with unpleasant happenings, weaving the narrative into deeper feelings and fears. But none of them will leave you untouched by the charm of the style and imagination of the author whose art can truly be compared to that of Kathrine Mansfield.
I first read the majority of the stories on the authors' website and loved every one of them. They were still lingering with me when I was reading the book, experiencing new waves of emotions. I thought I would only read the new ones, but ended up reading them all. It's incredibly hard to choose from such a magnificent collection, but my favorites are "Taking Flight", "Wolf Brand Chili", "Side Effects", and "Hotel Eternity". Each story catches its own existential glimpses and envelopes you completely and eternally.