Growing Things and Other Stories
A chilling collection of psychological suspense and literary horror from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination.In “The Teacher,” a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives.Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in “The Getaway.”In “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks,” a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster... or not.Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, “Growing Things,” a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds.

Growing Things and Other Stories Details

TitleGrowing Things and Other Stories
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 2nd, 2019
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062679147
Rating
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Fiction, Anthologies

Growing Things and Other Stories Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!a collection of stories! from paul tremblay! in which "karen brissette" appears in one and MAYBE two of the stories. although it's pretty clear to ME that there's no 'maybe' about it, coyboy. between the observation of "The cheerful unhinged-ness" of KB's writing style and the mean-but-accurate grousing about "this obnoxious KB person" (well, i NEVER!!), i am absolutely certain of what those letters stand for. PAUL TREMBLAY!!! I WILL SHOW YOU A PSEUDONYM IN A HANDFUL OF DUST!!!he NOW AVAILABLE!!!a collection of stories! from paul tremblay! in which "karen brissette" appears in one and MAYBE two of the stories. although it's pretty clear to ME that there's no 'maybe' about it, coyboy. between the observation of "The cheerful unhinged-ness" of KB's writing style and the mean-but-accurate grousing about "this obnoxious KB person" (well, i NEVER!!), i am absolutely certain of what those letters stand for. PAUL TREMBLAY!!! I WILL SHOW YOU A PSEUDONYM IN A HANDFUL OF DUST!!!here is the TOC:GROWING THINGSSWIM WANTS TO KNOW IF IT'S AS BAD AS SWIM THINKSSOMETHING ABOUT BIRDSTHE GETAWAYNINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORTWHERE WE ALL WILL BETHE TEACHERNOTES FROM "THE BARN IN THE WILD"__________OUR TOWN'S MONSTERA HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKENIT WON'T GO AWAYNOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERSFURTHER QUESTIONS FOR THE SOMNAMBULISTTHE ICE TOWERTHE SOCIETY OF THE MONSTERHOODHER RED RIGHT HANDIT'S AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED THE DUCKSTHE THIRTEENTH TEMPLEand if some of those titles look familiar to you, don't worry - you are not going crazy! many of these stories have been scooped out of anthologies in which they previously appeared, including a few from tremblay's first collection, In the Mean Time (Growing Things, It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks, The Teacher) which was my first introduction to his work and a book i loved, especially the duck story, which was one of my favorites from that book and i was thrilled to read it again after all this time and to find i loved it just as much. so, yeah - maybe you have read some of these stories before. or maybe you are like me and you have bought several of these anthologies, in part because of seeing tremblay's name on the cover, but you still haven't actually gotten around to reading them (koff Dark Cities (Society of the Monsterhood), Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Something About Birds) koff)but that just means that when i get around to reading those anthologies, it will go more quickly because reruns! AND - the story from my more-recently-purchased New Fears 2: More New Horror Stories by Masters of the Macabre is NOT in this collection, so SCORE! short story collections, especially ones pulling in works across a long period of time or from very specific "themed" anthologies, tend to be hit-or-miss. i didn't love-love every story in this book, but it's entirely down to my personal taste and - true to form - the ones i liked the least were written for lovecraft-themed anthologies (__________) or written as an homage to laird barron (Notes from 'The Barn in the Wild')-- two authors i want to like because people i like are among their fans, but they do nothing at all for me. and the hellboy story (Her Red Right Hand) probably felt more 'at home' in its original surroundings. here it stands out a bit from the tone of the rest of the collection. but there were some extremely high points. A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKENi have never been so close to crying during a choose your own adventure experience. not even when i was shrunk down very tiny and threatened by a catWHY YOU MAKE ME ALMOST-CRY, TREMBLAY??NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERSthis is the novella featuring that obnoxious KB person, and there are so many parts that sound like the inside of my head. IS THIS HOW SATAN FELT AFTER READING PARADISE LOST? but narcissism aside, it's a brilliant story. and it's meta for daysactually, the collection as a whole is wicked meta, if you know where to look. there are lots of little snickers to be had but be warned - THE THIRTEENTH TEMPLE should probably not be read until after you have read A Head Full of Ghosts, because - to quote the sage karen brissette from that book - I WILL SPOIL YOU! but as far as the KB in THIS story, everything "she" says about a person's bookshelves, about short stories, about referential authors - so much gold, my friends. there's this three-page chunk that is just perfection. THE GETAWAY and NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT were both great - gritty crime fiction, only one of which has supernatural/horror elements. I'LL LET YOU DISCOVER WHICH ONE FOR YOURSELF! &etc. it's a great collection, and i am obsessed with this cover. It's a hard world for little things.indeed it is.***********************************************update: choose your own adventure story! fun! although maybe less-fun in an ARC:***********************************************IT HAS ARRIVED!!and, DAMN, but paul tremblay always has such gorgeous covers:it's even prettier in person. so, AM i the "kb" of “Notes from the Dog Walkers”? maybe, maybe not, but the fact that the character is so savvy-wary of birds speaks volumesi can't wait to read it and find out MORE! thank you for the immortality and the ARC, paul tremblay!!! *************************************************@PAUL TREMBLAY!!!The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.is what i heard about this story from someone you evidently value more than you value me TRUE??Growing Things also features stories with ties to Tremblay’s previous novels. In the metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers,” the blogger Karen Brissette (last seen in A Head Full of Ghosts) deconstructs the horror genre while also telling a story that serves as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.come to my blog!
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  • Char
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 stars!Paul Tremblay first appeared on my radar with his book A HEAD OF FULL GHOSTS. Then came DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK, which really impressed me. He followed that up with CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, which broke my heart. Now, here he is with a solid collection of stories that I ADORED.GROWING THINGS is a hefty volume of tales, mostly told already in other publications, but they were almost all new to me. Among them, these stood out the most: HER RED RIGHT HAND Something about this 4.5/5 stars!Paul Tremblay first appeared on my radar with his book A HEAD OF FULL GHOSTS. Then came DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK, which really impressed me. He followed that up with CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, which broke my heart. Now, here he is with a solid collection of stories that I ADORED.GROWING THINGS is a hefty volume of tales, mostly told already in other publications, but they were almost all new to me. Among them, these stood out the most: HER RED RIGHT HAND Something about this tale grabbed my imagination. There is a surprise well known figure comic figure within, but for me it was the young artist drawing the story that affected me the most. NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERS seemed like an experimental form of story telling to me, and as such, I was carried along from the normality of the day to day dog walker down into the heart of madness. This tale totally worked for me and I wanted to applaud when I finished.NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT Here is another story in which the way the tale is related is different and fascinating. Who doesn't sit down with their vacation pictures at some point or another? It's within these types of normal situations where Mr. Tremblay really shines. He takes those normal day to day things and twists them around...it's really something to see. WHERE WE WILL ALL BE Here we find another experimental tale and once again, it worked quite well. A young man wakes up and finds his parents confused and talking nonsense about how they all have to go "where we will all be." That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to ruin it, but I find myself still thinking about Zane and his family. THE ICE TOWER I don't know what the heck was going on in this story, at least not for sure, but once again, Mr. Tremblay wove his spell around me, and I was immediately entranced. A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL ON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN A tour through the home where you grew up with your family. Top that with a "Choose your own adventure" feel and you have this unique tale that turned around within itself and surprised me.IT WON'T GO AWAY A few days after his brother's suicide, a man receives a letter from the deceased. Once again, the story twists and turns and before you know it, you are miles away from where you started.I guess I'll leave it off here because I'm discovering that I can go on and on about this collection. Usually, weird fiction doesn't work that well for me. While I can appreciate and enjoy ambiguous stories, certain authors considered masters of the form leave me a bit cold. (Robert Aickman, I'm looking at you!) I am unsettled by and enjoy the work of Tom Ligotti, but it often comes across as too nihilistic for my tastes. In this volume, Paul Tremblay appears to master the form, but in his own unique and brave style. That's not to say this collection features only weird tales, because it doesn't. What it does feature is an author willing to experiment with all different types of dark fiction and nearly every one of them was a beauty to behold!My highest recommendation!*Thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley, and to William Morrow for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback.*
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  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    This review originally published on Cemetery Dance (April 29th, 2019)“I’m terrible at remembering plot and character specifics…if the story is successful, what I do remember and will never forget is what and how that story makes me feel.”—Paul Tremblay in the “Notes” of Growing Things.Thank goodness Paul Tremblay kindly bestowed some Author’s Notes upon his readers in the end pages for Growing Things. I was not ready to let go! I needed Paul’s conversational and personal commentary on each story This review originally published on Cemetery Dance (April 29th, 2019)“I’m terrible at remembering plot and character specifics…if the story is successful, what I do remember and will never forget is what and how that story makes me feel.”—Paul Tremblay in the “Notes” of Growing Things.Thank goodness Paul Tremblay kindly bestowed some Author’s Notes upon his readers in the end pages for Growing Things. I was not ready to let go! I needed Paul’s conversational and personal commentary on each story—almost like I had been on a long journey, the boat had docked and Paul was there to carefully guide his readers as they stepped off the boat to stand on solid land again.Part of the sentimentality was from Paul’s carefully crafted ordering of the stories. It’s this reader’s recommendation that this collection needs to be read in order. Don’t skip about. It’s not for any reasons other than emotionally; the stories follow a cycle and it’s best to have the same beginning and ending experience as everyone else. I hope that makes sense. I’m trying not to diminish any reader discoveries by oversharing.I also recommend finishing a story and then flipping to the end, to the Notes, to read what Paul has to say about what you just read. To shed light on what you just encountered. After the first and title story, I was so excited and captivated by what I had just discovered I felt like I needed someone else in the world to freak out with! (Paul’s notes satisfied that urge to have a discussion.)As the journey continued, I took note of all the experimental narratives, story formatting and literary devices. It’s almost like over the years, Paul Tremblay has had all these fantastic ideas rattling around in his writer brain and this is the collection where he got to try them all out! I really wish I could tell you some of the unique aspects of my favorite stories but to tell you that would be to spoil some of the fun surprises that you should be able to experience for yourself. I just want to tell you that “The Teacher” was intense. “A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken” was strange, powerful and engaging. “It Won’t Go Away” was unsettling and disturbing. “Notes From the Dog Walkers” was a slow build to madness. Madness I tell you! Shock and awe!“It’s Against the Laws to Feed the Ducks” was upsetting and even beautiful in its sadness. Lastly, I can’t even really talk about “The Thirteenth Temple.” I was super emotional about that story—lots of tears, a knot in my stomach and an odd feeling of closure. Again, thankful for the notes after that particular story.I just want to urge anyone reading this review to preorder (Update: July 2nd, 2019 AVAILABLE NOW!) this book and then read it straight away. This is one of those books that people will talk about and you just don’t want to be late to the party. Mother Horror is trying her very best to encourage you NOT TO BE LATE TO THE PARTY! I savored my time in these pages—even though some of the stories had been released previously elsewhere, they were all new to me and I treasured every word.A short story collection from a favorite author is just the best possible thing in the world; Growing Things is among the best of them.
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  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    Contents:001 - Growing Things017 - Swim Wants To Know If It's As Bad As Swim Thinks031 - Something About Birds053 - The Getaway069 - Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport083 - Where We All Will Be097 - The Teacher109 - Notes for "The Barn In the Wild"125 - _____137 - Our Town's Monster151 - A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken175 - It Won't Go Away191 - Notes From The Dog Walkers235 - Further Questions For The Somnambulist245 - The Ice Tower253 - The Society of the Monsterhood267 - H Contents:001 - Growing Things017 - Swim Wants To Know If It's As Bad As Swim Thinks031 - Something About Birds053 - The Getaway069 - Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport083 - Where We All Will Be097 - The Teacher109 - Notes for "The Barn In the Wild"125 - _____137 - Our Town's Monster151 - A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken175 - It Won't Go Away191 - Notes From The Dog Walkers235 - Further Questions For The Somnambulist245 - The Ice Tower253 - The Society of the Monsterhood267 - Her Red Right Hand283 - It's Against the Law To Feed The Ducks299 - The Thirteenth Temple323 - Notes335 - Acknowledgements357 - Credits
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  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    Short story anthologies are not always my friend, but it seems that @paulgtremblay's short story anthologies are!Growing Things and Other Stories is a collation of Tremblay's suspenseful and tension-filled short fiction, and every one is formulated for ultimate goosebump-inducing and hair-raising reading. These stories fall under the category of, as the synopsis cites, "psychological suspense and literary horror". Tremblay proves himself as, yet again, the true master of these two genres combine Short story anthologies are not always my friend, but it seems that @paulgtremblay's short story anthologies are!Growing Things and Other Stories is a collation of Tremblay's suspenseful and tension-filled short fiction, and every one is formulated for ultimate goosebump-inducing and hair-raising reading. These stories fall under the category of, as the synopsis cites, "psychological suspense and literary horror". Tremblay proves himself as, yet again, the true master of these two genres combined.Some of these stories relate to his previously released full-length novels and it added an extra exciting layer to puzzle out the connections and clues placed for the reader to find.My personal favourites were the title story Growing Things, The Getaway, Bram Stoker nominated The Teacher, and A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some are Broken. Make from those disparate titles what you will, as Tremblay is guaranteed to deliver you everything over than the expected from them!
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  • Kat Dietrich
    January 1, 1970
    Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay is an anthology of his stories.First, let me thank Edelweiss, the publisher Harper Collins, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.My Synopsis…and OpinionsA few words about each of the short stories in this collection: • Growing Things -- Plants take over the world. I enjoyed this one.• Swim Wants to Know If It Is As Bad As Swim Thinks -- It’s about a monster, Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay is an anthology of his stories.First, let me thank Edelweiss, the publisher Harper Collins, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.My Synopsis…and OpinionsA few words about each of the short stories in this collection: • Growing Things -- Plants take over the world. I enjoyed this one.• Swim Wants to Know If It Is As Bad As Swim Thinks -- It’s about a monster, but I swear I thought it was about a drug addict out of control. Needless to say I just didn’t get this one.• Something About Birds -- An interview with an author gets a little strange. A little out there, but good.• The Getaway -- A robbery gone wrong. This one made me think.• Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport -- A summer holiday with lasting memories. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.*****• Where We All Will Be -- Appears to be an apocalyptic tale .Interesting, but puzzling.• The Teacher -- The tale of a small class given the occasional special lesson. This was just disturbing.• Notes for the Barn in the Wild -- A journalist follows a trail to a Labrador barn. Strange.• -- This story does not seem to have a title. A day at the beach with your children. Weird.• Our Town’s Monster -- A monster who, when not being a tourist attraction, is deadly. I enjoyed this one, somewhat.• A Haunted House Is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken -- Returning to a childhood home. Loved it! *****• It Won’t Go Away -- An author commits suicide, and leaves a hint with a friend, who starts to see what the problem was. Quite Good.• Notes from the Dog Walkers -- Dog behaviours are to be recorded by their walkers, but these walkers have many opinions on many things. Started out entertaining, ended up going on, and on, and on. Boring.• Further Questions for the Somnambulist -- The somnambulist knows everything, but there’s really only one question. This one did nothing for me.• The Ice Tower -- A giant tower of ice appears in the Antarctic, and a group decide to climb it. Too predictable.• The Society of the Monsterhood -- Four children from the poor side of town are given free scholarships, but their peers are not happy. Those that criticize are never seen again. Strange, but good.• Her Red Right Hand -- A girl becomes interested in the goblin at the well. This one seemed to miss the mark, well, mine anyway.• It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks -- An apocalyptic event occurs when a family is on vacation. This was okay.• The Thirteenth Temple -- An author is forced to provide a fan with a story. I really enjoyed this one! *****My Overall Opinions: Note that all of these are very loooong short stories, or seem to be. Maybe it was me.The author’s imagination is vivid, but the reader’s must also be, because a number of these stories do not have a natural end, or explanation. Even the notes by the author at the end of the book (and I seriously wish they had been added at the end of each story since I did not find them until I was done the book), did a poor job of explaining each tale.I like the style that Paul Tremblay writes. His words are clear, if not always his plot.A number of these stories have appeared in other anthologies, so you may have come across them before. There are horror stories, monster stories, crime stories, some a mixture. Some are there are straight-forward, some confusing as hell. Overall, while most of the stories were good, very few were “great” (I marked those with 5*’s.) So, I may be in the minority here, but this was not my favorite book of short stories.
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  • Alma Katsu
    January 1, 1970
    This collection is the perfect solution for when you want to take a break from binge-watching the latest sensation on Netflix but still want a steady IV-drip of mesmerizing storytelling. Paul Tremblay's work hovers between horror and speculative fiction, that familiar no man's land between dreams and wakefulness. The place where the hairs stand up on the back of your neck in recognition that something strange is going on, that things are beyond your control, and you're going to face a reality th This collection is the perfect solution for when you want to take a break from binge-watching the latest sensation on Netflix but still want a steady IV-drip of mesmerizing storytelling. Paul Tremblay's work hovers between horror and speculative fiction, that familiar no man's land between dreams and wakefulness. The place where the hairs stand up on the back of your neck in recognition that something strange is going on, that things are beyond your control, and you're going to face a reality that rarely shows its face but is with us all along, hiding in the shadows.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    2019 interview with Paul Tremblay On his Growing Things and Other Stories, his characters, writing, recommendations, and inspirations. | More2ReadMorbid tales, haunting, fears and longings, dwellings, ghosts, devils, creatures, monsters inner and outer, melancholy, sisters, fathers and sons, teachers, men and women, and Merry and Marjorie from Head Full of Ghosts back in the narrative.A myriad of bat shit craziness presented before the reader, hypnotically evoking within the reader all kinds of 2019 interview with Paul Tremblay On his Growing Things and Other Stories, his characters, writing, recommendations, and inspirations. | More2ReadMorbid tales, haunting, fears and longings, dwellings, ghosts, devils, creatures, monsters inner and outer, melancholy, sisters, fathers and sons, teachers, men and women, and Merry and Marjorie from Head Full of Ghosts back in the narrative.A myriad of bat shit craziness presented before the reader, hypnotically evoking within the reader all kinds of things, growing things, ones of fears and longings, and with that maybe some courage with all the terrification before you with nicely crafted voices and stories.The tales I loved the most:Growing ThingsGrowing plants and mysterious knocking at the door an isolation tale with Majorie and Merry from Head Full of Ghosts.Where We All Will Be“there was something wrong with the weather, there was something wrong out there.” With “the blacked-out TV, the fuzzed-out radio, the endless traffic jam.”Great hypnotic pensive suspensive end of the world bat shit craziness.Leaving things cut short to play out onto the readers mindOur Town’s MonsterA story on a monster, the swamp kind, official or unofficial.Concept of monsters elaborates on too with some satire.“There’s a monster in the swamp. It eats cats and dogs; small, unwanted children, you know the type; and the occasional beautiful woman. Only rarely, so far, once a century, will it devour the angry torch-wielding villagers—your potential neighbors.”A Haunted House Is a Wheel upon Which Some Are BrokenNostalgia with scary things, reimagining, I see dead people in a house kind of thing, ghost and one woman’s interlude through re-walking with ghosts that scare her and the loss of loved ones.“The house is a New England colonial, blue with red and white shutters and trim, recently painted, the first-floor windows festooned with flower boxes. She stands in the house’s considerable shadow. She was once very small, and then she became big, and now she is becoming small again, and that process is painful but not without joy and an animal sense of satisfaction that the coming end is earned.”It Won’t Go AwayShock and devastating recounting of last few days of peter’s death by his friend.Two authors and writers, book readings, signings, and the terrible suicide, with the darkness and shadows around it and how he and others reacted to it.“Nine days ago, I received an envelope in the mail from Peter. It was exactly one month after he killed himself. I’d been in my new apartment for ten weeks. Time is not an arrow. It is a bottomless bag in which we collect and place things that will be forgotten.”The Society of the MonsterhoodMore monster than Grendel, bully and monster, the story of the society, KG and the monster, myth and urban legends.Her Red Right Hand“The well was hundreds of years old. Its wall was a ring of stone and crumbling mortar, jutting three feet above the ground with an opening that had a circumference wide enough to fit Daniel Webster and the devil.”A New Hampshire house, a cabin in the woods, not that book you know the one The Cabin at the End of the World.There is an ailing mother and death, and a mysterious well with creature accompanying it, one girls armed with sketch pad draws though here loss, life, and conflict with hero and monster.Review also @ https://more2read.com/review/the-growing-things-and-other-stories-by-paul-tremblay/
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  • Chris DiLeo
    January 1, 1970
    "Some fears can only be explored by story. Some emotions can only be communicated by story. Some truths can only be revealed by story" (333).That quote is from the "Notes" section of GROWING THINGS, an impressive collection of disturbing tales, and I share it here because that quest for exploration and emotion and truth through story is what motivates me to read and to write. If you want to know what I mean by "story truth," read THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien.This book is not slated for "Some fears can only be explored by story. Some emotions can only be communicated by story. Some truths can only be revealed by story" (333).That quote is from the "Notes" section of GROWING THINGS, an impressive collection of disturbing tales, and I share it here because that quest for exploration and emotion and truth through story is what motivates me to read and to write. If you want to know what I mean by "story truth," read THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien.This book is not slated for publication until July 2019, but an ARC fell into my hands, and it was a special treat for me to be one of its early readers. Tremblay's THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD is my favorite book of 2018, and his HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS is a terrifying masterpiece.Every story in this collection is unique. Some are masterful. Some are gloriously dread-inducing. Some are so brazen in their innovation it demands I quote another line from one such story that is completely meta: "it's likely the author (subconsciously feeling unencumbered by the demands of the marketplace) dares to be a bit more obtuse and experimental than she would in a novel, and so the stories tend to be even less easily digestible" (222).That quote is from "Notes from the Dog Walkers," which is a fascinating and startling piece of work that confronts the essence of horror (and the horror community) through the hazy window of insanity.Many of the stories are remarkable for how experimental they are. Tremblay makes use of every possible angle he can imagine, and he has quite the fecund imagination. As a reader, I'll admit, this was sometimes irritating. I wanted story, dammit. The best story here is "The Teacher" and it's also his most traditionally structured. That being said, the more avant-garde stories made the writer in me want to steal his techniques and write my own stories. [Side note: this effect is like the one Billy Collins writes about in "The Trouble with Poetry": "But mostly poetry fills me / with the urge to write poetry, / to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame / to appear at the tip of my pencil."]This collection is not for everyone. Tremblay makes the reader work for it in many cases. It is easy to get confused, to be lost in dense paragraphs. It is, be warned, easy to get quite unnerved as you explore the darker and darker corners of these tales.Tremblay is a master at the ambiguous ending (a technique he directly acknowledges, mocks, and irrevocably adores), and his words repeatedly left me cold and afraid, my skin prickled with gooseflesh, my thoughts a bit seasick because he's so damn good at shaking the floor beneath your feet.Other standouts include: "Growing Things"; "Swim Wants to Know if it's as Bad as Swim Thinks"; "Something About Birds"; "A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some are Broken"; and "The Thirteenth Temple."Every story has a strong voice, fully developed characters, and an authenticity that makes the creeping dread all the more troubling.Some stories stunned me. Some shocked me. Some disturbed me.I'd say this will be the best horror collection of the year, but there's this other master named Joe Hill, and he's got some darn good stories in a collection coming in the fall . . .Here's a literary technique Tremblay might appreciate—I quoted from page 333 and page 222, so here's one from page 111: "'When all hell broke loose and you tripped over the dead climber in the snow on your way down to camp, man, that's something that stuck with me'" (111). And these stories will stick with you, too.
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  • Michael J.
    January 1, 1970
    What I enjoy most about Paul Tremblay's work is how he skillfully negotiates the thin line between reality and imagination. His scares come from the paranormal, the supernatural, the unearthly, and contain just enough skepticism that readers are never sure if the disturbing events aren't internally created by one of the characters or just how they imagine things to be. A Headful Of Ghosts and The Cabin At The End Of The World are great examples of that. I'm curious to see if he employs the same What I enjoy most about Paul Tremblay's work is how he skillfully negotiates the thin line between reality and imagination. His scares come from the paranormal, the supernatural, the unearthly, and contain just enough skepticism that readers are never sure if the disturbing events aren't internally created by one of the characters or just how they imagine things to be. A Headful Of Ghosts and The Cabin At The End Of The World are great examples of that. I'm curious to see if he employs the same devices in his shorter fiction. Here's the short answer for those who don't want to read all of my lengthy review: Tremblay doesn't employ the style that's made him recognized for "Ambiguity Horror" (his words) in every single one of these stories. As he refers to this in a character's voice in NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKER, he doesn't want to be considered a one-trick-pony writer. Many of these stories are more straight-forward. Many seem to be deliberately experimental, as if he was trying to work through a few things. I didn't like every story in this collection. It's quite a mixed bag. Only 8 of the 19 stories are what I would consider above average and/or exceeding expectations. Six were just average. Five just weren't what I consider a good story. It never takes me this long to finish a Tremblay novel because I'm usually fully immersed in the story by the 50 page mark. There are two stories written just for this collection, and NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKER is the absolute best of the bunch, good enough for award consideration. The other THIRTEENTH TEMPLE is a welcome return to some familiar characters from his novel. It's also interesting that the six stories I found to be the best here have that flavor of vagueness to them that Tremblay does so well. GROWING THINGS AND OTHER STORIES is deserving of your reading time. Just don't feel obligated to read every single story or try to finish the ones that don't catch on with you. THREE STARS OVERALL. My story by story review follows:******************************************************************************** I"m going to read this one slowly in order to enhance my appreciation and post updates here as I go. I started reading on July 19 with the title story, GROWING THINGS: Damned if he didn't get me wondering if this apocalyptic scenario wasn't created by a "squirrelly" character. And are the growing things real or imagined, planted (ha) in a young gullible mind? It was nice to see two familiar characters from A Headful Of Ghosts and learn how Tremblay transferred some of their traits to the novel. GROWING THINGS is a very short but nonetheless disturbing tale. The only downside is that it ends without any resolution, as do many horror stories of this type. All is hopeless. Woe is me/us. Four stars. SWIM WANTS TO KNOW IF IT'S AS BAD AS SWIM THINKS includes a giant monster invasion of a small New England town in the background. Because of the unstable narrator of the story, whether it's really happening is (again) questionable. This tale of a meth-eating mother grabbing her court-removed daughter in order to protect her is more of a character-study than a complete story, and ends in apparent doom (again). I'm detecting some themes so far, but it's early so I'll hold off on stating them. The grocery-store employee incident felt incredibly accurate and brought back memories of my high-school part-time job. Swim is also a clever acronym. Four stars, only because of the skillful writing. SOMETHING ABOUT BIRDS is something about birds. What exactly is uncertain. It ends abruptly in infuriating fashion, leaving what might have been a horrific moment (or not) to the reader's imagination. The opening featuring a fictional author biography followed by excerpts from an interview is clever. Once again, Tremblay gives us a sad but creative character study -- this time of a journalist hoping to achieve his fame by interviewing a respected author who didn't get enough credit, except for one story about birds that everyone inserts symbolic meaning into. The author does have a fascination with birds and pulls the journalist into his circle of converts. It seems like Tremblay grew tired of the story and just stopped. Would have been four stars with a satisfying ending. Three stars. THE GETAWAY starts out as a straightforward crime story about an early morning robbery of a pawn shop. Then it turns horrific until ending in . . . (wait for it) . . . . doom. (Again) This first person narrative includes a well-done character study but unfortunately I didn't connect with a single character in this story. More resolution than the other stories, though. The horror also doesn't appear to be imagined. Three stars. NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT is a crime story told by the young narrator, referring to 19 different photos and recalling the instances around them. They're mainly about a family shore vacation, although the dad gets mixed up in matters outside of family business. I liked the method Tremblay used to tell the story, but it's pretty average. Two and one-half stars. WHERE WE ALL WILL BE: I shouldn't like this story because it's inconclusive like most of what I've read in this collection so far, but I truly enjoyed it. I guess there is a resolution of sorts, in that the main character finally realizes the danger he is in. However, there is no explanation for why the apocalyptic event occurs, or an clear indication of where it is going. The Notes section in the back of this collection is a very insightful look at how many of these stories originated and what Tremblay was aiming for. It's amazing how he can pull single incidents from his life and spin them into compelling yarns. In this particular story, a college student diagnosed with special needs fails to recognize a dire situation simply because he processes information differently. The analogy offered with the premature break from hibernation of moths is clever. Four stars. In his Notes on THE TEACHER, Tremblay says "This story represents some of my anxieties as they relate to school (both as being a student and a teacher) and how any of us get through those adolescent years and into our scary futures." I would guess his anxieties included doubts about his ability to teach, as well as concern that students would be negatively influenced by his lessons. Both of these are touched on in the story, and it seems pretty accurate and convincing. Except I didn't develop any concern for a single character, teacher or student. Not really a horror story, unless you consider the horrific consequences of learning from this particular teacher. Two stars. In his notes on NOTES FOR "THE BARN IN THE WILD", Tremblay reveals that the story was part of a tribute to the work of Laird Barron. Tremblay attempts to write in his style and does a good job. You would not recognize this as Tremblay story. He lays the story out as a series of entries from a composition book found as the only remains of the narrator. The footnotes, meant to indicate when notations were made in the margins, are distracting and interrupt the flow of the story. Laird Barron would write this better and scarier. Two stars. _____ Yes, that's the title of the next story. Just a straight horizontal line. The reason why is not mentioned in the Notes. This starts out like a straightforward piece of contemporary fiction - - a father watching his two children take swimming lessons at a local pond, and having a conversation with a female acquaintance. Mom isn't around. Then it takes a weird twist and ends in disturbing fashion. I would only spoil it to tell more. It's also a rather short piece. This one stayed with me. It's not the best story in the collection; but it is the creepiest so far. Four stars. OUR TOWN'S MONSTER is a different spin of sorts on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". I didn't care for it as much, simply because I could not connect with a single character, and several I disliked. I did appreciate the twist, however. Three stars. In A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN the sole remaining member (daughter) of a family (father, mother, brother) revisits her historic landmark childhood home after many years away. She senses the ghosts of family members in each room as well as the ghosts of stories told by her brother when both were children, most likely in order to scare her. Tremblay utilizes the Read Your Own Adventure device of multiple choice at the end of each one page chapter, although every choice leads back in the same direction eventually. He also uses repetition throughout. I was annoyed more than I was entertained, although I give this Three Stars for clever experimentation. The narrator in IT WON'T GO AWAY is an author, troubled by some messages he received from a fellow writer before his demise. It's short, but very disturbing as things become clearer near the end. This is to the point, and not vague in any way. Four stars. NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKER is brilliant. This could very well end up being my favorite story of the collection. A writer, P (for Paul Tremblay, maybe?) hires a dog-sitting service to walk his dog every other day. A trademark of their business is to leave notes for the owner, normally short messages about how the dog performed, did it pee or poop, etc. Initially there are three different dog walkers visiting the home. Soon, the entries become more detailed, with the dog walkers commenting on observations (owners not picking up after their pets, other dogs behavior, how the dog responds, etc) and then actually sharing some of their personal philosophy. One walker in particular leaves long detailed notes beginning with analysis of the author's bookshelves, commentary on his writing, then actually providing a detailed story idea to him, and criticism of a writing career. The notes are signed by KB, and Tremblay even throws in some doubt when it's suggested that may be a pseudonym he's using. The notes get longer and eventually very disturbing, making for a frightening tale that ends with a solution on the author's part but not necessary the removal of the threat. This should be included in some Best of The Year anthologies. Five stars. Ugh. One fabulous story, followed by two subpar stories. FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR THE SOMNAMBULIST is exactly what it says. Why does Tremblay make his somnambulist a seer/prophet instead of the sleepwalker that defines the term? This is an experimental story, in that after the brief introduction, the remainder is the listing of questions from 3 different sources in 3 separate columns simultaneously. The story ends when the somnambulist decides to give a brief answer, supposedly to satisfy all the questions at one time. Maybe some readers would like this story for the experimental style of telling. I thought it was 100% dumb. One star. In notes for the very short THE ICE TOWER, Tremblay states this is his homage to Arctic horror. It reads like that except he includes enough confession and doubt at the end to make the reader wonder. Told from different points of view, which works for the main character. But to clump all the rest into a group point of view doesn't work. One star. While reading THE SOCIETY OF THE MONSTERHOOD I couldn't escape the feeling that the whole thing was an allegory, that the monster was a stand-in for an unidentified internal demon or demons that plague us. The last paragraph of the story just reinforces that belief. Three stars. THE RED RIGHT HAND was written as a tribute to Hellboy, the demonic hero character created by Mike Mignola for Dark Horse Comics. I think Tremblay captured the tone of the series and the spirit of the character quite well, but the story just didn't excite me. Three stars. IT'S AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED THE DUCKS is apocalyptic fiction. An unknown disaster has occurred while a family is on vacation, and their responses are related via the point of view of their five-year old son. There is no explanation provided for the where or why, and no real resolution. Still, it's a compelling portrait, a single slice-of-life for a family dealing with crisis and coming together. Four stars. The final story, THE THIRTEENTH TEMPLE is a sequel of sorts to Tremblay's novel A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS in that the inner story features sisters Merry and Marjorie and the outer story concerns Merry in present day, a writer and speaker stalked by a creepy fan. It's well told, and I liked it mainly because I like the character of Merry much more than I liked this story, another unresolved exploration that raises more questions and leaves them unanswered. Four stars.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Having liked this author's three horror novels, I found this short story collection to be a disappointment. Most of the stories were really just fragments of "weirdness" and didn't have a full plot. To me, the only stories worth reading were:- The Getaway (3 stars)- Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport (4 stars)- It Won't Go Away (4 stars)- Notes From the Dogwalkers (3 stars)Some writers are better at novels, some are better at short stories, and very few can be good at both. I think Paul Tremblay i Having liked this author's three horror novels, I found this short story collection to be a disappointment. Most of the stories were really just fragments of "weirdness" and didn't have a full plot. To me, the only stories worth reading were:- The Getaway (3 stars)- Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport (4 stars)- It Won't Go Away (4 stars)- Notes From the Dogwalkers (3 stars)Some writers are better at novels, some are better at short stories, and very few can be good at both. I think Paul Tremblay is better at novels. Even though I didn't like this collection, I'll still check out his next novel.
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  • FanFiAddict
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: ★★★★★+SynopsisA chilling collection of psychological suspense and literary horror from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination.In “The Teacher,” a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will Rating: ★★★★★+SynopsisA chilling collection of psychological suspense and literary horror from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination.In “The Teacher,” a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives.Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in “The Getaway.”In “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks,” a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster… or not.Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, “Growing Things,” a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds. ReviewThanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of Growing Things and Other Stories in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the work.Hands down, Growing Things and Other Stories is Paul Tremblay’s BEST work to date. Fans of his previous three (3) full-length novels: A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, and The Cabin at the End of the World will find TONS to love in this anthology, but especially the first two (2) works as notable characters are given new life in a few of the stories. I don’t know that I have read a more unsettling or evocative selection of stories in my years. Quite a few of these tales will stay with me for a long while, and a couple of them have kept me up the past few nights. I can’t think of a single story out of this collection that didn’t move me in some way.Rather than go through each and every story (because honestly, you will just have to take my word for how fantastic this book is and check them out for yourself), I will speak highly about the one that stuck with me the most: Notes from the Dog Walkers. Starting out as a seemingly innocent little story, gathering groups of notes/timestamps from dog walkers taking a family’s dog out for walks, potty breaks, and play time, it soon takes a shocking turn into a self-deprecating story about the author himself that I can only assume holds at least a little validity in real life. Even though it was the longest story in the anthology, seeming to go on for ages with no end in sight, it gripped me so hard and had me gasping for air. I have never read anything like it, and as soon as I finished the story, I immediately reached out to Paul on Facebook and simply said ” Notes from the Dog Walkers… Holy Sh*t LOL”One thing that I absolutely loved about Growing Things is that Tremblay, like Kealan Patrick Burke in his ‘We Live Inside Your Eyes’ anthology, gives notes on several select stories at the end of the book. I only wish I had allotted more time to finish a story, flip to the back, read the notes, and move on. Sadly, Kindles take a little bit of maneuvering to flip back and forth between sections and I didn’t want to waste any time getting to the next installment; so unfortunately, the notes were left to be read once I finished the entire anthology. But if I were you, definitely take the time to check them out between each story. It just adds so much more to the experience.All in all, Growing Things and Other Stories will definitely have a slot in my Top 20 Reads of 2019, quite possibly Top 10 (which, if I’m not careful, will expand into a Top 30 because my reading speed as drastically increased and there are SO MANY GREAT BOOKS THIS YEAR) and is an anthology that I cannot recommend enough. If you are a fan of Tremblay or enjoy horror/weird fiction, this book should be in your cart by the time you are finished reading this. Seriously… links are under the cover.
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  • Beverley Lee
    January 1, 1970
    I've rated this as a 3.5 star because some of the stories fell a bit flat for me whilst others were a definite 5.Tremblay is what I call a watchful writer. Most of his stories contain details that only a person who watches other people can know. There are lines in It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks that my granddaughter came out with just after I'd read it which messed with my head a bit!And can I just quote this snippet from Something About Birds I had to close the book and flail about at i I've rated this as a 3.5 star because some of the stories fell a bit flat for me whilst others were a definite 5.Tremblay is what I call a watchful writer. Most of his stories contain details that only a person who watches other people can know. There are lines in It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks that my granddaughter came out with just after I'd read it which messed with my head a bit!And can I just quote this snippet from Something About Birds I had to close the book and flail about at its brilliance. "That's the true power of story. That it can find the secrets both writer and reader didn't know they had within themselves."But balanced with this is the story I struggled through and eventually DNF Notes from the Dog Walkers One for true meta fans.Tremblay isn't afraid to push the boundaries of short story writing and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but that's all down to personal preference.I loved the notes section at the end where the author talked about each story. That felt very personal and was a really interesting insight into the mechanics of each tale.
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  • Missy (myweereads)
    January 1, 1970
    “Simply watching a spider crawling impossibly on the walls or ceiling and seeing all that choreographed movement set off earthquake-sized tremors somewhere deep in her brain.”Growing Things And Other Stories is a collection by award-winning author Paul Tremblay's most acclaimed short fiction (many of which are published here in the UK market for the first time) and new stories set in the worlds of two of his popular novels, Growing Things and Other Stories is an exciting glimpse into Tremblay’s “Simply watching a spider crawling impossibly on the walls or ceiling and seeing all that choreographed movement set off earthquake-sized tremors somewhere deep in her brain.”Growing Things And Other Stories is a collection by award-winning author Paul Tremblay's most acclaimed short fiction (many of which are published here in the UK market for the first time) and new stories set in the worlds of two of his popular novels, Growing Things and Other Stories is an exciting glimpse into Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination – a nerve-rending collection with much to offer fans new and old.I have previously read A Head Full Of Ghosts by the author and was familiar with his style of writing. These stories are written to disturb and unsettle you in a visceral way. There are continuous themes present in all the stories of harrowing and chilling atmosphere. The characters and the way they move within their stories is cleverly written to bring forth the dreaded fear of the known and unknown to the reader.Some of my favourites included Growing Things, It Won’t Go Away, A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken, The Teacher, Notes From The Dog Walkers and Nineteen Snapshots Of Dennisport.Congratulations to @paulgtremblay on the publication of this creepy book and also thanks to @titanbooks for sending me a copy of the book.
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  • Rachel Drenning
    January 1, 1970
    Well. I have come to the conclusion that I am just not a Tremblay fan. I've tried! DADR was decent, but that's the only one I even somewhat cared for. I didn't read all of the stories in this book, but after reading over half ..I just wasn't impressed.
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  • Beth M.
    January 1, 1970
    Y’all. No, seriously. Y’all! This book just earned a spot on my top 10 of the year so far! 😱Growing Things is my first experience with the work of Paul Tremblay and it definitely won’t be the last. He has a masterful way of beginning with a real life situation that is slowly infused with just the right amount of terror and anxiety. As the stories spiral into the realm of horror, they keep the reader guessing. Are these situations really as they seem? Are they fantastical? Or could there perhaps Y’all. No, seriously. Y’all! This book just earned a spot on my top 10 of the year so far! 😱Growing Things is my first experience with the work of Paul Tremblay and it definitely won’t be the last. He has a masterful way of beginning with a real life situation that is slowly infused with just the right amount of terror and anxiety. As the stories spiral into the realm of horror, they keep the reader guessing. Are these situations really as they seem? Are they fantastical? Or could there perhaps be another plausible explanation for the bizarre occurrences?Tremblay weaves dark, often macabre, yet startlingly genuine narratives in such small spaces. The voice and structure of each story is unique, yet the familiar feel of classic horror writers like Shirley Jackson, modern stylings akin to American Horror Story, and even echoes of Stephen King draw the reader in and keep them coming back for more. Tremblay also employs a form of literary horror replete with opportunities to reflect within oneself, as well as to consider a larger social commentary.Sincere thanks to William Morrow for providing me with this free finished copy to review for The Nerd Daily. Look for a full review coming soon!
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  • Kim Napolitano
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a huge Paul Tremblay fan and I gave him such a hard time on Twitter that I waited so long for this book. With that said, its the most depressing book I’ve read.. I’m sad over this, there is no hope here, no light... it’s a gut wrenching story after story. 4 stars for the writing but my soul won’t be the same with no redemption, nothing but terrifying black, suicide and dark places. Maybe because it’s summer here and I need the light? Its not in this book.. sorry my friend... I really tried! I’m a huge Paul Tremblay fan and I gave him such a hard time on Twitter that I waited so long for this book. With that said, its the most depressing book I’ve read.. I’m sad over this, there is no hope here, no light... it’s a gut wrenching story after story. 4 stars for the writing but my soul won’t be the same with no redemption, nothing but terrifying black, suicide and dark places. Maybe because it’s summer here and I need the light? Its not in this book.. sorry my friend... I really tried! I’ll be looking for your next amazing book!
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  • Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
    January 1, 1970
    Video review here:https://youtu.be/GTJ-VUFsTfIThis comes out today!! Go out and read this, all! I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy, but it turned out to be one of my top favorite reads of the year and Paul Tremblay is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. Read it and thank me later! ;)I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
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  • ElphaReads
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!I love Paul Tremblay stories so much that my usual aversion to short stories was overridden. While I am usually a little nervous whenever I start a short story collection, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to read GROWING THINGS AND OTHER STORIES, if only because I have such faith in Tremblay as an author. And my faith was once again rewarded, as I found a lot to like in this collection, and in some ways in places I didn't expe Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!I love Paul Tremblay stories so much that my usual aversion to short stories was overridden. While I am usually a little nervous whenever I start a short story collection, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to read GROWING THINGS AND OTHER STORIES, if only because I have such faith in Tremblay as an author. And my faith was once again rewarded, as I found a lot to like in this collection, and in some ways in places I didn't expect. Paul Tremblay gathers short stories from his past and present to make a collection of horror and dark fantasy tales. Some are totally brand new, some have familiar characters from other works, and some look at fears that are very real world and realistic, while others go to the fantastical or cosmic. I have always liked that Tremblay as an author is good at bringing in the ambiguous, and the same can be said for many of the tales in GROWING THINGS. There were plenty of times that the reader has no idea what is happening, either because of the narrator's POV or because the unknown is simply the reality of the story. While I for the most part found things to like about all of the stories, a few really stood out, and as I usually do I'll address my favorite three here."A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken": A woman revisits her childhood home, and has to face both the memories of the ghosts inside of it, and the memories of the losses she endured while living there. In a Choose Your Own Adventure Style! While the structure didn't work very well in my digital ARC, I managed to make it work, and at the heart of this tale is not only a creepy set of ghost anecdotes, but also a very sad and emotional story about a girl having to deal with her mother dying. There were multiple moments in this story where I found myself tearing up, and the eeriness mixed with the melancholy in a divine way."The Ice Tower": When a group of adventure seeking climbers are brought in to explore a giant, natural, and mysterious ice wall, the elements aren't the only dangers that threaten the team. With clear influence from THE THING and a very upsetting, and yet never explained, climax, this story gave me a serious case of the willies. I'm trying to find more to like about Cosmic horror, and I felt like this one definitely had some otherworldly scares."It's Against The Law to Feed the Ducks": A young family goes on vacation to a cabin in the woods, and through the eyes of a young boy we see something, though we aren't sure what, happen to the family and the world that they live in. I had serious flashbacks to THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD from this story, but since it's through the eyes of a little kid we don't know exactly WHAT happened, as his parents are trying to shield it from him. We can piece together that it's something that is probably apocalyptic, but when seen through his eyes it's all the more upsetting because of the lens of innocence that is being applied to it. I loved this story. There are other great stories in here as well, from a monster in the woods to a revisit to the characters from A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS to manic dog walkers, and even Hellboy makes an appearance! There is a lot to like here, that's for sure.GROWING THINGS AND OTHER STORIES is a solid horror and dark fantasy collection, and I'm happy that I gave it a try in spite of my hesitation with short stories. Just goes to show that I will probably like most anything that Paul Tremblay comes out with.
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  • Carey
    January 1, 1970
    This book starts with a Shakespeare quote, so I'll start this review with one:"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I've always taken that literally. Was Lovecraft paraphrasing when he wrote, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."? (Note to self, rewrite Hamlet where the ghost of his father is a harbinger of the Elder Gods ASAP before anyone here can steal it.)The fear of the unknown is to me the worst kind of fear. Or maybe t This book starts with a Shakespeare quote, so I'll start this review with one:"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I've always taken that literally. Was Lovecraft paraphrasing when he wrote, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."? (Note to self, rewrite Hamlet where the ghost of his father is a harbinger of the Elder Gods ASAP before anyone here can steal it.)The fear of the unknown is to me the worst kind of fear. Or maybe the only kind of fear. If you know about an unpleasant thing, that fear morphs into dread. But, despite being a tool of epic proportions, Lovecraft had the right idea. He's kind of a one-trick pony, but it's an amazing trick and he didn't copyright that trick, so now we have all of these amazing authors and film makers subverting that trick into better tricks without the racism and misogyny. But fear of the unknown on a cosmic scale is mind shattering. To finally get to this review, Tremblay takes that fear, and brings it down to levels that mere mortals can absorb, which is honestly scarier. Because once cosmic horror has made you insane, you aren't aware of much anymore. These stories made me feel and consider every word, every implication, every repercussion. Each one made my brain reach for a conclusion, and once attained had the physical sensation of a cold, raw egg smashed on my head and dribbling down the back of my neck (thank you, Beverly Cleary for an assumed feel I have never forgotten in over three decades). For a horror book, this is a good thing.I think my favorite story was "Her Red Right Hand." I'm only a casual Hellboy fan, but that one broke my heart. Other favorites include "The Teacher," "Notes for 'The Barn in the Wild'," "Notes From the Dog Walkers," and "It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks." Tremblay's novels are top notch, but Growing Things packs just as much of a punch in terms of talent and fear factor. I know people hesitate to invest in short story collections, but this one is a must-read. Please find yourself a copy of this and read it for your own sake, but also so I have someone to geek out with.
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  • Rod | rodsreads
    January 1, 1970
    “Some fears can be explored only by story. Some emotions can be communicated only by story. Some truths can be revealed only by story. That’s the unique experience I crave as a reader and I strive for as a writer.”Paul Trembley (also known as Mr. Ambiguous Horror) is easily one of my favorite writers. The amount of craftsmanship that goes into his stories is mind-blowing.If you’re lucky enough to appreciate his style, well then my friend, you’re in for a treat.A collection of award-winning autho “Some fears can be explored only by story. Some emotions can be communicated only by story. Some truths can be revealed only by story. That’s the unique experience I crave as a reader and I strive for as a writer.”⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Paul Trembley (also known as Mr. Ambiguous Horror) is easily one of my favorite writers. The amount of craftsmanship that goes into his stories is mind-blowing.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣If you’re lucky enough to appreciate his style, well then my friend, you’re in for a treat.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣A collection of award-winning author Paul Tremblay's most acclaimed short fiction (many of which are published here in the UK market for the first time) and new stories set in the worlds of two of his popular novels, Growing Things and Other Stories is an exciting glimpse into Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination – a nerve-rending collection with much to offer fans new and old.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣We have a total of 19 stories in this collection (every Constant Reader: Ka?) ranging from emotion-filled ones to WTF-have-I-just-read?!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣At first, I planned on doing individual reviews for each story. But I quickly realized that it would be hard to keep them spoiler-free.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Here are some of my favorites:⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Growing Things⁣⁣⁣⁣The Getaway⁣⁣⁣⁣Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport⁣⁣⁣⁣A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken⁣⁣⁣⁣It Won’t Go Away⁣⁣⁣⁣Notes From the Dog Walkers⁣⁣⁣⁣The Ice Tower⁣⁣⁣⁣It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks⁣⁣⁣⁣The Thirteenth Temple⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣It would be VERY hard to pick a single favorite.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣I took Sadie’s (MotherHorror) advice and read the Notes section after finishing each story. I’d recommend you to do the same. It’s awesome to get that extra bit of background info.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Overall, this was a terrific collection of stories! A solid 5-star rating from me.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Huge thanks to Titan Books for sending me a copy of the book.⁣⁣⁣⁣
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    This was quite an interesting and mixed collection of short stories, unfortunately, it wasn't for me.I don't know what it is about short stories but they just don't do much for me. I find it hard to engage with the stories and characters. I also find that they take me forever to read, because the reading process tends to be quite fragmented.Overall, I have no 5 stars to any of the stories in this book, there were no stand outs to me. I gave the majority 3 or 2 stars.My favourite story, was the s This was quite an interesting and mixed collection of short stories, unfortunately, it wasn't for me.I don't know what it is about short stories but they just don't do much for me. I find it hard to engage with the stories and characters. I also find that they take me forever to read, because the reading process tends to be quite fragmented.Overall, I have no 5 stars to any of the stories in this book, there were no stand outs to me. I gave the majority 3 or 2 stars.My favourite story, was the second to last one about feeding the ducks, I thought that one was quite creepy.My least favourite was the one about dog walkers, which I had to DNF. It was incredibly long and just one big ramble. Major trigger warnings for suicide in it went go away, its incredibly graphic.I did also like the last story, as it liked back to my favourite Paul Tremblay book 'a head full of ghosts'. Overall, this short story collection was okay, but it wasn't really my favourite thing I've read nor my favourite book by him
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  • Micah Unice
    January 1, 1970
    It's been really cool watching Tremblay's language evolve. He's one of my favorite authors, but I've always had a hard time with the self-awareness of his prose. Here he's reached a new plane. There are so many voices in these stories. Every single entry is poignant. (Merry and Marjorie from A Head Full of Ghosts even make an appearance!) I tried limiting myself to one story every two days, but that didn't last. I hope his career is a long one.
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  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    Review Coming to Blog and Booklist Magazine Soon
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    I was really looking forward to this book when I saw it on NetGalley. I've read Paul's work before and really dig it. Unfortunately, I struggled with the majority of the stories here.But, The Getaway was a fantastic story. The way it was written kept the truth about what was happening well hidden. The story with out a title and Where We All Will Be were also great stories. These two creepy and unsettling in a way that is hard to describe. Overall, I didn't dig enough of this book for me to recom I was really looking forward to this book when I saw it on NetGalley. I've read Paul's work before and really dig it. Unfortunately, I struggled with the majority of the stories here.But, The Getaway was a fantastic story. The way it was written kept the truth about what was happening well hidden. The story with out a title and Where We All Will Be were also great stories. These two creepy and unsettling in a way that is hard to describe. Overall, I didn't dig enough of this book for me to recommend it.
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  • Wally Flangers
    January 1, 1970
    This was an excellent collection of short stories, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed…. Do not be misled by my 3 star rating…. I am extremely strict with my rating system (I presently only have five books on my list that I have given 5 star reviews), especially with short story collections. The only short story collection or anthology I have ever rated higher than 3 stars on “goodreads” is Stephen King’s, “Nightshift”…. And even THAT classic had a few stories that I wasn’t fond of. My 3 star rev This was an excellent collection of short stories, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed…. Do not be misled by my 3 star rating…. I am extremely strict with my rating system (I presently only have five books on my list that I have given 5 star reviews), especially with short story collections. The only short story collection or anthology I have ever rated higher than 3 stars on “goodreads” is Stephen King’s, “Nightshift”…. And even THAT classic had a few stories that I wasn’t fond of. My 3 star reviews equate to 4 or 5 stars to most people on this site so don’t think I didn’t enjoy this book. I liked it enough to plan on buying the hardcopy on July 2nd and revisiting at least a few of these stories again, put it that way…..As with any short story collection, you are always going to come across a few stories that you love, a few stories that you thought were satisfying, and a few stories that you do not care for or would define as a complete waste of time…. But there are a lot of great stories in this collection to make up for any that you may dislike, such as; “Growing Things”, “(_____)”, “It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks”, and “The Thirteenth Temple”.As with all my short story collection reviews, I offer a warning…. Some of the reviews of each individual story includes a brief synopsis, which may or may not include a SPOILER. I write my short story reviews this way for future reference to remind me of which ones are worth the time re-reading and which ones are not. Although I do not ruin a good story by announcing any significant spoiler….. If you happen to come across one, it will be in a story that I hated and never intend on reading again. But, you can avoid potentially stumbling across a spoiler by skipping to the very bottom of the review, where it says “FINAL VERDICT”. That is where my overall review for “Growing Things and Other Stories” is listed. The stories within the book include;GROWING THINGS – This story is from Tremblay’s 2010 anthology, “In the Mean Time”…. It was also released as a chapbook in 2015. This was the perfect opener for this book and is about growing plants that are swallowing up the isolated home of a family and everything around it, quite possibly even the world…. With a shortage of supplies needed for survival, Merry and Marjorie Bennett’s (“Head Full of Ghosts”) father decide that he needs to leave the confines of the home to search for more food and water so the family does not starve to death as the dense plants barricade them in. As their father says his goodbye’s and reassures them that he will return as soon as he can, he steps out into the world. During his absence, Merry spends time exploring the basement and searching for misplaced or forgotten canned foods. The story takes an unexpected turn when Merry uncovers a dark secret down there…. I thought “Growing Things” was awesome with a lot of suspense and science fiction. This was, by far, my favorite story in the collection.SWIM WANTS TO KNOW IF IT’S AS BAD AS SWIM THINKS – This was published in a magazine issue of Bourbon Penn in 2013 and was also published in an anthology edited by Laird Barron and Michael Kelly, titled, “Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume One”, one year later. It focuses on a drug addicted “Big-Y” cashier (wonderful combo), who swallows some meth and decides to kidnap her eight-year-old daughter, Julie, from her estranged mother, who she refers to as “Gran” since winning a court custody battle over Julie seven years prior…. The meth addict walks Julie to a house down the road, which is under construction and only half finished, and starts trippin’ her balls off. Naturally, the child is scared out of her mind and has no idea who this stranger is. All she knows is that she wants her Gran and needs to get away from the psychopath who grabbed her. This was a great story. “Swim Wants to Know….” is a sad reminder that this type of story happens every day.SOMETHING ABOUT BIRDS – This was published in a 2017 anthology titled, “Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales”, edited by Ellen Datlow and was also published in an anthology edited by Laird Barron and Michael Kelly, titled, “Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume Five”, one year later. The story opens up with Ben Piotroskwi, a writer for an emerging magazine called, “The New Dark Review”, who interviews a horror writer named William Wheatley, about the last short story he ever wrote, titled, “Something About Birds”. After the interview is over, William hands Ben a very special gift along with an exclusive invite…. I actually have mixed feelings about this story. It captivated my interested the entire time and was on its way to becoming among my favorites in the book until I reached the ending scene. That is when things got a bit confusing for me. Could that be because of the bottle of Pinot I had ingested prior to starting the story or the J I smoked during it? Sure can…. Regardless, there was a point where it seemed confusing. Call me a pervert or superficial male, but when I think of naked people wearing masks, the word “orgy” immediately comes to mind. Not some crazy people asking someone to choose between “talons or beak”. But, I really liked reading snippets of the interview throughout the story. The dual imagery created a nice balance.THE GETAWAY – This was published in a short story collection titled, “Supernatural Noir”, released in 2011 and edited by Ellen Datlow. This story is about four friends who rob a pawn shop in Worcester, MA that doesn’t end up going as planned. While three of the masked perpetrators are performing the stick-up inside the shop, three gun shots (possibly even four) can be heard from outside by the driver of the getaway car. Moments later, the robbers exit and take off in the getaway car with the a large sack and shortly after, realize that they got more than they bargained for. Despite the story starting off with an action sequence and maintaining that pace, I wasn’t that interested in the story until a supernatural twist was presented. That turned my mood around and suddenly gained my interest. I ended up being totally engaged in the story by the end.NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT – This was published in a short story collection titled, “Cape Cod Noir”, released in 2011 and edited by David J. Ulin…. Within the story, a narrator has a photo album with nineteen pictures inside of it, all of which he took during a family vacation in Nantucket when he was thirteen years old. Each photo is numbered and has a little tale behind it, told in a first person narrative. This concept really breaks up the story nicely and left you wondering what the photos were ultimately going to reveal. Although all nineteen stories have an individual backstory, they all also tell one, big tale. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it is pretty depressing. Your heart may sink once you find out the tragedy the boy discovers while going on his photo collecting quest…. On the flip side, if you’re a cold hearted bastard then you may snicker. Consider your reaction your own personal psychology test.WHERE WE ALL WILL BE – This one was published in an anthology titled, “The Grimscribe’s Puppets”, released in 2013 and edited by Joseph Pulver. After falling asleep on his parents couch, Zane (odd name) wakes up one morning to find his parents in a state of horrified panic and confusion…. He eventually learns why as the chaos and a catastrophe of epic proportions unfolds around him…. Although “Where We All Will Be” was very well written, it was very strange and confusing. Unfortunately, I can’t say I was very fond of it. I typically always have a hard on for apocalyptic stories, but I did not find this one very satisfying. At this time, I do not plan to ever read this one again.THE TEACHER – This was published by ChiZine in 2007 and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story. You can find the story within Tremblay’s 2010 anthology, “In the Mean Time”. It was also released as a chapbook in 2015. The story is about a history teacher named, Mr. Sorent, who has a very unconventional way of teaching his classroom full of students…. He shows the class surveillance footage of an eight year old boy being irresponsibly elevated and spun around like a typhoon by his teacher (sounds just a tad reckless). Mr. Sorent, shows the frames to the students so they can analyze and interpreting the frames. Each frame shows the boys head getting closer and closer to smashing against the wall. I had high expectations for “The Teacher” and was a somewhat let down after reading it. It was very well written and I liked the suspense and tales of horror, but I wasn’t pleased with how the story ended.NOTES FOR “THE BARN IN THE WILD” – This one was published in an anthology titled, “The Children of Old Leech”, released in 2014 and edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justine Steele. It is about a mathematician named, Tommy, who pulls a Christopher McCandless and sets off on a journey through Canada with the help of “The Black Guide” and goes missing in Labrador. Tommy’s body is discovered and reported by a father and son who stumble across his body. Despite some strange findings and five fingers missing from Tommy’s hand, the coroner concluded starvation was the likely cause of death. Tommy’s diary is read by Paul Tremblay’s narrator to detail out the events which led to his disappearance. “Notes for The Barn in the Wild” was a pretty good story. Nothing that I haven’t read before, but still a fun little mystery. It is the kind of story you would get if you threw “The Blair Witch Project” and “Into the Wild” into a blender, set on “puree”….________ – This story is told by an unidentified narrator from a first person point-of-view. The narrator is a married man who is approached by a flirtatious chick he met at a friend’s party the previous weekend, which he attended with his wife, Shelley. Although he didn’t speak to the woman at the party, the woman acts like they are the best of friends and sits beside him to engage in “friendly” conversation. The narrator quickly starts exhibiting feelings of guilt and worries everyone at the beach is going to assume he is having an affair. Of course, the last thing a man needs is a Lorena Bobbitt reenactment, so the dude decides the family better bail…. Acting like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction”, the woman chases the dude down and puts a big dent in his afternoon plans. At first, I was not fond of the way this story ended…. But after reading it a second time, because I couldn’t get it out of my head, I ended up thinking it was brilliant.OUR TOWN’S MONSTER – This one was published in an anthology titled, “The Black Room Manuscripts: Volume Three”, released in 2018 and edited by Daniel Marc Chant and J.R. Park. Within that anthology it is actually titled, “These Are Our Own Town’s Monsters”. Since the ARC copy of “Growing Things and Other Stories” has it titled, “Our Town’s Monster”, I am wondering if the original title will be used when the final book is released. Anyway, this one is very short story with a confusing plot. I am not even sure there really is a plot. It is more like cutscenes filled with pointless dialogue that reveal no explanations or answers to anything other than pointing out that a “humanoid” monster does indeed exist in the town. I can’t say that I was fond of this one. My time is very precious to me and I need a solid plotline when I read something to utilize that time slot for entertaining purposes, not to guess what’s going on and get receive answers at the end of it.A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN – This one was published in an anthology titled, “Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories”, released in 2016 and edited by Dough Murano and D. Alexander Ward and was also published in an anthology titled, “Phantoms”, released in 2018 and edited by Marie O’Regan. Any horror genre anthology needs a story about a haunted house, right? This one is an old, crappy colonial in New England…. Fiona, some smokin’ hot blonde chick (at least in MY mind), visits the home of her youth…. A home full of horrific memories and a ghost in each room to go along with them. The story takes you on a tour through Fiona’s old house and inside her mind. I thought it was very well constructed. I liked how the scenes were broken up by each room…. My favorite parts were the stories that Sam told Fiona about the ghosts in each room and the horror behind the details of their deaths. Paul Tremblay proved that as cliché as a haunted house story may be at this point, he can still make it his own and write one that you will find entertaining. I thought it was great….IT WON’T GO AWAY – This one was published in issue #37 of “Dark Discoveries” in 2017 and is narrated by an unnamed author, mourning over the recent suicide death of his friend, Peter. Peter was an author as well and the two authors would often go to book readings and signings together to promote their work. Days after Peters suicide, the narrator receives two post-dated envelopes in the mail from Peter. One envelope contains a creepy photo with a thank you note and the other contains a note with two sentences hand written on it that will have your mind trying to wrap around the meaning for a bit. This was an awesome story, but I will say that if you have any past experience with someone who has committed suicide, “It Won’t Go Away” may trigger an emotional response by the end of it. The climax of the story reminded me of Robert Budd Dwyer’s tragic final speech, which was captured on live television.NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERS – This is a new novelette written specifically for this collection. Every wealthy dog owner needs a professional dog walking service who they can trust to walk and spend some quality time with their beloved K-9 on a daily basis…. But what if one or two of these dog walkers ends up being nuts? Can they still be trusted inside of your home when you are not present, grabbing your dog and taking it for a walk? Although I liked how this story was constructed and seeing how the dog walkers correspond with one another, I think the story dragged a bit.FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR THE SOMNABULIST – This was previously published in a 2016 anthology titled, “The Madness of Dr. Caliqari”, edited by Joseph S. Pulver. This one takes you inside the mind of a mother, dad, and a child and the questions that arise within…. All of the doubts and fears within each person eventually lead to one, final question in the end…. One which most (but certainly not all) human beings are haunted by. As humans, it is in our nature to destroy ourselves, but to also fight for our existence.THE ICE TOWER – This one is about a group of rock climbers who are in the midst of climbing a rock wall, which can best be described as a tower of ice that is half the height of the Empire State Building…. Every group of climbers (no matter how insane or in-shape they are) is always going to have one or two douchebags, I mean people, who are going to want to go ahead of the group and put their skills to the test to gain recognition and solidify their self-worth. There are two douchebags, I mean men, in this story who fit into that category…. Although I liked the story for what it was…. it is forgettable. It’s a good one to read if you are spending twenty minutes in an office waiting room, but that’s about it.THE SOCIETY OF THE MONSTERHOOD – This one was published in an anthology titled, “Dark Cities”, released in 2017 and edited by Christopher Golden. This one is about four kids whose parents hit a lottery which allows their children to attend a good school. The neighborhood community and bullies at school have taken to handing their levels of jealousy by tormenting and dishing out ass whippin’s for the foursome on a daily basis…. Once the fabulous four reach their teenage years and the new school year starts, they announce to everyone that they have a new name for their club, “The Society of the Monsterhood”, and tell all that if the ass kicking’s persist they will meet their demise. Who said the meek shall inherit the earth? The story is told from the perspective of someone in the neighborhood who witnessed these events and the scenes are separated by headers, which I found made it easier to read. This was a really fun story. You can’t go wrong with a revenge plotline and an unexplained disappearance.HER RED RIGHT HAND – This one was published in an anthology released in 2017 titled, “Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors”, edited by Christopher Golden. Another story about a cabin the woods, but this one has a creepy well. A well that is hundreds of years old, held together by crumbling mortar, and extends three feet above the ground (I am picturing “The Ring” in my mind)…. A little girl named, Gemma is living in the cabin with her family; a mother dying on her death bed and a father who is drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Gemma’s mother suffers from cystic fibrosis and she has chronic lung infections, which have progressed to a stage beyond conventional medical help. As the family goes through this very difficult time, the girl chooses to taker her anger out on a sketch pad. I thought this one was strange, but entertaining.IT’S AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED THE DUCKS – This story was first printed in the #2 issue of “Fantasy Magazine” in 2006 and was utilized four years later in Paul Tremblay’s 2010 short story collection titled, “In the Mean Time”. You can also find this story printed within a 2014 anthology called, “The New Black”, as well as a chapbook published by Chizine Publications. The setting of this story reminded me of “The Cabin at the End of the World” (published in 2018). This is about a family on vacation who is renting a cabin located on Lake Winnipesauke…. While the family is at the cabin, some form of catastrophic occurrence or possibly even an apocalypse takes place and has either wiped out all the residents or they deserted it altogether (welcome back to the world of ambiguity). This was still an enjoyable read. Paul Tremblay does a great job taking the reader inside the mind of a five-year-old boy.THE THIRTEENTH TEMPLE – This is another new story written specifically for this collection and is about Merry Bennett’s life years after the events which took place in Paul Tremblay’s 2015 novel, “A Head Full of Ghosts”. Merry has written and published a memoir of those years and is confronted by a mentally unstable interviewer who happens to be a psychotic fan of hers and wants to know details and Merry’s darkest secrets that were never told on screen. This was a great, new edition and short sequel to the novel. However, if you haven’t read, “A Head Full of Ghosts, I would suggest skipping this story until you do. Some things that are mentioned within may ruin that novel for you, otherwise.FINAL VERDICT: I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this short story collection to any fan of Paul Tremblay. If you are familiar with his work, then you know that a lot of his writing is suspenseful and typically ambiguous. A good bulk of these stories capitalize on that. Please note, I would recommend that you read “A Head Full of Ghosts” (published in 2015) and “Disappearance at Devil’s Rock” (published in 2016), prior to starting “Growing Things and Other Stories”. You actually have plenty of time to knock those out too because this book will not be released until July 2, 0219. This review was based on the ARC copy that I received in early April.
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  • The Library Ladies
    January 1, 1970
    (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )I want to extend a thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!I’ll be honest and up front here. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but short story collections aren’t really my thing. True, I will pick them up every once in awhile if the book really tantalizes me (hence the collections I’ve read on here), but overall I tend to avoid them. That said, when I found out that Paul Tremblay’s newest book, “Growing Things a (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )I want to extend a thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!I’ll be honest and up front here. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but short story collections aren’t really my thing. True, I will pick them up every once in awhile if the book really tantalizes me (hence the collections I’ve read on here), but overall I tend to avoid them. That said, when I found out that Paul Tremblay’s newest book, “Growing Things and Other Stories”, was going to be a short stories collection, I was basically like "I ACCEPT IT!" I did go in with my usual worries and hesitations regarding short story collections, but I also had faith that I would probably like it overall. And that faith paid off for the most part! I enjoyed a number of the stories in “Growing Things”. And as I usually do with short stories collections on this blog, I’ll focus on some of the favorite stories from the book and why I liked them, with a general write up at the end.“A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken”First thing to note is that the format of this book didn’t QUITE work in eARC form, as it’s designed to be like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ novel. When you have an ARC that doesn’t have ALL the kinks worked out (as far as I know), AND it’s on an eReader, that removes some of the intent to this story. But, all of that said, I found “A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken” to be one of the most emotional stories in this collection, as well as creepy as heck at times. It involves a woman revisiting her childhood home, and having to recount the memories of living there. Some of those memories are about the various ghosts that haunted the house and made her childhood creepy. Others involve her mother who was dying of cancer. Along with some visceral and unsettling imagery, Tremblay really tapped into the grief of losing a parent, and how that kind of loss can haunt a person just as much as the ghosts in the story haunted the house. I definitely teared up a number of times as I read this story. Tremblay is so good with pathos.“The Ice Tower”For those of you who like “The Thing” and other ice/cosmic horror, this is a tale you will probably enjoy. When a group of adrenaline junkie climbers are recruited to explore a giant, mysterious pillar of ice, it isn’t just the cold and snow that they have to worry about. Slowly it becomes clear that there is something otherworldly, and wholly threatening, about the ice wall. One of the main features of cosmic horror is that you never QUITE know what is going on, and you can’t expect explanations to go along with the terrible events that will surely unfold, and with “The Ice Tower” the ambiguity was rampant. As someone who knows cold and knows the horrors that can come with it (albeit natural ones in my experience), this story really resonated with me and set me on edge. I also couldn’t help but think about the fact that one of the most notorious ice climbs, Mount Everest, had such a deadly year this past year, which made this terrifying in it’s own way, supernatural scares aside.“It’s Against The Law To Feed The Ducks”The third story that stuck with me was this one, which had both a sense of existential dread and a childlike whimsy within it’s pages. Through the eyes of a little boy, a family goes on a remote family vacation in the woods. But during this vacation, something on a global scale happens, and we see it unfold through the perspective of a child who doesn’t understand what’s going on, and whose parents are trying to shield him from it. If you want to talk about unsettling ambiguity, this one knocked it out of the park. It also reminded me a bit of “The Cabin at the End of the World” in it’s themes. The reader never quite figures out just what it is that has happened, and the childish lens that we see everything through is written very well, and made it all the more upsetting. This was probably my favorite in the entire collection.In terms of the stories as a whole, there was a lot to like. We get revisits to characters in Tremblay’s book “A Head Full of Ghosts”, we get to see some more monster stories, and even Hellboy makes an appearance (as Tremblay wrote for a collection that was in tribute to “Hellboy” and Mike Mignola)! While I thought that the three I mentioned were far and away the best of the book, there were other strong stories as well. While not many of them really ‘scared’ me, I did find them all to be pretty entertaining.“Growing Things and Other Stories” is a nice sampler of the kinds of stories Paul Tremblay has to offer, and I think that horror fans really need to check it out! And like always, make sure to have some tissues handy, because you will probably cry.
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Growing Things is an incredible collection of short stories! I adored the way they were all really different as well as the order these were placed. Most left me with a sense of unease. I especially loved how they felt like the perfect length. I feel like I can't really give a synopsis of these as it may give away too much."Where We All Will Be" left me unsettled."Notes from the Dog Walkers" was a build up to madness."It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks" left me feeling sad and horrified."It Growing Things is an incredible collection of short stories! I adored the way they were all really different as well as the order these were placed. Most left me with a sense of unease. I especially loved how they felt like the perfect length. I feel like I can't really give a synopsis of these as it may give away too much."Where We All Will Be" left me unsettled."Notes from the Dog Walkers" was a build up to madness."It's Against the Law to Feed the Ducks" left me feeling sad and horrified."It Won't Go Away" was tense and made me keep going to the end."Growing Things" and "The Thirteenth Temple" were emotional and horrifying.I honestly would name just about every single story if I could.Paul Tremblay is an amazing author and I highly recommend this book! It releases next month.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    I would give this a 3.75! This was a hard one for me to stay interested in! Tremblay’s writing was great as always it’s just the stories themselves just didn’t hold or grab me as his full length novels do! There are some great shorts in here, a few of my favorites are Notes From the Dog Walkers, Her Red Right Hand-this one gave me the feels, and It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks! To be honest, my feelings reading this were I just wanted to get through it, and this surprised me as I have so I would give this a 3.75! This was a hard one for me to stay interested in! Tremblay’s writing was great as always it’s just the stories themselves just didn’t hold or grab me as his full length novels do! There are some great shorts in here, a few of my favorites are Notes From the Dog Walkers, Her Red Right Hand-this one gave me the feels, and It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks! To be honest, my feelings reading this were I just wanted to get through it, and this surprised me as I have so enjoyed his other works!
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  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    Each story showcased the author writing in completely different form and presented similar themes throughout. I really had a great time reading this and recommend reading the stories in order ;). Some, the bookends- feature characters from his novel Head Full of Ghosts, also a great read :) also there was a notes section in the back so after each reading session I’d flip back and read the authors notes/feelings on the work he’d done which was a new experience for me. I liked that
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