Book Review: GHOULS, FOOLS, AND RELATIONSHIP TOOLS by Ann Hite

Ghouls
Publisher: Black Mountain Press
Released: September 1, 2014
Length: 49 pages
Source: Kindle purchase
Rating: ★★★★


“Carly K came to Black Mountain on the tail-end of a bad storm in the summer of 1974. I should have given more thought to a woman alone blowing into a hick mountain community like it was something special, but to tell the truth, I was purely dazzled by that girl. The first time I laid eyes on her she had pulled her car off at Hocket Drop, one of my favorite places.”

A humorous short story collection from Ann Hite, award winning author of Ghost On Black Mountain, The Storycatcher, and Lowcountry Spirit. Whether you are familiar with Ms. Hite’s wonderfully crafted Appalachian characters or not, you will love these stories set in Black Mountain, North Carolina.


GHOULS, FOOLS, AND RELATIONSHIP TOOLS is a funny and folksy “short, short story” collection from Ann Hite. The five tales in this book take place over a 50-year period, beginning in the 1950s, and they are all tied to Black Mountain, North Carolina, the curious setting of Ms. Hite’s previous novels.

I’m usually not a fan of short stories, but anything connected to Black Mountain is a must read for me! I had a great time reading this book, getting to know some new characters, and revisiting some old ones. Ann Hite is a talented storyteller, and she’s my new go-to author for Southern Gothics. I would recommend starting with GHOST ON BLACK MOUNTAIN and going from there.  I think you’ll appreciate the short stories more. 4 stars!

P.S. How cute is that cover? Again, folksy!

Short Story Review: THE LOTTERY by Shirley Jackson

TheLottery
Original Publication: The New Yorker
Publication Date: June 26, 1948
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★★


The Lottery is a short story by Shirley Jackson which caused quite an uproar when it was published in 1948. It’s about an annual lottery held in a seemingly idyllic village, and readers don’t find out the winner’s prize until the end.

On the day of the drawing, the weather is gorgeous, and the townspeople happily gather in the square for the drawing, laughing and chatting amongst themselves. They talk about how this event has been a part of their village’s history for as long as anyone can remember, and though surrounding towns are doing away with the lottery, this particular village doesn’t want to mess with tradition.

This tale is short, but it packs quite a punch. It only took reading a couple of paragraphs before I got an ominous feeling about the whole thing, and the conclusion was nothing but disturbing. While a 21st century reader may or may not be as affected by the ending as the original audience, the underlying message of Jackson’s story is just as relevant today as ever. The Lottery is definitely worth reading a time or two.