I chose this book because it was on my floor. It’s a Scholastic book from 1963, when my mother would have been starting high school. Not that the books was hers, of course–I picked it up somewhere later. But it’s interesting to think that this book was targeted to kids, well, kids my mother’s age, in the middle 1960s.
The book contains:
- “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier. The concept is the same as the Hitchcock film that came out in the same year–the birds are murderous–but the story, set in Britain instead of California, is completely different.
- “Of Missing Persons” by Jack Finney, wherein a man is given an opportunity to travel to a far different place.
- “Midnight Blue” by John Collier. A woman dreams that her husband has murdered his partner, and she recounts her dream in uncanny detail.
- “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keys, which was made into the 1968 film Charly which I tried to watch recently.
- “Taste” by Roald Dahl, wherein a host at an elaborate dinner party wagers a gourmand that he cannot guess the vintage of the claret, with the stakes being his daughter.
- “Two Bottles of Relish” by Lord Dunsay, wherein a man suspected of killing his wife is watched but they cannot figure out how he would have disposed of the body.
- “Charles” by Shirley Jackson, wherein a child’s tales about the naughtiest boy in the kindergarton makes his parents want to meet Charles’ parents at the school open house.
- “The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets” by Jack Finney, wherein a man risks his life to retrieve a business paper that has blown onto the apartment building’s ledge and regrets his decision.
- “The Perfectionist” by Margaret St. Clair, wherein a man’s aunt helps him out financially, but her methods for preserving art subjects make him uneasy.
Overall, I liked the book. The stories were short and clever and made me want to write short stories like this. Kind of like the inspiration I felt reading The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet inspired me yet to finish a short story like this. I am too busy reading these books to actually write anything.