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The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Jacob M Appel (Author)

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4717349,722 (4.61)3
Member:m.belljackson
Title:The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street
Authors:Jacob M Appel (Author)
Info:Howling Bird Press (2016), 184 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Equal Rights, Family, Mental Illness

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The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street by Jacob M. Appel (2016)

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I received this book for free and mostly loved all the stories.
The following are the reviews for the stories:

1. The Current Occupant - Story about a house that gets moved to another location. I loved this story about the poor husband who's summer home got delivered another spot in the woods where he ex is now living. I couldn't stand the wife and was hoping for a different ending.

2. The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street - Story about a widow who likes to sunbathe without a top on. Story was interesting how it kept getting worse for the son and the ending was classic with the judge.

3. Lessons in Platygaeanism - Story about a crazy uncle telling his nephews that the world is flat. The family is mostly arguing regarding this information. It was an ok story. I liked the surprise towards the end and the end was ok.

4. Bioethics for Dunces - Story about a father who's daughter tries to commit suicide but fails and winds up in a coma. The irony is that the father's career is to prolong someone's life that is in a coma however, he has a hard time to do that with his comatose daughter. Good story and loved the ending.

5. One Wish - Story about a vet finding a bottle with a genie in it and being granted one wish. Good story and interesting how much time he chose to try to figure out the best wish and in the end he gave it away. Loved it.

6. Toward Uncharted Waters - Story about a husband whose wife is disabled and they live on a boat. He is enticed by the parties the neighbors have and slowly starts spending more time with them instead of his wife. Really good story and excellent ending.

7. Rendezvous in Wikiternity - Very cute story about an actress trying to figure out weird stuff popping about her on Wikipedia. Loved this love story and happy ending.

8. Long Term - Meh. DNF. It was about iron lungs and was boring. Couldn't get into it.

All in all the 7 stories were great reads and I had to take a star off for the 8th story. ( )
  booklover3258 | May 23, 2018 |
Jacob Appel has quickly become my favorite short story author. Just by his titles alone, he piques my interest and desire to read his collections. Each of his stories is unquestionably unique. His tales stand out from other authors because of his distinctive writing qualities which include his uncanny ability to create characters that we feel like we know and understand. I think Mr. Appel’s experience as a psychiatrist enables him not only to craft his characters, but facilitates his thought-provoking, entertaining, and believable written works. This is my second collection of short stories by Jacob Appel, which I have read. I don’t just read his short stories, I devour them! Every twist, every turn, every revelation, every shock, every amazing detail…I devour them. I am not going to give away any details of his short stories; it would be unkind. I will tell you that the stories in this grouping are not as twisted as the stories in “Einstein’s Beach House”, but they are just as captivating!

I was given a copy by the author for me to review. ( )
  CindyJameson | Jul 2, 2017 |
Second Guessing
The short stories narrate the impact unexpected changes in relationships make individuals focus on the minuscule details. A solitary thread of loneliness is woven through out as emotions change, venues change, and people change. There is a price to pay for those who hesitate and those on fast forward. Overall, it is an interesting examination of the human condition for ordinary people.

I was randomly chosen through a LibraryThing Giveaway to receive this book free from the author. Although encouraged, I was under no obligation to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  bemislibrary | Jul 2, 2017 |
Man, oh man- this gentleman is brilliant! I might have guessed an “American author, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic” according to Wikipedia, would produce some stellar writing, but still wasn’t prepared for how fully invested I’d be in each story in Jacob M. Appel’s The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street! The characters are so very developed and the dialogue is beyond reproach, something I fully appreciate since I struggle with it so much in my own writing. Tied together by the thread of hard-earned wisdom from the passage of time, Appel’s collection reminds readers that there is so very much more to a person–their trials and tribulations, their passions, their earth-shattering losses– than what meets the eye.

I’ve read short stories that go for the jugular. Kill off a baby, blow up an entire town. Effective, perhaps, but cheap, in most cases. Appel’s stories could not be further from that. Profound in his accuracy of portraying the human condition, Appel delves into ethical, moral, and spiritual arguments in this collection. Whether in the form of a comatose teenager or an elderly exhibitionist, he asks readers to consider a schema outside of their own. Things aren’t always as black and white, right and wrong, as they at first appear.

If you are looking for a smart read, pick up The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street from Howling Bird Press, “the publishing house of Augsburg College’s MFA in Creative Writing, which offers an annual prize that results in book publication, ” per its site. (Current submissions are open for poetry manuscripts and close June 30th!) The stories will certainly inspire much elevated dialogue at your summer barbecue or pool party! Speaking of, I can’t wait to dive into Coulrophobia and Fata Morgana, another of Appel’s superb short story collections.

*- I received a copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review.

bookwormshawn.wordpress.com ( )
  Bookwormshawn | May 31, 2017 |
Once I began reading the first story in The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, the short story collection by Jacob M. Appel, I knew I had something special in front of me. There are eight stories and each one is original, beautifully written and meaningful.
The opening story, The Current Occupant, is about a man who buys a house online. After the house briefly goes missing he does find it and the surprising occupant. The title story, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, is a real gem with an important message. Lessons in Platygaeanism is the study of true loyalty. Bioethics for Dunces tells of the worst of all losses. One Wish is about a man who releases a genie from a bottle and is granted one wish. What would you wish for? That is the dilemma he faces. For him, the decision is not so easy. Toward Unchartered Waters opens with a tragedy , moves on to the dangers of infatuation and vanity and the often disastrous results. Rendezvous in Wikiternity is the delightful tale about a creative use of a Wikipedia entry. Long Term is about a most unusual collection.
When I finished the last page of the last story, I wished there more stories. The author is a gifted story teller. He has crafted unique and engrossing stories about the often unpredictable paths our lives can take. I highly recommend reading this memorable short story collection.
I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opinions expressed in this review are my own. ( )
  SAMANTHA100 | May 26, 2017 |
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For Rosie, Ruth & Theia
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Idiot that he was - and every time Lewinter dozed off, his wife wok him to remind him of his infernal stupidity - he'd bought a house from a mail-order catalog.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0996195211, Paperback)

Fiction. The eight stories in THE TOPLESS WIDOW OF HERKIMER STREET are smart, funny, and humane. In "Bioethics for Dunces," which takes its name from the title of a college course its main character Leonard teaches, Leonard suddenly finds that academic and abstract issues are all too real when his own daughter goes on life support. He and his wife disagree about what to do. A quote from this story speaks to the philosophical quandary that many of these stories explore: "The underlying problem was that Leonard's situation lacked a governing social convention." Many of Appel's stories feature characters grappling with moral, ethical, and philosophical situations that lack governing social conventions. His stories show how ethics--something that sounds like an academic abstraction--can be concrete, visceral, and immediate. With compassion, wit, humor, and intelligence, these stories explore the gray areas of our lives. Echoes of myth, fairy tale, and fable flavor them, underscoring the eternal nature of both the human condition and storytelling itself.

In a starred review Kirkus Reviews described Jacob Appel's THE TOPLESS WIDOW OF HERKIMER STREET as a collection of "well- constructed stories that sharply but compassionately observe people trying to make sense of life's disruptions" and that "come to...thoughtful, often wrenching conclusions."

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 11 Oct 2016 11:08:19 -0400)

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