Stories for Nighttime And Some for The Day is, as you may have guessed, a book of short stories. One of them could probably fit into a single Tweet!

Each short story feels like a parable or a fable. I got the feeling that there was a lesson in each one, if only I could puzzle out what it was trying to tell me. This imaginative collection of stories refuses to hand the reader an obvious answer about what it all means.

One of my favorite short stories in the book is called “The Octopus”. It is about an octopus who lives in an apartment. His landlady brings up his mail. All of this is presented as though it is a perfectly normal occurrence.

There is a letter from his two nephews, who live in the ocean. The nephews want to come visit, and upon arriving, want their uncle to take them around the city. He wasn’t expecting they would want to do that, and is largely disappointed by having to be a tour guide.

When it is time for the nephews to return to the ocean, the octopus needs to make a decision. Should he go back to his apartment, or is it time for him to return to the ocean?

My take on this story is that it is about that moment when you look back upon your life, and a big decision you once made… and decide to abandon it in favor of returning to the life you had before. Your understanding of the story may be entirely different from mine. That’s the beauty of the stories in this book!

Another story that caught my attention is called “The Book”. A woman buys a book only to find that all of the pages are blank. The bookstore will not let her return it or exchange it. This makes the women irrationally angry at the book.

She begins complaining about the book, and her complaints … go viral, so to speak. She unintentionally makes the book even more popular than it would have been had she decided to just forget about it.

Years ago, I used to work in a big chain bookstore. Every so often, someone would come in to complain about a book that was currently rising in popularity (or was, at that moment, a best seller).

Catholics came in to complain about The DaVinci Code (by Dan Brown) to insist that it was blasphemous and should be removed from the shelves. Confused people, who believed that if their children read the Harry Potter books they would actually learn magic, complained about those books being in the children’s section.

The result was always the same. The complaints caused more people to become curious about whatever the controversial book was. In other words, I can relate to this particular short story from personal experience.

Other stories in the book are not so dreamy. There are some rather terrifying stories that are creepy and confusing. I didn’t need to know what those stories were about to feel a visceral shiver as I read through them.

I found the story about martians being treated as “the help”, and another story about an alien spaceship and two people who fell in love with each other, to be fascinating. Overall, reading these short stories reminded me of when I was a child and exploring the world inside of a new book with wonder and acceptance.

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day – By Ben Loory is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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