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I received a free copy of this paperback book from Strange Books in exchange for an honest review Nothing is Strange is the first collection of short stories by Mike Russell I m thrilled to have the opportunity to read this weird and wonderful collection after having enjoyed his work in Strange Medicine In this collection, we get to see a wider variety of his style with twenty stories I liked all of the stories featured here, but my favorites are The Warehouse , The Meeting , Barry and the Triplets , Extraordinary Elsie , Mask Man , Stan and Stan , and The Living Crown These uniquely surreal stories aren t for everyone, but all of them are really well put together As for all of the stories I mentioned above, I wouldn t say no to hearing a little from those worlds or having each of them expanded to something a bit longer If you like Karen Russell s style from Vampires in the Lemon Grove, you may want to give strange, in the best way, tales a look Thanks again to Strange Books for this wonderful opportunity Thank you to the author for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review I enjoyed this It was a really quick, quirky read I was so immersed in it that I actually didn t realize there were 20 stories until looking back on the synopsis after I read it It seems crazy to think about there being that many now because the whole thing just flew by.Of the 20, my favourites were The Miracle, Barry the Triplets, Lesley Visits the Barbers, and The Living Crown If I had to choose my top one, I would say The Living Crown it touched upon free will which really grabbed my attention.Reading this kind of takes you to a whole other world, one which was created by the author but also by your own mind filling the gaps that he leaves open for you, which is so fun Some of the stories I wish were a little bit longer, but other than that it was very well done and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good introduction to this genre I picked up this absolute gem of a little book yesterday afternoon and sort of just floated through it, in a good way There are twenty stories in this small book, obviously very short it s only 144 pages long but definitely powerful What I discovered is that while reading, I could actually visualize the author s bizarre characters and settings in my head and it was sort of like walking through a gallery of surrealist paintings That s the best way I can describe it I wasn t blessed with the gift of eloquence in my writing as I m so fond of saying, I m a reader, not a writer , so that image will just have to do.I will say that this is not a book for everyone, for example, it probably wouldn t appeal to readers who have to have things spelled out, explained, etc., since that doesn t really happen here This is a book for people who enjoy a good think Its elegance lies in its simplicity, and its simplicity belies its complexity It is dark, definitely designed for people who want something different in their reading it s also one of those books I appreciate for its ability to go outside the box and push my own reading boundaries outside of the norm It is beyond cool, well beyond ordinary, and just so what I needed right now for , I ve posted about it at my online reading journal. Well that was some mighty fine false advertising, it says on the cover that Nothing is Strange that is complete hooey Everything in this book is strange, I really need to start reading the back of books before I start them, just to give myself a bit of warning for what I m getting myself into The stories are wonderful, some of the most bizarre things I ve ever read, I ve no idea what kind of mad man Mike Russell is, but he has to be pretty crazy to come up with these stories Each story starts off with a brief introduction, each time I had the narrator s voice from the twilight zone reading it in my head, in fact each of these stories would be perfect as episodes There is a quirky humour throughout that had me chuckling a fair bit I can t really explain any of the stories as they are too surreal to shorten down into a review, here are some amazing highlights A man criesThere is a right handThere is a beardInvisible beesBalls of fireAnd scones yes you heard me, scones Everybody give this book a go, you won t regret it. Nothing is Strange is an illicit, dairy based love affair between synthetic dreams and the sensors and nerves of your eyes It is nutritious but decadent written chocolate.Unfortunately, it isn t possible to concentrate paper and idea into a human, for this would be the most intriguing one to chat with But being your typical homunculus, it would probably be flawed somewhere vital and mope about mourning its own existence for always, and wouldn t want to chat at all Nothing is perfect as a short story collection could be It molds the shapes which only exist in the act of sleep and solidifies them into a theatre of little masterpieces Nothing is hypnotic, humorous, horrifying, and every other H word that we spit out in haste when we can t really describe what we feel It s truly neapolitan, and not only because one of its stories harbors a serious ice cream fetish.I stubbornly straddled the fence on this book for awhile even though it kept popping up, and the guilt for that is real If you re not sure, just try a small bite It pretty much becomes a vortex after that, and good luck running free from it.My particular favourites were Dunce , Escape From the Butcher s Shop , The Living Crown , Extraordinary Elsie and Stan and Stan Interestingly, these all stand out because they challenge the innate fatalism of people One is not always meant to be what it seems they will at birth, even if everyone they meet says otherwise Not when there is a whole world waiting out there whose mere touch can change anything More novelties and reviews on my blog Go crazy. What a great selection of shorts Russell works away in the background like a mystical trickster, the stories full of surreal imagery but somehow twisting them into the plausible reading of reality.Reading this collection reminded me of those first rushes of intellectual expansion that you own as an individual, and you spend too much time conjecturing on the nature of reality and everything is mind blowing What if instead of this everything was this But then this was really this Whoah These stories really are that much fun.Russell is a cajoling storyteller There is a warm and classic feel to the tone of these unexpected tales which lulls the reader into a compliant acceptance It s just as well Russell appears to have good intentions as these powers could wreak havoc in nefarious hands Instead he presents stories that have a keen mystical bent and carry the reader sage like through a pick n mix of straightforward faux innocent delights Yes, delights Unless I m missing something cynicism has left the building and what remains isn t twee or naive but unrooted, wise and generous Perhaps some sort of surrealist parable is closest The End of Sex, is too funny.It is possible that Russell is playing the fool like the classical fool, and that his stories with their deadpan tone and spiritual aspects should be taken as a simple way into personal truth Or they are wonderfully evocative mind bending tales that draw forth rich imagery laden with heavy symbolism Or they are a series of engrossing and entertaining pieces full of a refreshingly giving humour and lively mind s eye world Whatever, this was extremely enjoyable to read and I look forward to from this author. The first book I read on my Kindle Very pleasant This book is fascinating Strange short stories, which I realized at some point reminded me of Indian puranas, those lovely stories of Ganesha and co Myths, which reveal a bigger truth I don t know if that was the goal of the author, but it is a hard one to write contemporary myths Or maybe one could say these stories were like zen koans a bit, to bring one to a realization Or if you don t want to dig so deep, call them surrealist to please the western mind, as la Borges I found they were not strange just for strangeness s sake, and they are often funny Some times maybe too much was tried to create a metaphor, when the reader s subconsciousness could have finished the job The efficiency of short phrases and chapters was mostly good although at times I wished the story to go on I would love the illustrate this kind of literature &DOWNLOAD KINDLE ⇝ Nothing Is Strange ⇨ Mind Expanding Short StoriesInspiring, Liberating, Otherworldly, Magical, Surreal, Bizarre, Funny, Disturbing, Unique All Of These Words Have Been Used To Describe The Stories Of Mike Russell So Put On Your Top Hat, Open Your Third Eye And Enjoy Nothing Is Strange An enjoyable fast read Short quirky stories of the weirdest kind Highly entertaining. Nothing Is Strange is one of the strangest books I have ever read in my life That is not to say it s badly written, but you truly have to suspend reality to get through most of these short stories They are not your average plot driven stories but a series of short, weird, snippets of strange things happening to strange people The Pros 1 The cover image This, in my opinion, is one of the best, most creative, and eye catching covers I ve seen on a self published book This should be given as an example of good cover art.2 The chapters stories don t drag on With a book like this, I think if they were any longer then it would become very difficult to stay interested, but the author has made it easy for even the most distractable reader to stay plugged in.3 It delivers exactly what is promised Strangeness No frilly characters, no twisty complex plots The author keeps to his quirky, oddball voice The Cons 1 Hard to wrap your head around While I give kudos for staying true to his vision and his voice, I personally had a hard time not finishing each chapter with complete confusion Perhaps the author exists on a higher plane of intelligence than myself, as a great deal of truly strange people do, and there are hidden themes and meanings to each story but I couldn t decipher anything while reading Not a good book choice for people who like cut and dry, tangible themes or plots 2 Grammar and Punctuation If you get easily distracted by punctuation and grammar mistakes, you may find yourself unable to go through this book I am not sure if the errors are truly errors or just how the author meant to write it, but for me it was probably the hardest thing to get over in this work.