Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Lois W. Stern
Author: Lois W. Stern
Lois W. Stern has compiled several collections of short stories about everyday incidents in the lives of ordinary people, incidents that remain etched in the memory, long after the actual happenings occurred. The qualities that these incidents evoke could be as diverse as compassion, inspiration, coincidence, personal awakenings and stories that echo in the mind. The qualities in each collection of stories highlight the properties of a particular gem. In this book, she explores the quality of humor in what she calls her crystal collection.
Lois admits in her introduction to this book that it was difficult for her to choose stories on this particular subject, since humor is such an ingrained part of life. Besides, there is a subjective aspect to this issue, many readers could vehemently disagree on whether a story is funny or not. Nevertheless, Lois has put in a fair amount of thought to this problem and classified her prize winning entries under five broad categories.
The first of these categories are stories to do with children. There are six in toto, involving children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. My personal favorite is the last story in this category which contains a refreshingly accurate narrative of being a mother to teenagers by Mickie Peluso. It is a piece of writing that any parent of a teenager can identify with.
The second category under which the stories are classified has to do with love and romance. Here, there are two stories about couples coming together and one about a special anniversary present of chocolates.
The third category explores stories about the diversity of human beings. Two of them have been penned by the author herself, one of them being about a special red haired woman. Another has to do with the administration of justice in a parking lot. A fourth has to do with the author having lunch with a well known feminist, while a fifth concerns a teacher’s visit to the dentist.
The fourth category of stories deal with the concept of mixed blessings. Two of them, deal, predictably enough, with problems with technology. Of the rest, one deals with the right way to grow a certain species of violets, a fourth, about relatives coming to stay while a fifth, recounts the joys of living alone after a spouse has passed on.
The fifth and last category of stories deals with learning by hindsight. Here, we have a story of a woman who fills up for her husband at a fast food diner, and a man who learns to his discomfiture that one cannot learn the art of sailing by reading alone. Two other stories in this category deal with men roughing it out in difficult situations, a third involves an encounter in a train while another has to do with a lost dog.
The various stories have been meticulously chosen on account of their clear readability, reflecting as they do their award winning status. Some writers appear more than once, these are Mickie Peluso, Jamie Sadler, Jan Hurst Nicholson and of course, Lois herself.
The presentation of these diverse entries on humour is not an easy task and Lois has made a commendable job of showcasing how humor can emerge out of some very difficult situations, situations that were not really funny but turn out that way with hindsight. Many people will recognize themselves and their own life experiences amid the stories in this book.
This book would be perfect reading at a time of self- introspection or as a pickup during alone time, when one needs some distance from oneself.