Hi friends, Jess here!
I know it’s been a hot minute, but I’m back and hopefully for longer this time! During my writing slump, I’ve literally done nothing but read. So today – surprise, surprise – I’ve got another book review for you.
Continue reading for my thoughts on Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell.
*Many thanks to Strange Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here-on out are my own.*
Nothing Is Strange is honestly one of the most bizarre books I have ever read, and I mean that in the best possible way! Despite having many mind-boggling stories, it’s a super quick read; I say that, but you certainly have to be in the right frame of mind to read it coherently. I absolutely flew through this (in probably about 40 minutes, give or take?), but it did take some getting used to!
20 mind-expanding short stories.
Inspiring, 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!
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
Nothing Is Strange is a collection of twenty short stories that are written with the purpose of opening your mind, expanding your thoughts and showing that everything, and I mean everything, is absolutely normal. As my first introduction to Mike Russell’s work, this was a truly unusual and unique reading experience! Some of my favourites include ‘Stan and Stan’, ‘Extraordinary Elsie’, ‘The Living Crown’ and ‘Mask Man’.
This is definitely one of those books where you need to rely heavily on your own imagination. Each story is unique in itself and truly pushes the boundaries between what is and what isn’t possible. If your reading experience is to be anything like mine, you can expect to be exclaiming ‘WHAAAAAT?! after the first few short stories. However, as you start to let your imagination take over and let yourself be open to the idea that nothing is strange (see what I did there? 🤭), you start to pick up on the hidden meanings and messages embedded throughout.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a few favourites, but equally there were the odd couple of stories that didn’t really sit right with me. But such is the beauty of compilations; it just goes to show that although this collection may not be for everyone, there is certainly something in it for everyone. I would have loved to have some of the stories expanded on, but alas, this is only a compilation of short stories. I am definitely intrigued to read more of Mike Russell’s work though!
One of my favourite things about Nothing Is Strange is the way that the author is able to conjure up these bizarre images and scenarios in the reader’s head, regardless of how impossible everything should be.
I feel that with a book like this that is so out-there, having it broken into smaller stories helps make it more manageable for those of us who are just getting into the world of strange and wonderful reading material. I think my brain would have overloading and frazzled if this was a 600 page novel about beards being made out of transparent bees and love having tentacles. And yes… It get’s weirder.
Overall, I did enjoy this super quick read and it’s definitely something a bit different to the usual YA Fantasy that I tend to gravitate towards. Now that I think about it, a hell of a lot different! 🤣 It’s one that I know I will keep thinking about long after writing this review!
Have you read any of Mike Russell’s work? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any recommendations for books that are similar to this, feel free to share.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and I’ll see you in the next one!