Goodness! I wrote the Preview post for this book back in June. Whoa. The second half of this year has flown by. As I predicted in that post, the book was "dark [...] and a little kooky." And, as we have discussed before re: short story collections... uneven. I liked a few of these but most passed along unremarkably.
As it turns out, one that I mentioned in the comments is apparently famous. How do I know? I have stumbled across a reference to it not once, but twice this year! It's called Lamb to the Slaughter and features a woman killing her husband with a leg of lamb, then feeding the investigating officers the evidence (which they say "is probably right under our very noses!"  Har har.) It was made into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which probably aided its fame.
That first note says: "took a turn @ 'Claud's Dog' -- straight up weird shit (drugs?) + gruesome!! (dog torture)"
I am pleased to tell you that this is where "I can't remember books" comes in super handy. I do not remember the dog torture. And guess what? I am not going to look it up. I guess I'll remember NOW that there was some dog torture in this book cause I have now written this very post but... that's good info for recommending that people avoid this story.
The Landlady got a pretty good review over there -- it says "perfectly creepy (taxidermy story)". I just flipped through it -- yeah. It's perfectly creepy. The landlady is a very good taxidermist ("you can check out, but you can never leeeeave...")
In addition to "creepy," I used the word "kah-reepy" twice on the note. One for William and Mary where it says "kah-reepy husband brain" (abusive husband gets sick and decides to "stay alive" with some new procedure that keeps his brain alive with just one eyeball attached. The wife takes a certain amount of vengeful glee at torturing the guy via his eyeball.)
The other kah-reepy one was Royal Jelly which I don't... fully recall and do not actually want to. It was about parents giving their sickly baby royal jelly from bees and... the baby turns into a bee? I can't remember exactly. It's was "kah-reepy".
But I just had to look up what "p. 370 - Bill!" meant in the midst of these disturbing notes. And I am laughing right now. That story opens with, "All her life, Mrs. Foster had had an almost pathological fear of missing a train, a plane, a boat, or even a theatre curtain."  Yup. That's Bill all right.
On the back side of that note is another note about a couple of other stories... Hitler's birth origin (Genesis and Catastrophe) and another that I referred to as "Pleasant story/kind of flat." (Champion of the World). I also jotted down a few common themes... husband/wife unpleasantness, revenge, passive aggression. But really, nothing worth getting into in much detail here. The book was fine -- like most short story collections, there were a few "Oh yeah!" moments (that Landlady one... shivers. Good spooky Halloween story, really.) but not worth 700+ pages.
However... it's DONE. So let's move on to my others! (Spoiler alert: 2015 has been a rather disappointing reading year for me. I don't know why exactly, and I have read a couple of truly good books [off the top of my head: Station Eleven, Between the World and Me, I am Malala, and The Martian --- basically, the books that I could have picked up at the front of any airport bookstore this year? Sheesh.] [Oh, and all of the Dresden files -- that was a Lifetime aBook Highlight there, so maybe that good fortune made it so the rest had to stink to counterbalance that?] but mostly bummers. The next couple I'm going to tell you about certainly were.)
That was a long parenthetical ending. And I'm leaving it. Woo-hooo!