Cover Image: Creative Types

Creative Types

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This one was kinda grim. I don't mean to penalize the book for doing what it was trying to do, which was—in my eyes, at least—exploring different varieties of discomfort. There are 100 names for love, or whatever, so why shouldn't a collection of stories look at all the ways you can want to leave the room, look away, yank someone out of a spiraling situation, or just flinch? From aggressively provocative new spouses to now-grown high school bullies to an awkward threesome to literal torture, Bissell knows how to set a scene to make a reader uncomfortable. And I was, throughout. The writing is good, the scenarios are imaginative, and often the stories' payoffs are interesting—I didn't put the book down, which speaks to all of the above. But man, I definitely thought about it a few times—this is not a collection that cuts the reader any slack.
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Really enjoyed I was  right into the stories.Well written characters that come alive.Each story Involving kept me turning the pages.Will be recommending.#netgalley#knopfdoubleday
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I had heard of Tom Bissell, but I can’t pinpoint exactly if I’ve read a story by him in the New Yorker or anywhere else. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into by downloading this review copy from Netgalley, but I sure did expect self-contained stories with an arch or something of a revelation or pivot at the end.

Well, I was mostly disappointed, because those stories were all a little off, to the point of misunderstanding. To be blunt, I didn’t “get” these stories, and I’m not even sure there was something to get. Some seemed very random and dull, other just awkward and going nowhere.

It was difficult to relate to or even merely understand the various characters of the 7 stories: the journalist investigating a vigilante / superhero for personal reasons (“The avenger”), the couple who has hired an escort for a threesome after the birth of their first child (“Creative Types”), the American drug dealer in Estonia (“Love Story with Cocaine”), the obnoxious and provocative newlyweds in honeymoon in Italy (“A Bridge under Water”), the childhood bully turned literary editor in New York (“Punishment”), the legal advisor who justified use of torture after 9/11 (“The Fifth Category”), the assistant to a movie star (“The Hack”) etc. Most characters are definitely unsympathetic, and many times I finished the story confused and frustrated. To compound the problem, I read this collection in parallel with another short story collection by Curt Sittenfeld, and Tom Bissell’s paled in comparison. Well, not paled, but I was better equipped to understand Sittenfeld’s and relate to them (relating to a lawyer justifying torture, or to a drug dealer would be a stretch anyway).

At least, I’m glad I tried something new. Tom Bissell’s stories were all unexpected and certainly creative, so I’ll probably remember them for their quirkiness, but they were not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.
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Creative Types is a short story collection of moments in which creative people reveal or unravel what their lives comprise of. Not every story hit me between the eyes, but one that resonated and stood out was that of the journalist chasing the story of the masked vigilante in Central Park.  It was Tom's ability to incapsulate what the human spirit at it's best, boils down to.  A willing ability to offer ourselves freely on behalf of others. There is no greater story to be told.  It was this story that stuck with me after I had finished reading it.
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With a promising premise that immediately intrigued me, I was saddened to find that the stories left me feeling a little deflated. Is disappointed too harsh a word? I expected more. Each story has a different plot and are all completely unrelated, which is something I enjoy when reading a collection, however I found them all to be too short; just as I was truly getting into them, they came to an end. Perhaps that was the aim, to pull the reader in and begging for more, but it just didn't work for me.
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This is a great short story collection that was full of unexpected gems. I haven’t read Bissell before, but he had me hooked on the first Roman honeymoon story and then the couple trying to find their passion again. While the stories don’t connect, each individual narrative has a down-to-earth feel that makes you keep reading. Thank you for the ARC, Netgalley.
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An array of stories that explore the artist as currency. In each story it seems the artist is challenged either through a personal ideology or a crisis with a moral dilemma. Each it seems made decisions in their early adult life and through luck or influence have succeeded only on the surface.
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I was intrigued from beginning to end, and enjoyed the reading experience.  I was interested in the characters, and looked forward to learning where their stories would lead.
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I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I thought this sounded like a really interesting read; the accolades in the blurb were really promising, and I was glad to find something a little bit different. I don't often read collections of short stories as I prefer longer novels, but I was excited to get my teeth into this one.

Unfortunately, I've just finished it and I'm feeling disappointed. Although I was expecting it to be a collection of unconventional and perhaps random stories, I feel as though I'm left not knowing what the point of the collection is.

The stories are all unrelated, have their own focuses, and I think are designed to be different, or even controversial. I did like that they were unpredictable, as it kept me on my toes throughout. I never knew what would be coming next. 

However, if the aim was to be controversial, then I do think the author had succeeded, as certain parts of stories made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Moreover, the stories just left me feeling wholly dissatisfied. Just as a story was getting interesting, it would come to an end, and often in the most random and bizarre of places.

I finished this book feeling disappointed and dissatisfied. Not for me at all.
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Unfortunately, I was expecting this to be much better than it actually was. Personally, for me I thought the stories were a bit uninspiring. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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I was charmed by the cover of Creative Types but disappointed in the contents. I found the first few stories somewhat repulsive, if I'm being honest- perhaps Bissell was going for irony and satire, but if so, it certainly didn't come through in the prose. Instead, there are unlikeable characters doing offensive things in the name of being- maybe edgy? Maybe symbolic? Maybe complex, if I'm being generous? The later stories in the collection have more potential- my heart was in my throat for the beginning of 'The Fifth Category', but then the winding construction of the story dulled the impact somewhat, which was a common pattern throughout the collection.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of these stories.
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I’m sadly really disappointed with this one despite having really high hopes. The stories I found quite bland, lacked depth and didn’t hold my attention. I was drawn in by the cover with this one!
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I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover and I was familiar with some of the author’s previous work, however Creative Types felt inconsistent with some stories being significantly more enthralling than others. This is often the case for most anthology books and Creative Types is no exception. Punishment and The Hack were my two favorite stories because they felt the most grounded and relatable. The other stories felt too undefined and the author’s intent was not completely clear. However, each story was well written and Bessel has a writing style that is quite interesting.
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The premise of Creative Types seemed very promising and the cover was well designed but the novel itself did not fully live up to expectations. The book had the same problem most anthology novels do, in that some stories were stronger than others. Punishment was my personal favorite in the book. Overall, however the short stories ranged from fascinatingly untraditional to simply peculiar. The book could hav benefitted from establishing a stronger thematic connection between all of the stories up front. Nonetheless, the writing was solid and Bessel has a unique  style which came through.
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I used to love reading short stories when I was younger. I requested this book so fast! Some stories I couldn't connect with but it's easy to skip around.
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I normally love short story collections that get me to think.  This selection of short stories didn't quite do it for me, however.  I didn't find the characters very likable, and they seemed very one dimensional with not much depth, so it was hard to relate to them for that reason.  

I received an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley and would like to thank the author and/or publisher for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.
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Book 32 of my 2020 Reading Challenge
read from April 20 - 24

Note: I read an ARC provided from NetGalley (full disclaimer in my review)

Creative Types: And Other Stories
by Tom Bissell

Summary (via Goodreads)
expected publication: October 2020 

A young and ingratiating assistant to a movie star makes a blunder that puts his boss and a major studio at grave risk. A couple hires a partner for a threesome to rejuvenate their relationship after the birth of their child. An assistant at a prestigious literary journal reconnects with a middle school frenemy and finds his carefully constructed world of refinement cannot protect him from his past.

In these and other stories, Tom Bissell vividly renders the complex worlds of characters on the brink of artistic and personal crisis--writers, actors, and other creative types who see things slightly differently from the rest of us. Surreal, poignant, squirmingly awkward--and always just a little bit off--this collection is a brilliant new offering from one of the most versatile and talented writers in America today.

My Opinion
4 stars

**I received an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley and would like to thank the author and/or publisher for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book**

I really liked the majority of these stories.  They were character-driven but in foreign places so it made them a little more exotic than typical "slice-of-life" stories.  They were unpredictable with varied themes throughout the stories so it didn't feel repetitive as some short story collections can.

I cringed multiple times while reading; that's not a bad thing but a description of when an author keeps you on your toes because you don't know what's going to happen and it's a little uncomfortable as you find out.  Sometimes it was intentional to the story, such as the realistic "foot-in-mouth" awkward conversations in "Creative Types".  Sometimes I'm not sure it was as intentional - "The Hack" read a little creepy to me since it was about real people and I'm not familiar enough with the author or actors to know if there's a backstory I'm missing.  Sometimes it was "so bad it's funny", such as some of the descriptions during sex scenes ("his cock was as warm as a mouthful of blood" - definitely descriptive but not expected or appealing).

I would definitely read this author again.
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I liked the first several stories in Creative Types, but towards the middle to end, some of the stories fell flat, in my opinion. They lost my interest and didnt have the same strong writing that was displayed in the beginning of the book. Overall, it was a good read. It is worth checking out.
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Creative Types are a collection of short stories that are totally unrelated to each other in any way. I enjoyed reading "Water under the bridge" and "Punishment". I half skimmed through the other ones as they all felt kind of flat.
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Unfortunately, I did not really connect with most of the stories but some of them, one of which is "Punishment", were absolutely intriguing and unique.
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