Saturday, October 26, 2013

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron - A Review

Image Credit: Goodreads
Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron is a short story collection edited by Jonathan Strahan.  I found out about this book through a few different YouTube videos and to be honest, I only purchased it because Neil Gaiman's name was attached to the book.  Lately it seems that anything with Gaiman's imprint ends up in a package at my door.  I read a majority of this book during Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon in October to break up the monotony of other books I was reading.  I also thought it would be a great, non-horrific way to read some additional material for RIPVIII.

(Disclaimer: Gaiman only contributed a poem to this book that is one page long.  If you are buying this book solely based on his work, I would suggest checking it out from the library).

All of the stories in this book have a common thread of witches (who and what they are, how to find them and how to kill them, among other things). As with most short story collections, you win some and you lose some.  Unfortunately I lost more with this book than I won and can't strongly recommend it to anyone else as a purchase.  This book is a great tool for discovering the writing styles of multiple authors and seeing their take on the same topic.

The most frustrating thing I experience with short stories is their lack of depth and their abrupt endings that are critical to their nature.  After all, if there was in depth character development and plot lines I would be reading a novel instead of a short story and wouldn't be able to dip in and out of so many writing styles within 400 pages.  I don't regret expanding my witch-lore with this book but I don't think I will be trying any short story collections in the near future.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Under My Hat! I shall be picking it up next week as a Halloween read. I normally do not read short stories, so it'll be an interesting experience.

    1. I was really upset I didn't enjoy it more too! It has such a great premise. It might have been more user-error on my part than actual content because for a majority of the book I tried to read multiple short stories in one sitting. I don't think it was compiled with that idea in mind.