Sunday Salon: Short Works Sunday

sunday salon

This week my reading has been all over the place. Since last Sunday I’ve read essays, short stories, graphic novels, and children’s books but no novels. For the last couple of years I’ve been primarily a novel reader, forgoing short stories, poetry, and essays for longer works. Though I have many novels I need to read before they have to be returned to the library, I’m happy just picking up a book, opening up to an unread story or essay, and digging in. Because of this I’ve been on a plane with Barbara Kingsolver as she tried to fit reading short stories into her busy life in “What Good is a Story?”, watched a family sing during a family member’s execution in Margo Lanagan’s “Singing My Sister Down”, and listened as silence takes over a big city in Kevin Brockmeir’s “The Year of Silence”.

I’m falling in love again with short works.

So now I’m off to read more of the stories I’ve been missing. Below is a list of the collections I’ve been reading from. Take care and have a great week.

01

Do you read short stories? Who are some of your favorite short story writers? What are some of your favorite collections?

About these ads

24 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Short Works Sunday

  1. I think it’s great that you take time to explore shorter works. To be honest, I’m not a fan of short stories and I don’t go toward those willingly. But from time to time someone will suggest a short stories book or essays and I will read them, and enjoy them. But I still prefer a longer book when I can get to know the characters and the setting better.

  2. Yay! Short stories and essays are great. I often skip over them, too, even though I enjoy them. I was just thinking a minute ago to pick up and read some short stories since it is Sunday.

  3. I’ve just rediscovered short stories this year. My daughter gave me her Norton Book of American Short Stories that she used for a high school class last year, and I’ve been loving it! My favorites have been by Cheever, Updike, Thurber, and Cather. For something more contemporary, I turned to Jhumpa Lahiri’s collections and more recently Louise Erdrich’s The Red Convertible. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from novels.

  4. I just finished Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, a collection of four short works. If you have not already read this, you should. Tight, precise gorgeous prose and such range in topic and treatment from story to story. Happy reading!

  5. I like short stories, but only individually. It’s very hard for me to read a whole collection straight through, because each story is so contained, it feels like finished a book each time. It makes for very slow reading.

  6. I really enjoy short stories and have read some great collections so far this year:

    The Mechanics of Falling, by Catherine Brady
    Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Months and Seasons, by Christopher Meeks
    Love Begins in Winter, by Simon Van Booy

    These are all worth checking out!

  7. I haven’t read short stories since high school. I pretty much stick to novels–I even keep away from anthologies. I’m not sure why… I do enjoy short stories.

  8. My brother is a big short story reader. I tend to read novels but a good short story can rival a novel any day. I do read a fair amount of essays, mainly literary ones.

  9. I’m a short story addict. I was indifferent to them for many, many years, but that all changed when I read J.D. Salinger’s NINE STORIES. Those nine stories sparked a craving that’s still going strong. I read a couple hundred stories every year, mostly in collections and anthologies. I’ve had a few missteps with general fiction, so I mostly read speculative stuff these days. Ted Chiang has quickly become a big favourite, as have Susan Palwick and Ysabeau S. Wilce. I’m always pleased to see their names in the TOC for any given collection.

  10. Funny you should mention short stories. A friend and I were just discussing them in a conversation we had on the telephone (he’s old fashioned like that :). He mentioned a spinoff of one of the collections you mentioned: The Best American Mystery Stories 2008, edited by George Pelecanos. Now that is something in which I might be interested.

    I’ve read one book by Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven, and I can’t say I was superimpressed, but maybe in short story, she’d be better. Of course, I know a lot of readers who like her work, including my wife, who loved both Pigs in Heaven and The Poisonwood Bible.

  11. I go through phases with short stories, devouring an author’s collection or an anthology. One anthology I found in a used bookstore is called “You’ve got to Read This: Contemporary American Writers Introduce Stories That Held Them In Awe”. It’s great fun. Have a wonderful week.

  12. I just received the new Adichie collection of short stories. I immediately threw everything else aside and opened this book, after having loved both Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.

  13. I enjoy reading short fiction as well – there have been a few great stories in the book you sent me – The Best American Unrequired Reading 2008!

  14. I am not a fan of short stories although I haven’t tried any for years. I should have another go.

  15. Some of my favourites are Truman Capote, John Cheever, Neil Gaiman, Jhumpa Lahiri, J.D. Salinger and Ursula Le Guin. I’ve been neglecting short stories so far this year, but Black Juice really is a good reminder than I need to change that.

    • It’s so funny that you mentioned her. I just finished reading Russell’s story, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. It’s featured in BASS 2008.Salman Rushdie calls her the true heir of Angela Carter.

  16. I’m not a huge short story reader, but I love essays. I have three of the Best American Essays collections on my shelf now that I want to read soon. But, like you, I keep letting library books and other novels get in the way. Someday I’ll get to them!

  17. I’m a big fan of short fiction–there’s something about a brief story, spotlighting one moment or idea, that opens up a new world to me. I just got a copy of Matthew Kneale’s Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance, have been dipping into William Trevor’s Cheating at Canasta, and am re-reading a number of Flannery O’Connor’s stories. Also, DailyLit.com has started offering a decent selection of new and classic stories that can be delivered to your inbox in installments–I’m just finished Lahiri’s “Hell-Heaven” from Unaccustomed Earth.

  18. I love short stories! It’s a great way to be introduced to a writer to see if you want to tackle the heavier weightier novels.

  19. I really like the yearly Norton and American Shorts collections – reading books of shorts from different authors is always a plus for me. I like the contrast of styles.

    For one author collections, I’ve enjoyed A.M. Homes quite a lot. She wrote two collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety Of Objects which is shorts that connect together – Safety of Objects was made into an excellent movie too.

  20. I’m reading The Simplest Acts by Melanie Haney and I really like it. I have Small Wonder and haven’t read it yet, naturally. But I do like Barbara Kingsolver.

  21. Like Nicole, I have Small Wonder sitting on my shelf, unread…the poor thing! I get so caught up library holds coming in & getting them back on time that I never get around to my unread shelf anymore. *sigh* You’re the second person to recommend that one though, so I need to figure out a way to get it in my rotation!

Comments are closed.