Posts Tagged ‘short story collection’

3rd August
2011
written by Steph

In the 2+ years (we're swiftly approaching 3 years... where has the time flown?!?) that Tony and I have been running this website, I think we've covered about one short story collection per year, if that. Try as I might, I just don't really connect well with short stories. They so often leave me feeling bereft and unsatisfied, like there just isn't enough there for me to really sink my teeth into. I very much want to be the kind of reader who enjoys the art of the short story, since I feel like people who genuinely like short fiction are in a reading class well above mine. Me, I tend to stick with strict fiction, occasionally meandering into narrative non-fiction... but one day when I am a wise reader, I would like to dive voraciously into volumes of short stories and maybe even poetry. Alas, that day has not yet come, and so I still stick to pedestrian works of writing that hover somewhere around 350 pages. To me, that's the amount of time it takes to tell a story and good. Of course, judging by Van Booy's debut collection, The Secret Lives of People in Love, he'd strongly disagree with me. Some of the stories are only THREE pages long... approximately 1% of a regular length novel! If brevity is the soul of wit, then Van Booy must be a very witty man indeed. (more…)
27th September
2010
written by Steph

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m not the biggest fan of the short story. I really prefer sustained narratives rather than tiny little bursts of story, and I often find it hard to shift gears from one story to the next. Also, I tend to find that there’s this trend with short stories where the stories just seem to end, often times abruptly, and I’m left wondering what the point of the whole exercise was. When I recently discussed Scarlett Thomas’s Our Tragic Universe, I mused about the notion of the “storyless story” and allowed that it’s something I don’t necessarily mind in my novels. However, I think that I’m anti storyless short stories! With this in mind, the Sherlock Holmes short stories are exactly the kind of story I would like. They’re mini mysteries, each with an obvious beginning, middle, and end, and they’re all sufficiently straightforward that I can just sit back, relax and enjoy. As much as I like giving my mind a workout when I’m reading, sometimes it’s nice to just romp about with a cocaine-addicted, sneering detective and have an adventure or two. (more…)
26th May
2010
written by Steph

When I saw that TLC Book Tours were offering up stops on a Legend of a Suicide tour, I jumped at the chance to participate. After reading great things about the book on blogs like Farm Lane Books and Savidge Reads, I was really curious about this novel/short story collection. Now, I know I’ve written before about my general lack of luck when it comes to short stories, but I felt this time could be different because the same characters appear in each short story, and they are all narrated (more or less) by a boy named Roy.  Through the various stories, Roy explores his relationship with his father and the impact of said father’s suicide on his family. The subject matter immediately intrigued me, so I was very happy to get my grubby paws on this (free) book. (more…)
1st September
2009
written by Steph
Well, she got the hate part right, at least...

Well, she got the hate part right, at least...

[Note: I realize I should be posting my thoughts on Part 4 of 2666, but I still have some more reading to do before that part is finished.  I had considered pushing myself or rushing through it, but that’s really not the way to read, especially when reading for pleasure, is it?  I need to take a bit of a break from the behemoth before I finish up what I have left of Part 4 lest I post another cranky and disgruntled review yet again!] Out in the real-world I take part in a book club made up of some women from my department at school.  I haven’t always been the best member, having failed to finish several of the books (not from lack of time, but mostly lack of interest, I’m afraid), and when the streak of books being chosen was one in which I had little to no desire in reading the majority of the selected books, I bowed out for a while.  But a good friend of mine was picking the book this past month and it happened to be this collection of short stories that I already owned (but hadn’t read), so I decided that I would rejoin the fold.  We had our meeting last night, over Mexican appetizers (is there any food better for discussing Munro’s stories which all take place in the wilds of Canada? 😉 ), and I’m really glad I went.  I can’t say the discussion was always illuminating, but the company was good and I think we all put our best foot forward when it came to discussing HFCLM. (more…)
7th May
2009
written by Steph
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

I doubt it...

When I reviewed Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth earlier this year, I stated up front that I’m not really a reader of short stories.  I always find the first part of anything I read to be the hardest slog as I work to attune myself to the writing and ensconce myself in the world of the story.  With short stories I feel like I’m doing this the whole time because just when I feel I’m in synch with a story, it ends and I’m left wanting more, but instead have to dive into a new story.  While I had serious problems with Unaccustomed Earth, the one thing that did impress me about it was how easily I slipped into each story, and moreover, each one felt like a complete entity that did what it said it would: it told a story.  But I’m supposed to be talking about Stranger Things Happen, right?  I’ve already reviewed Unaccustomed Earth!  Well, I give all this preamble simply because I’m a bit at a loss with respect to this collection, and in large part that’s because half the time I had no idea what was going on in any of the stories, and just when I thought I had a handle on them, they ended rather abruptly… the curse of the short “story” strikes again! (more…)
2nd February
2009
written by Steph
Trust me... you'll be accustomed by the end of it

Trust me... you'll be accustomed by the end of it

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of short story collections or anthologies.  I’m not sure what it is about them, but I’ve never found them very enjoyable to read, perhaps because by the time I’m involved in a given story it ends and then I have to get invested in another one.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I think I generally find short stories too, well, short to be fulfilling, and so when it comes to my reading, I tend to focus on novels instead.  For this reason, if it were not for the Tournament of books, I probably would never have picked up Unaccustomed Earth, no matter how much acclaim it has received. And Unaccustomed Earth has gained a lot of acclaim.  It first came to my notice back in July when it made headlines for snagging the Frank O’Connor award.  Now winning an award will generally earn you a headline in the book world, but what really made this story interesting was the fact that Lahiri’s collection was dubbed the unanimous winner so early on that the judges jumped from long-list to winner.  They did not pass Go, they did not collect $200, and they did not declare a short-list in the process either.  In their opinion, Unaccustomed Earth was so superior relative to the competition that there was no point pretending anyone else was in the running, and subjecting the other authors to unnecessary stress.  Add this to the fact that Lahiri has pretty much been an untouchable literary superstar ever since the publication of her first collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, and you can see why despite my normal aversion to short stories, I had pretty high expectations for this ToB entrant. (more…)