About Short Stories

Maybe you remember last summer when I had a whirl with American plays.
Lately I’ve been in the mood for short stories. So much so that I organized a
desk around them and am trying to become acquainted with  the styles of several
authors . . .

Eudora Welty has always been a favorite of mine — I’m going to go right ahead and keep calling her the favorite of all. I also like Alice Munro and Roxana Robinson. I would highly recommend you spend a little time with any of those.

the short story desk ©booksandbuttons

the short story desk ©booksandbuttons

And for the rest–I’ll let my list of short story books below give you more ideas.

James Joyce———-Dubliners
Eudora Welty——– Collected Stories; Thirteen Stories; A Curtain of Green
Alice Munro———-Selected Stories; Open Secrets
Roxana Robinson—-Asking for Love
William Trevor——-Ireland: Selected Stories


We Are the Stories We Tell—a collection of women writers
New York Stories—all stories with a New York City setting
Peter Taylor———-The Widows of Thornton
William Humphrey–The Collected Stories
Noel Coward———-Star Quality: The Collected Stories of Noel Coward

Colm Tóibín———–The Empty Family; Mothers and Sons
Sarah Orne Jewett—-The Country of the Pointed Firs
Joseph Mitchell——-Up in the Old Hotel
Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain
R.L.Stevenson———New Arabian Nights
The Scribner Treasury–a Book of the Month Club dividend in 1953

The Penguin Book of Welsh Short Stories
The Second Penguin Book of English Short Stories
The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Short Stories

1998 New Stories from the South
1992 Best American Short Stories
1998 Best American Short Stories
2015 Best American Short Stories

AND currently from the library I have:
Alice Munro———Open Secrets
The PEN/O Henry Prize Stories 2010
Pushcart Prize XXXIX 2015 Best of the Small Presses

As you see, it’s a list that varies — Victorian and R.L.Stevenson, and yes, I suppose that somewhere there’s a copy of Edgar Allan Poe stories around . . .and arrives back in the current scene of stories published in 2015.

Do you remember reading “The Lady or the Tiger?” in school?

Short stories sometimes get little respect–not novels after all — but a short story has a point to get across in fewer than 800 pages! When I was growing up, the short story was defined as short enough to read in one sitting. Some definitions today include having only a few characters, a setting, plot, conflict and theme. On the other hand, some of today’s short stories throw everything to the winds and when you’ve finished you say to yourself “Whuh?”

The New Yorker magazine holds the reputation of the leader of the pack as far as publishing your own short story goes. But good luck–they receive about 3000 submissions a month, and publish one story a week. On the other hand, there is a slight uptick in interest in short story writing — from several publications and online publishers. One article even cited it being perfect for 25 minutes on the treadmill . . .

Whether you write them, or read them, they are a nifty class of fiction.

Do any of the short story collections tempt you? What short stories do you like? Take a tour at your library — Dewey Decimal numbers around 813.08 — and try a few for the weekend . . .



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4 Responses to About Short Stories

  1. Stefanie says:

    I remember reading Lady and the Tiger in school! I loved that story!

  2. FictionFan says:

    I’ve been reading far more short stories in the last couple of years than I ever have before. When done well, they can easily equal a novel in impact. But a lot of the modern stories are pretty fragmentary – sometimes they forget to put an actual story in them! 😉

    • booksandbuttons says:

      Hi FF–I couldn’t agree more. Supposedly the “new” thing is to just
      set a mood and that’s OK too. For me, tho, I prefer a little plot!

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