11.02.2007

Does anyone read short stories these days?

I was taking my daily stroll through the bookweb and happened upon an interesting article posted on the blog, The Reading Experience, which, among other points, stated that people just don't read short stories. (He then went on to say that people just don't read, which I think is overblown, but that's for another post.) As a former English teacher, I truly believe that many people don't know if they like something until it's put in their face. I can't remember how many times kids would tell me that they hated Shakespeare. By the time they finished Taming of the Shrew with me, they had a new perspective. Many had the same ideas about poetry or Edgar Allan Poe. The reason: they had never really been exposed. I believe that this is the way it is for almost everyone with almost everything.

I thought about this and then, ironically, came across Alison Macleod's list of Top 10 short stories in The Guardian.
Alison's list includes the known and the new, and it got me thinking about some of my favorites.

The Cloak - Nikolai Gogol
Shiloh - Bobbi Anne Mason
A Rose for Emily - William Faulkner
Winter Dreams - F.Scott Fitzgerald
A Temporary Matter - Jhumpa Lahiri
The Bet - Anton Chekhov
The Necklace - Guy de Maupassant
Araby - James Joyce
The Grave - Katherine Anne Porter
Death by Landscape - Margaret Atwood
A Good Man is Hard to Find - Flannery O'Connor

What are your favorites?

4 comments:

  1. Hmmm. Good question. Some of yours would be on my list, too.

    A Rose for Emily - William Faulkner
    The Necklace - Guy de Maupassant
    The Bridle - Raymond Carver
    Four Summers - Joyce Carol Oates
    Shiloh- Bobbie Ann Mason
    The Catbird Seat - James Thurber
    The Dead - James Joyce
    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County - Mark Twain
    Rappaccini's Daughter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Okay, that's nine, and I'm having trouble. Several are coming to mind (like "The Lottery," and "To Build a Fire" by Jack London), but are they truly favorites, or just memorable, and is that the same thing?

    Alison Macleod listed "The Rocking Horse Winner." I wouldn't list that as a favorite, but it triggered a lively discussion in one of my college literature classes.

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  2. I hope you also listen to Selected Shorts. Great short stories every week! I don't think it airs on public radio in Atlanta, but you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or at http://www.symphonyspace.org/shorts/shorts_radio

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  3. Great tip about the podcast! Thanks, Brian!

    Also, The Lottery Winner and To Build a Fire are two great, great short stories.

    Here I go to read a few of the ones I haven't read yet!

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  4. I am a huge short story fan. As I have more of an affinity for new lit. It took me a while to find authors that I enjoy (I high recommend The Summer Before The Summer of Love, one of my favorites), I've learned to cheat a bit...each year there is an anthology that comes out each year of Great Short Stories...although you can't refute the classics...

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