23 February 2018

4 Short Story Collections to Read This Month

I used to think that I didn't like short stories because I was often left wanting to know more. That was before I started reading quality stories and before I learned how to read short pieces.

My epiphany came when I realized I didn't have to read a collection straight through in one or two sittings. Yes, I was slow on the uptake. Now my approach is to read only one story at a time, which gives me time to think about the characters or the situation before I'm willy-nilly into the next one. My other eye-opening revelation was that I didn't have to read every piece in a collection. If a particular story doesn't grab my attention, I now turn to the next, rather than abandon the whole book.

If you think you don't like short stories, want not give my approach a try. You may change your mind.

4 Short Story Collections to Read This Month
  • Black Sheep Boy by Martin Pousson (Rare Bird Books, Feb. 13): Set in Louisiana, this collection of linked stories explores LGBTQ+ themes and life in the Bayou country while introducing us to a young Cajun French man who's trying to find his way to a better future.
  • This Far Isn't Far Enough by Lynn Sloan (Fomite, Feb. 20): Many of the characters in this collection of stories experience a shift in perspective when they try to rebalance their lives after circumstances or personal choices throw them off-kilter.
  • Dreadful Young Ladies and other stories by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Books, Feb. 20): From the author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, this collection of stories takes us to fantastical worlds with characters who defy fairy tale and fantasy expectations; themes include love, death, and longing.
  • We Are Taking Only What We Need by Stephanie Powell Watts (Ecco, Feb. 6): Family and the American black experience are overarching themes of this collection of stories; some focus on large issues, and others show us a more personal sphere.


Mae Travels 2/23/18, 6:42 AM  

More suggestions on how to read short stories would be really welcome! I would love to hear what you have to say, how you learned, and what makes you particularly like them. Or why we should choose a particular volume of stories rather than looking for long-form fiction.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Molly 2/23/18, 7:11 AM  

I ditto Mae's comment :)

I do like your suggestion of reading one story at a time. I think I try to read too many of them at once (perhaps expecting a cohesive whole experience) and get frustrated when all the characters and plots are jumbled in my brain.

I'm sure my writing would improve by reading short stories. The genre mandates tight, concise prose.

bermudaonion 2/23/18, 8:40 AM  

I don't read short stories as often as I should. We Are Taking Only What We Need sounds really good.

sherry fundin 2/23/18, 9:48 AM  

I like that I'm able to finish a story while sitting at the doctor's office, standing in a line...but I rarely read just one. :-)
sherry @ fundinmental

Daryl 2/26/18, 10:15 AM  

i may try your way of reading short stories but i suspect i will still feel short changed/wanting more

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