Short Story lovers discussion

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message 1: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

David | 29 comments Mod
What are some of the best collections of short fiction you've read recently? I read Kerry Neville Bakken's book Necessary Lies a few months ago -- it's her first book -- and was floored by it. Her stories are so well-developed, so rich, so full of insight. Ten Little Indians, by Sherman Alexie, is also a recent favorite. It's got his usual blend of humor and incisiveness, but I found this book more moving than his others. What/who have you all discovered recently?


message 2: by Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Kim Teeple | 1 comments Funny, I was just going to say Ten Little Indians, or at least Sherman Alexie as a favorite short story author. I've read other short stories by him not inlcuded in Ten little Indians that I've also enjoyed.

I'm looking forward to reading some short stories by Neil Gaiman. I've read one of his novels and most of his children's stories and would love to see what he does with a short story.

A story I'd like to re-visit and can't remember the title or find again, was one written by Ha Jin about a fast food chicken place in China???

Thanks for inviting me!


message 3: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Rob McMonigal | 4 comments I recently finished Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood, which is a novel told via a series of short stories. I'd also recommend This is Not Chick Lit, which is an anthology of mostly complicated stories by a variety of female writers.

-Rob


message 4: by Myfanwy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Myfanwy | 2 comments Famous Fathers and Other Stories by Pia Z. Ehrhardt -- it's outstanding. Here's what I wrote about it: http://myfanwy.blogspot.com/2007/06/f...


message 5: by Elinor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Elinor | 2 comments I'm not sure if all of these are recent enough to qualify, but these are all authors that I've just found in the last five years or so. They haven't yet become all-time favorites, but I will admit to seeking out their new stories:

Dan Chaon
Jhumpa Lahiri
Karen Russell

... edited because I failed to include Judy Budnitz


message 6: by Patti (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

Patti | 6 comments I read Hue & Cry by James Alan McPherson a while back. He is a writer I wasn't familiar with, but thanks to bookclub I know of him now. The stories were powerful.

And as mentioned in another thread:
Jim Tomlinson - Things Kept, Things Left Behind
Pia Erhardt - Famous Fathers & Other Stories
Scott Snyder - Voodoo Heart

Also Big Bad Love - Larry Brown

I almost forgot! Don't Mean Nothing by Susan O'Niell. So good.


message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert I'm new to this group, and I'm interested to read about these collections of short stories, some of which I have never even heard of. The best collection I have read recently (although it was published at least 5 years ago) is The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes. It's one of those collections in which each story conjures up such a distinct set of feelings and sensations (smells, accents, sounds, textures, etc.) that it's hard to believe they all belong to the same 250 pages. I highly recommend it, in case you haven't read it.
And, as a new member of this group, I'm really looking forward to reading more about your short story experiences, and getting some good suggestions for future reading.


message 8: by Tim (last edited Aug 13, 2008 05:10AM) (new)

Tim Of the collections I've read recently, the best (although it was published a while ago now) is Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, a selection of the best short stories by James Tiptree Jnr a.k.a. Alice Sheldon. Any collection by Alice Munro is also well worth reading - I read her Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You recently.

Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth, which won the 2008 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (for which my collection Transported was longlisted), is supposed to be very good, but I haven't read it yet.

A couple of places that feature new short story collections:

The Short Review: http://www.theshortreview.com/

The Good Books Guide: http://goodbooksguide.blogspot.com/ (This features fiction of all types, but has quite a few entries on short story collections)


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris Antenen | 139 comments The Eloquent Short Story, Lucy Rosenthal
You've Got to Read This, Edited by Hansen & Shephard



message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul | 1 comments It's been years and years but I have to agree that James Tiptree Jr.'s short story collections contain some of the best stories that I've ever read. Without having yet succeeded, I've tried and tried to emulate her brooding, misanthropic vision of humanity, and her fascination with the utterly other. I would count JG Ballard among the masters of this mode of story-telling.




message 11: by Tim (new)

Tim >10: I agree about Ballard - "The Terminal Beach" in particular. Definitely worth rereading Tiptree if you get the chance!


message 12: by CasualDebris (new)

CasualDebris | 20 comments Two fairly recent ones I've enjoyed are:
Gilbert Sorrentino, The Moon in Its Flight (2002)
David Foster Wallace, Oblivion (2004)


message 13: by A.J. (new)

A.J. My White Planet by Mark Anthony Jarman.


message 14: by Josef (new)

Josef Miyasato (josefmiyasato) | 2 comments One of my favorites is Women with Men by Richard Ford. I've read it a couple of times. I even love the cover design.


message 15: by jennifer (new)

jennifer (mascarawand) | 51 comments I've just finished Classic New England Stories, which includes Melville, Hawthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett. The stories run the gambit between sinister and humorous, and all have that old New England atmosphere.


message 16: by Josef (new)

Josef Miyasato (josefmiyasato) | 2 comments Blood Child is an excellent collection, especially for the title story.


message 17: by Alan (new)

Alan (takingsky) | 10 comments I read a lot of short stories (mainly because I'm a short story writer) and review many collections.I also recommend - as Tim above the Short Review as a place to find new and old collections reviewed. http://www.theshortreview.com/

My latest review below:

The Penguin Book of Internatinal Short stories 1945-85.In America it had the title 'The Art of the Tale' Here's what I said:

.. covers a lot of ground and all the usual suspects are there: Marquez, Borges, Singer, Pritchet, Achebe, Boll etc etc, but also some interesting selections I hadn't heard of - Leon Rooke was new to me, as was Leonard Michaels, Juan Rulfo, Luisa Valenzuela (my ignorance), and many stories were new (to me). A quirky selection too I think, going for the Less anthologised ones, and obviously dated (introdusing a new generation of writers such as Ian McEwan & Tobias Wolf!) but consistently interesting. Maybe has an American bias - 30 (of 85) of the stories are from the USA, but that's probably right given the pre-eminence of US story writers. Eudora Welty's story was one of her finest I think, and James Baldwin's burnt a hole in my brain.
If your wrists can take it - it's a very heavy paperback - this is 1000 plus pages of joy for fans of the short story.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

My White Planet by Mark Anthony Jarman
Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
Fishing the Sloe-Black River by Colum McCann (he's now of novel-writing fame, eg. "Dancer" but his early stories are phenomenal, in particular Cathal's Lake)


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrew wrote: "My White Planet by Mark Anthony Jarman."

yes! there's no one else writing short stories like him in Canada...


message 20: by Mosca (new)

Mosca | 9 comments William Trevor by The Collected Stories

Been reading stories out of this collection at random for about 5 years, on and off. I have not yet found a story that did not touch me deeply. These are consistantly excellent writing


message 21: by Sarah (last edited Feb 06, 2009 05:33PM) (new)

Sarah | 3 comments Broken Doll (Salt Modern Fiction) by Neil, Campbel

Broken Doll by Neil Campbell
This collection is strangely beautiful, and quite recently published!


message 22: by Scott (new)

Scott E Recently finished The Consolation of Nature by Valerie Martin, and Last Night by James Salter. Both of these have a few truly memorable stories (Martin: The Freeze, and Elegy for Dead Animals; Salter: Last Night, and My Lord You). For my taste, there was not a single story from Salter that I couldn't read again.

Currently reading Unearned Pleasures by Ursula Hegi. I'm about half way through and have yet to find anything that has made much of an impression on me.

I've also started Assorted Fire Events by David Means. Some challenging and memorable stories right out of the gate from this collection. I'm looking forward to finishing it.


message 23: by Geoff (last edited Apr 13, 2009 08:17AM) (new)

Geoff Wyss | 171 comments I'm about halfway through Nicholas Montemarano's collection 'If the Sky Falls' and really enjoying it. These don't feel even a little like anyone else's stories--which reminds you why the fiction published in places like the New Yorker is lame and bad and evil.


message 24: by Alan (new)

Alan (takingsky) | 10 comments Scott wrote: "Recently finished The Consolation of Nature by Valerie Martin, and Last Night by James Salter. Both of these have a few truly memorable stories (Martin: The Freeze, and Elegy for Dead Animals; Salt..."

I loved Last Night too, and the David Means one. Although I find with Means after two collections (I also read the Secret Goldfish) I didn't want to read any more from him for a long time.



message 25: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Reading Etgar Keret's The Nimrod Flipout and Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You back to back inspired my current obsession with reading short stories. They're both excellent, and had me thinking about them for days after I finished.


message 26: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Wyss | 171 comments Misha: I read the Miranda July book about a year or so ago; don't remember enough to say anything specific, but I do remember liking a couple pieces enough not to regret buying it (while being irked by several other pieces).


message 27: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I hit a point around the middle where I realized every story was told with the same voice, regardless of whether the character was an elderly man just discovering his homosexuality or a runaway teenage female stripper. And I thought July worked a little too hard to be quirky. That was a bit annoying, but then the last few stories were so lovely and poignant and heart-wrenching that I ended up giving the book five stars despite the sagging middle. It's a collection that got under my skin and inspired me to do some writing of my own, so I think she earned the rave review from me despite the flaws.


message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 26, 2009 07:21AM) (new)

Geoff wrote: "I'm about halfway through Nicholas Montemarano's collection 'If the Sky Falls' and really enjoying it. These don't feel even a little like anyone else's stories--which reminds you why the fiction ..."

I just bought Nicholas Montemarano's collection as well after discovering him in Land Grant College Review (Issue 4), a journal which I think has come to either a full or temporary stop. (And I think a discussion of noteworthy journals would be a good discussion for short story lovers to have; maybe this is happening in another thread).

To my delight, I liked every story in Land Grant College Review Issue 4 which is a rare occurrence, and Montemarano's story "Love Bites" is among them. I've read the first two stories of Montemarano's collection and got distracted. (This has nothing to do with Montemarano.) Are short story readers more distractible? Probably just me.

I write short stories and I write reviews, and I sometimes cover collections. I will be reviewing Sean O' Brien's The Silent Room recently out from Comma Press. I'll be reviewing it for The Quarterly Conversation, a journal that can be found on-line and that contains reviews of many translated works and works from around the world.


message 29: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 26, 2009 07:04AM) (new)

Alan wrote: "I read a lot of short stories (mainly because I'm a short story writer) and review many collections.I also recommend - as Tim above the Short Review as a place to find new and old collections revie..."

The Penguin collection you mention in this post sounds interesting, although the only thing that would bother me would be to carry around a thousand page book with stories I've already read. Perhaps they package it that way so more unknown authors will be more likely to find an audience with those who will buy what is known. I look forward to day, hope for a day, that consumers can make their own books. Wasn't Penguin doing this for a while? I heard a rumor. Maybe they were up to something like this for a while, or were discussing it.


message 30: by Alan (new)

Alan (takingsky) | 10 comments Meg wrote: "Alan wrote: "I read a lot of short stories (mainly because I'm a short story writer) and review many collections.I also recommend - as Tim above the Short Review as a place to find new and old coll..."

Yes it is heavy! I think it's good that so many new stories were opened up to me, which you wouldn't get if you made your own books. It would be nice for your own shelves and for gifts but I think you can't beat buying anthologies for intros to new (to you) writers.
You may have read many of the Penguin one. If you like I can send you the contents which would help you decide.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Alan wrote: "Meg wrote: "Alan wrote: "I read a lot of short stories (mainly because I'm a short story writer) and review many collections.I also recommend - as Tim above the Short Review as a place to find new ..."

Thank you. When you I went back and read that this collection was entitled Art of the Tale in America, I remembered this collection by Halpern. Unfortunately it is in a box somewhere at present so I cannot refer to it, but I remember when I first read it feeling it was a bit uneven.




message 32: by Beth (new)

Beth Diiorio (beth_diiorio) Recently read Olive Kitteridge A Novel in Stories (5 stars) and re-read some Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories . Within this collection, I enjoyed A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and A Day's Wait.


message 33: by A.J. (new)

A.J. One recent collection that I thought was very good is The Withdrawal Method by Pasha Malla.


message 34: by Harley (new)

Harley (harleybarb) | 26 comments I'm nine stories (out of 48) into The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction,, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. I'm so glad I bought this one. The Hermit's Story by Rick Bass had an otherworldly/real world setting that was so fascinating -- usually setting doesn't move me much. I was happy to re-meet Ann Beattie, and am reminded I have a collection of hers on my shelf that I haven't read yet. As usual, I found a sourness to T. C. Boyle's story, but mostly I'm enjoying each one.


message 35: by Beth (new)

Beth Diiorio (beth_diiorio) Harley wrote: "I'm nine stories (out of 48) into The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction,, edited by Joyce Carol Oates.

Harley, Thanks for passing this along. I will tackle it after I finish The Dead Fish Museum Stories. First time I've read d'Ambrosio and I'm undecided so far...have to read a few more stories.



message 36: by Harley (new)

Harley (harleybarb) | 26 comments Harley, Thanks for passing this along. I will tackle it after I finish The Dead Fish Museum Stories

I heard him read a couple of years ago at Village Books here in Bellingham, WA -- he read a story I think is in that collection about a woman in a psych hospital. I liked it, sort of darkish.




message 37: by Clifford (new)

Clifford (clifford_garstang) | 3 comments I've been a member of this group for a while and wanted to let you know that I've just published my first story collection

In an Uncharted Country


message 38: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Sheldon (deborahsheldon) Hi Clifford,

Congratulations on your short story collection. I hope you're popping plenty of champagne corks!


message 39: by Harley (new)

Harley (harleybarb) | 26 comments Yea Clifford! I read your fascinating bio -- quite a range of impressive activities, and now a published story writer besides. Glad you're following your bliss.


message 40: by Cathie (new)

Cathie (countrygarden) | 3 comments very exciting for you clifford!


message 41: by A.J. (new)

A.J. The Last Shot - A Novella and Ten stories by Leon Rooke is, I think, very impressive.

And this considering that I'm not ordinarily a fan of magic realism in the short story.


message 42: by Chris (new)

Chris Antenen | 139 comments What's magic realism, A.J? Never heard of it, but it sounds as though it might be what my own stories turn out to be. Real, real, real and then oops, magic.


message 43: by A.J. (new)

A.J. In short, magic realism is the use of magical or fantastic elements in an otherwise realistic story.

For example, in Rooke's "Magi Dogs," a painter is in his studio, painting a picture of a cottage. A dog enters the studio, wanders into the painting, and lies down on the cottage steps. Later, it bites the painter's father. This is not treated as fantastic in the story; we're simply to accept that things like this happen.

See Wikipedia for a thorough discussion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_re...

The reason I'm not usually a fan is that this is often a cheap device to create interest.


message 44: by Chris (new)

Chris Antenen | 139 comments A.J. wrote: "In short, magic realism is the use of magical or fantastic elements in an otherwise realistic story.

For example, in Rooke's "Magi Dogs," a painter is in his studio, painting a picture of a cottag..."


A.J. wrote: "In short, magic realism is the use of magical or fantastic elements in an otherwise realistic story.

For example, in Rooke's "Magi Dogs," a painter is in his studio, painting a picture of a cottag..."


A.J. wrote: "The Last Shot - A Novella and Ten stories by Leon Rooke is, I think, very impressive.

And this considering that I'm not ordinarily a fan of magic realism in the short story."


A.J. wrote: "In short, magic realism is the use of magical or fantastic elements in an otherwise realistic story.

For example, in Rooke's "Magi Dogs," a painter is in his studio, painting a picture of a cottag..."


OKAY Had a friend who wrote a beatuiful story about a European landscape w/beautiful carriage, beautiful couple who stepped out of the picture. Sort of Mary Poppins French. I'm not smart enough to plan it, but it does happen in my writing with frequency in spite of pushback on my part, so you might want to rethink the 'device' thought. However, with all the reading I have done on writing, one would think I would have encountered the term, but I hadn't. Glad I asked the question and thank you. Am reading wiki article.


message 45: by John (new)

John Woodington (john_woodington) | 6 comments I just read "Persistent Views of the Unknown" in the current issue of The Missouri Review, and really enjoyed it. It starts out with an interesting idea (A woman's life is forced into solitude because she witnessed a UFO when she was a child) and drives to a wonderful conclusion of hope and discovery. One of the better stories I've read recently. The Missouri Review comes through again.


message 46: by John (new)

John Woodington (john_woodington) | 6 comments "Grief" by Anton Chekhov was absolutely wonderful.


message 47: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Wyss | 171 comments Just finished 'The Animal Girl' by John Fulton. Can't recommend it. If you want to see my very frustrated review, I've just posted it.


message 48: by A.J. (last edited Dec 29, 2009 07:31AM) (new)

A.J. I hate to say this, Geoff, but your review made me want to read it.

For the purposes of research, I am willing to subject myself to a great deal of suffering. Someone has to participate in these clinical trials, right?

Let me throw out some recent (and not-so-recent) favorites:

What Boys Like and Other Stories by Amy Jones: the cover is brash and loud and the stories are, too. Edgy stories about young women on the edge of one thing or another. Includes an interesting take on second-person narration.

The Withdrawal Method by Pasha Malla. I should have mentioned this months ago, but I didn't. (oops -- look up. I did.)

I also read Dancing Nightly in the Tavern by Mark Jarman, who I mentioned above. This was his first collection, and it's uneven compared to his later work (with, at times, notably weak dialogue), but the good stories are so good....

Jarman's story "Fables of the Deconstruction" (from My White Planet, mentioned above) is online here:
http://www.barcelonareview.com/47/e_m...


message 49: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Sheldon (deborahsheldon) I would value some feedback, if any of you have the time and might be interested. My publisher, Skive Magazine Press, has released a Free Ebook (pdf) Sampler from my upcoming short story collection, 'All the little things that we lose'. I'd love to hear any opinions about the featured story, 'Waiting for the huntsman', whether good or bad. The link is:
http://bit.ly/8XIxCF


message 50: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 17 comments Is this group dead? What do y'all say about starting a short story discussion, where we all read the same story and discuss it?


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