Thursday, January 3, 2008

Taking the challenge

In accepting Kate's Short Story Reading Challenge, I was less than bold - instead of committing to reading ten story collections, I opted for reading ten individual stories. I'd rather under-commit and over-deliver than vice versa, and besides, after running a litblog for the past several years I know how difficult it is to review story collections. On top of that, I also have novels and non-fiction I'd like to read this year, and fiction of my own to write, so reading and reviewing ten collections was more than I thought I could manage. So I'll just do ten stories instead but, I assure you, I'll do them well. Quality over quantity, I hope.

Right now I only have a few definite ideas of short story authors I'd like to read this year, but here are the writers and collections I hope to be checking out:

Billy Lombardo - The Logic of a Rose
Jonathan Messinger - Hiding Out
Elizabeth Crane - All This Heavenly Glory
Raymond Carver - What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Anton Chekhov - Ward Number Six
ZZ Packer - Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Dennis Lehane - Coronado
George Singleton - Drowning in Gruel
Alice Munro - Runaway
Flannery O'Connor - A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Larry Brown - Big Bad Love
Saul Bellow - Collected Stories
Etgar Keret - The Nimrod Flipout
Roy Kesey - All Over
Benjamin Percy - Refresh, Refresh

That's right - I'm an aspiring fiction writer who still hasn't read Carver, Chekhov, Bellow or any O'Connor other than "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Shameful, indeed. However, despite these omissions I still consider myself moderately well-read, so here are some great story collections you might consider for yourself:

Nelson Algren - The Neon Wilderness
Stuart Dybek - I Sailed With Magellan
Aleksandar Hemon - The Question of Bruno
William Trevor - A Bit on the Side
Sherwood Anderson - Winesburg, Ohio
Shalom Auslander - Beware of God
James Joyce - Dubliners
Franz Kafka - The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Should be a fun year. Talk to you again soon.


bookinhand said...

I am new to the world of Short Stories but was pleased to see that one of the very few collections I have ever read was listed as one of your favorites: Stuart Dybek - I Sailed With Magellan. I read it a few years ago when it first came out and really enjoyed it! Diane

Damon Garr said...

Pete, you've made some good choices there, including Carver, Munro, and O'Connor. You should be impressed. Myself, I'm reading the Chekhov right now. I've committed to, at least, the following collections this year:

The Stories of John Cheever
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
All Aunt Hagar's Children - Edward P. Jones
High Lonesome - Joyce Carol Oates

And of course the Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and Best New American Voices collections.