Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reviving the Short Story Reading Challenge for 2010

I hosted the initial incarnation of the Short Story Reading Challenge in 2008 and was thrilled at the number of readers that I encountered through it who proved to be already devotees of or who were willing to embrace the short story form. I took a year off from challenges this past year, but after several expressions of interest in another round, I'm feeling enthusiastic about a revival of the Short Story Reading Challenge for 2010. So here goes. The challenge could take a number of different forms depending on your level of familiarity with short stories and on the amount of reading time you expect to have at your disposal in the coming year.

Options 1 & 2: If you're short on time, you can simply commit to reading ten short stories by ten different authors over the course of 2010. If you're relatively new to reading short stories, any ten will do. If you’ve already got a lot of short stories under your belt, make it ten short stories by ten writers whose work you have not yet read. How about that—a year long challenge that you could conceivably complete in the course of a day! Of course, I would encourage you not to do that but rather to heed the words of Mavis Gallant, short story writer extraordinaire, who advises:

Stories are not chapters of novels. They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait.

Completing this version of the challenge could be as simple as participating in the short story discussions at A Curious Singularity throughout the year (after a lengthy hiatus, A Curious Singularity is also slated for revival in 2010⎯stay tuned for an announcement about that). Or picking up a short story anthology, whether of classic or contemporary stories, or of stories of a particular genre or on a particular theme, and slowly working your way through at least ten of the stories contained within. Of course, my hope is that once you get started you’ll get hooked and you’ll spiral out into other stories by those writers and more!

Options 3 & 4: If you've got a bit more time to devote to this endeavour, you can commit to reading between five and ten short story collections over the course of 2010. Again, if you're a short story novice, the world is your oyster as far as selection is concerned. But if you're a seasoned short story reader, you'll want to choose collections by writers whose short stories you have not yet encountered.

Option 5: This is the custom option under the rubric of which you can tailor your reading list to best meet your personal reading aspirations. You might wish to craft a list that focuses on a particular place, or era, or genre. Or you might wish to include reading about short stories as well as of short stories, for example, such works as Frank O'Connor's The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story. It's entirely up to you.

If you'd like to participate in the challenge, let me know in the comments section below or via e-mail, and if you provide me with an e-mail address, I'll send you an invitation to join this blog. Even if you don't plan to participate in the challenge, please post the titles of some of your favourite shorts stories or the names of your favourite short story writers below so that participants in the challenge can benefit from your recommendations.

Happy Reading!

40 comments:

Seachanges said...

I'm in Kate - will 'commit' tomorrow or day after. I loved the short story challenge and it will be the only one I'll be doing this year! Happy new year to you.

Erika said...

I'm interested in joining!

CCDPiper said...

I'd like to join in. I'm a newbie so I'm committing to option 2.

Here's my link: http://piperspastreads.blogspot.com/2009/12/short-story-reading-challenge-11-123110.html

Beverly said...

I am interested in joining this challenge.
I purchased a number of short story collections last year and have not read them. This will be a way for me to read the collections and to learn more about the short story genre.

katrina said...

I'm joining, I participated in 2008 as well. I'll be doing option 5. I'm aiming to read a wide variety of short stories to fit in with other challenges, so mine will include Victorian, stories from around the world, GLBT, Joseph Conrad, Stefan Zweig etc. I will probably post themed posts about them.
I love looking on sites like this for inspiration. I recently discovered this site for free online classic stories http://www.readprint.com/

and Words Without Borders has a great selection of international stories, see here
http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/

Ex Libris said...

I'm so glad you are hosting this challenge again! I'm in and committing to option 5. You'll find my blog post here:

http://exlibris.typepad.com/ex_libris/2010/01/the-short-story-reading-challenge-2010.html

Veggiemomof2 said...

Here is my commitment post.
http://veggiemomof2.blogspot.com/2010/01/short-story-reading-challenge.html

gege said...

I'd be very interested to join this challenge. I'll look for an anthology since I like reading through one whole book.

I blog at http://gegeflipspages.blogspot.com.

Thanks for hosting this. An interesting challenge.

Jenny said...

I was looking out for a short story challenge specifically and couldn't find one, so I'm really excited to see this! It'll be great to see what other people read for this challenge, too.

For interest, I'll also point out the Spoken Ink website, which is all about downloading mp3s of short stories.

On my potential list is Candas Jane Dorsey, Helen Dunmore, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alessandro Boffa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jhumpa Lahiri.

I blogged about it here! I shall sign up for option 3.

Good luck, everybody!

Rhinoa said...

I will sign up for this again, but not sure which option I will go for yet. I'll have a think over the weekend and put up a post soon.

http://rhinoasramblings.blogspot.com/

Brittanie said...

This sounds like an interesting challenge and change for me. I did my sign up post here:
http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2010/01/short-story-reading-challenge-2010.html

Melwyk said...

I've officially joined here, and posted about it - I'll be trying out Option 3.

Suzanne Gardner said...

I'm totally in! I'm already doing my own Canadiana Reading Challenge this year, so I'll now read 5 to 10 Canadian short story collections over the year! My post about it is here: http://www.suzannegardner.ca/2010/01/03/the-short-story-reading-challenge-a-challenge-within-a-challenge/

Lesley said...

I'm so glad you're offering this challenge again! Here is my sign-up post: Short Story Challenge

Rayna said...

I am up for this challenge. I am working on my introduction post now and will link it here ASAP. I am thinking of Option 3, five short story collections.

Rayna said...

Here's my intro post http://raynadeatren.blogspot.com/2010/01/short-story-reading-challenge.html

lauralynne said...

I'd love to participate. I'm committing to option 5. That'll give me space to go all over the map and also read some criticism, which I am looking forward to.

Heather Hedin Singh said...

Very cool! I've been reading more short stories lately as I want to write more. In fact, we're hosting a short story writing challenge over at www.storysleuths.com this month as we discuss an anthology of stories called Geektastic.

I look forward to learning more about the Short Story Reading Challenge.

Karen said...

I'd like to join officially now. I've posted about the challenge now on my high school library blog. I'm committing to Challenge 5 and will be reading 5 collections from my school library and 5 collections from my home library that I haven't read:

http://ghhslibrary.psd401.net/?p=1050

George said...

I'd like to read a short story collection each month of 2010. My blog address is www.georgekelley.org.

Suzanne said...

I would love to participate! I heard about this challenge from Brittanie of A Book Lover, after I posted about reading short stories and how I'm going to make a point of doing it more this year! This challenge is perfect for me! I'm going to commit to option 1 to read ten short stories by ten different authors over the next year. Here's my post on reading short stories, http://chickwithbooks.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-salon-short-story-treat-or-tease.html

I'll link to challenge here, but I'll make a separate post later in the week about the challenge and the "options".

Thanks for hosting the challenge! I look forward to reading with a purpose!

Suzanne
Chick with Books
suzannelevin at me dot com

pattinase (abbott) said...

I will read a short story collection each month. My blog is http://pattinase.blogspot.com
I am also a short story writer and am currently preparing an anthology of stories set in Walmart. Perhaps that will be available to read in the future-should God be good.

Carl V. said...

I am definitely in. I'm participating in another short story challenge, so this may be a bit of killing two birds with one stone, but I hope you'll have me anyway.

I will be trying to complete at least 10 short story collections over the year. I've already finished The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein and have read the December 1964 issue of Galaxy magazine.

I'll be adding this link to my 2010 challenges at the top of my blog.

Melissa said...

Count me in also. I love short stories and am looking forward to this. You can visit my post about the challenge at http:/www.melissabookwormblogger.blogspot.com.

Thanks for hosting.

Alyce said...

I'll have to sign up for this. Even though I already have signed up for a ridiculous amount of challenges, I'm already planning to read a lot of short stories for the 42 (sci-fi) challenge.

Karenlibrarian said...

I'm currently obsessed with short stories, so this is great! I think I'll be doing option 3, at least 5 short story collections. I'm sure I can find at least this many on my to-read shelf alone.

Leviathan said...

I'm interested in joining your contest. I love short stories, especially Gothic tales.

Bedazzled said...

I would like to participate in this challenge.. I blog at http://bedazzledeternally.blogspot.com

Veens said...

I did like to join too!
http://nidhiveens-loveforbooks.blogspot.com/2010/01/short-story-challenges.html

Heather said...

Hi Kate, I've decided to read a short story a month. I put up my first post today.

Anonymous said...

Kate, I found out about this from my good friend George Kelley. As I've read at least one short story a day for the last 14 YEARS this is right up my alley, so count me in!

Jeff Meyerson

(email to follow)

Susan said...

Oh, just noticed this on Nan's blog; I would like to join the challenge - I think option 3 (trying to remember what it said). I just took out a collection of short stories by John Cheever from the library.

Journey said...

I'm in! (I already left a comment at the other blog.)

I haven't posted any reviews so far, but I read some stories and put up a kind of "introduction" post last night. :)

I'd love to participate here, too. My E-Mail is:
journey 22 ( at ) web . de
(minus the spaces ;) )

Can't wait to read more stories and also a lot of reviews! :)

Mariyah said...

I'd like to join too!

mariyahsinclair@live.co.uk

Dreadful Penny said...

I'd love to join this challenge! I'm committing to five short story collections in 2010, but I hope to do more if I can. Some of my favorite anthologies are collections for science fiction and fantasy stories... I particularly recommend Sharyn November's Firebird anthologies if you like YA SF and fantasy. I'm in the middle of the third one--Firebird Soaring--and it has not disappointed.

cotyledon said...

Count me in please.

cotyledon said...

All in.

cotyledon said...

All in.

Aelia said...

It may be a bit late... but I'm certainly going to jump in on this one.

Joy Renee said...

You say newcomers are welcome throughout the year so...

My intent to join post.

I am going to choose Option 5 the custom one for as a writer I wish to read about short stories as well as read the stories. I wish to read about writing short stories as well as about reading them. I wish to discover new authors and revisit old favorites. And I imagine some of the stories I choose will be found on the Gilmore Girls Challenge list. Which would likely include some Dorothy Parker who would be a new author for me.

Two of my favorite short story writers going back decades are Flannery O'Conner and Joyce Carol Oates. I also remember liking Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jorge Luis Borges. I'm remembering other stories I liked vaguely but without author names or titles attached so I'll leave it at that for now as I go to explore my options.

joystory @ gmail.com