Saturday, 15 December 2007

Struggling with short stories

John at The Book Mine Set has very kindly invited me to host Short Story Monday here next week. I wrote last week that I have reservations about short stories, which are regarded by some as the perfect art form. Despite being brought up on the stories of O. Henry and, late, Guy de Maupassant, my attitude to most short stories tends to be, "Okay, so what?" even when I've read some critical appraisal telling me how good this particular gem is. And I do enjoy some: I quite like the stories of Alice Munro (more so after a friend told me to read them straight through as a novel), and enjoy those of Neil Gaiman. I even have a favourite, Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener", which I find intriguing.

I meant to persevere, however, and will be reading a variety of classic short stories, writers to include Chekhov, Borges, Lovecraft...not Hemingway, I had to read him at school and he's not my cup of tea. It shouldn't be hard to find material - a quick check on my Library Thing catalogue tells me I have 14 collections of short stories amongst the books I have already listed there. Suggestions will be welcomed, especially if you tell me why you're recommending the story.

Monday's post, I've decided, will be on the title story from Susannah Clarke's collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu, which I've been looking forward to for some time. If you feel like joining me on Monday, find a short story, settle down and try to enjoy!


  1. Anybody who looks around will see that short stories are on the rise. It is easier to write a novel than a short story.

    Anyway, we all have our prejudices and preferences which become obvious in our writing.

    Thanks for your blog and for sharing your prejudices and preferences.

    Terry Finley
    author of two books of short stories.

  2. I hoped I had made it clear that I thought my general dislike of the form was a lack in me, rather than a comment on the form itself. That is why I have undertaken to read a a variety of stories, including by authors who are regarded as the best exponents of the form. Then, if I persist in disliking them, I should be able to explain my reasons (which I freely admit I can't do clearly at the moment).

    Thanks for your comment. Please do come back and check out my Monday efforts from time to time!