Short Story Month 2010

Since May rolled in, I’ve been immersed in reading short fiction, mostly from collections that have been on my “Currently Reading” list since forever. Partly because there’s far too many items on that list these days, mostly because May is supposedly Short Story Month. It was, last year. Heh. At the time that I posted this entry on Brodkey, Davis, DFW, and Thomas Cobb’s Crazy Heart, there was no official word yet. But Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network has just officially launched Short Story Month 2010. That puts a little official-ness to the festivities, I think. [I’ve used the word official too many times, haha.] Not to mention it’s easier to get a hold of people in the big bad intarwebz that’s dedicating most of their reading month to short fiction. So, well, here it is–lookit that authoritative banner:

I’ve been waiting for SSM to come for months now–I failed last year, despite such noble and ambitious intentions. I’m more determined this time around: I will own this month, haha.

I like short fiction. I like it a lot. I was asked by bloggie-sister Lija [of Writer’s Pet] on zombie-apocalypse books. That is, what books I’ll stuff in my backpack when the dead rise and we’re scurrying for shelter. The books I chose were mostly short story collections–several of them “The Collected Stories of–.” Not very practical to lug around those kinds of books when the zombies are after you. But then again, it’s my apocalypse, and I can do whatever I want.

So, well, yeah, I love the short story. I read a lot of them, and try to write what I can. The two aren’t dissimilar, though–see my share of navel-gazing re the reading/studying and writing of short stories over at the imaginatively titled post, Reading the Short Story:

Every experience with the short story is at least two-fold: there’s the joy of having a couple of minutes pass with a well-written piece of literature in your hands, and then there’s the excitement of finding something you can emulate, something you can absorb and then deviate from.

[I know, I just quoted myself.] There you go, then. Sasha is spending the month reading more short stories than she usually does. I won’t be reading just short stories though–novels by Lorrie Moore and Miguel Syjuco, among others, are waiting for me, haha–but I’ll definitely go for the 31 [days] x (at least) 3 [short stories] thing. The past couple of months, I’ve been trying to do just that, but I tend to slip. This month, well, I have a reading schedule, for bleep’s sake–with a spreadsheet and all that.

Since the month began, I’ve read fourteen stories–some Lydia Davis, some Alice Munro. [Short story collections on my plate: The World is the Home of Love and Death, by Harold Brodkey. Open Secrets, by Alice Munro. Break It Down, by Lydia Davis. The Whole Story and Other Stories, by Ali Smith. Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link. The Secrets of the Fire King, by Kim Edwards. And whatever I can get my hands on, thus only worsening the state of my TBR Land Mass. Fine.]

On with May, ladies and gents. On with May.

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10 comments

  1. I have read about 12 short stories since April 1-this is something new for me-all were read on line for free-mostly at Dailylit.com

    1. Thanks, Mel. I’ve never heard of DailyLit–I’ll be going around the site, looking for reads, if I run out of shorts to read. :)

  2. tuulenhaiven · · Reply

    This seems fitting, as I’m already reading Borges short stories this month. I have a Lydia Davis collection winging my way via ILL, and I’m on the brink of finally buying The Complete Saki. Unlike you, short stories are outside of the norm for me, and I’m still trying to figure out how to approach them. Full immersion this month.

    1. I have Borges in my shelves too, but he’s not on the spreadsheet, haha. Good luck with the immersion. And I hope you like Lydia Davis–I’m currently reading her Break It Down collection, and she’s fast becoming one of my favorite writers.

  3. Choosing “Collected Stories” WAS totally cheating, but I’ll let it slide just this once.

    1. Hahaha, I knew it. You forgive me, don’t you? :p Besides, as a tightwad, you’d understand the merits of buying a ginormous book than several littler ones cheaper, yes? ;p

  4. I’ve only read two or three short stories so far. I really need to speed it up. I have The Collected Stories of John Cheever on my TBR pile along with a few others. Happy reading!

    1. Happy reading to you too. I don’t think it’s the number of stories that’s the most important–but that we’re intent to focus on short fiction this month. :) Have fun!

  5. I have read 0 short stories since November, and in November I only read them because I had to because I’m an editor of literary magazine. I was going to see I think what the short story is to Sasha is what the essay is to Ash, but that’s not really true either because you make your way through collections much faster than I do. I always feel like I’m doing good just to read a few chapters from my book, so to get in essay collections is rather difficult. I have some coming up this summer though so maybe I can turn it around. :) Hope you enjoy SSM!

    1. Come on, pleeeeeeeeease, Ash. :) Like we chatted about on Twitter, I’d finish this DFW book of essays if you pick up a short story collection for May. Please please please please? [Shameless begging, I know, haha–but I completely understand the reticence. I mean, I rarely read collections in one sitting; it could be overwhelming.]

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