As we move into the holiday season, I’m hoping to have a bit more time to read. I’m going to need it because my current reading list includes: 1. The Art of the Short Story (by Gioia & Gwynn) and 2. The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories (by Jeff & Ann VanderMeer). Both books contain 50+ short stories (The Weird has over 100!) and both clock in at over 900 pages.
If you love short stories, I highly recommend these massive tomes. The Art has Baldwin, Chekhov, Faulkner, Borges, Le Guin, Updike, and many other fiction authors. The Weird has Poe, Gaiman, Bradbury, Jackson, King, and so many other amazing authors of the creepy/strange/weird. Both books have a refreshing mix of writers I know and love and others that are completely new to me. My favorite stories so far are The Swimmer by John Cheever and Srendi Vashtar by Saki.
Short stories are undervalued, with many people choosing novels over anthologies or literary magazines. I was like that, too, until I started writing stories. I never appreciated how much work goes into creating them. Every word has to be chosen very carefully because you don’t have the space to include anything unnecessary. Everything has to unfold in just a few paragraphs or pages. I’m not saying you should get a massive collection of stories like I did, but do look around for collections by your favorite authors. They may be writing novels now, but odds are they’ve written some short stories at some point in their careers.
What book(s) are you trying to make some headway into this holiday season?