Short Story Reads: September 1-7, 2012

“The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”

Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication: Shadow Show: All-new Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
Publication type: Anthology, Multiple Authors
Favorite lines: “I learned your books. Burned them into my mind. In case the firemen come to town” (Gaiman 15).
Thoughts: An immense treat for anyone who has read Bradbury, and still a lovely, moving story for anyone who hasn’t. The sadness at losing Bradbury, and the joy of having read him, all condensed into a shortish short story. I want to keep this one on my shelves forever. 

“Renovation”

Author: Amanda Curtin

Publication: Inherited
Publication type: Short story collection, single author
Favorite lines: “In making this house mine, I will probably destroy more than I know” (Curtin 77).
Thoughts:So many characters, time periods, lives in the space of a short story, but somehow I feel like I know them all. 

“Magic Palm (for Mei)”

Author: Kevin Brown
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, 2010
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman
Thoughts:Time used so well here. And a cycle that is expected, but doesn’t feel trite. 

“Candlelight”

Author: Christy Strick
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, 2010
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman
Thoughts: A one-sentence short story with a beautiful voice, smells and bright echoes of people. 

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Short Story Reads: August 25-31, 2012

Cool bug on the front porch

A rough week in the real world, and I can’t believe I only read one flash story the whole time. I started reading a novel, but not so much that there wasn’t any time for short stories. I need to push myself harder to read. After all, the bad times are when I need stories the most.

“Balancing Racks”

Author: Jason Sinclair Long
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, 2010
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman
Recommended by: Ashley Cowger

Too short to quote – the story is only half of a page. And there aren’t any witty lines or lyrical indulgences. But the effect is impressive. Time handled deftly, interactions pitch perfect, a scene that is a story of one moment that ripples out both forward and back. Excellent.

Short Story Reads:August 18-24, 2012

Furball with this week’s short stories

“Tiny, Smiling Daddy”

Author: Mary Gaitskill
Publication: Because They Wanted To
Publication type: Short story collection, single author

Writing this good feels like magic.

Favorite lines:
“He felt helplessness move through his body the way a swimmer feels a large sea creature pass beneath him” (Gaitskill 13). 

“The Sound of a Room”

Author: Amanda Curtin
Publication: Inherited
Publication type: Short story collection, single author

I’ve been immensely enjoying this collection, but this is the story that cemented my love for Curtin’s writing.

Favorite lines:
“He had succeeded in capturing the sound of the ordinary” (Curtin 59). 

“Omitted Excerpt”

Author: Alexander Weinstein
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, 2010
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman

At first glance the conceit seemed too heavy to support any emotional weight, but midway through it started to sing to me.

Favorite lines:
“Regardless of my narrative status, I still believe I have potential to exist outside parenthesis” (Weinstein 9-11). 

“The Broken House of Nan-Jing”

Author: Matt Siegel
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, 2010
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman

A whole novel in a flash story – excellent.

Favorite lines:
“When he was finished with his fourth draft and sitting on a growing pile of rejection letters, he asked the administration if he could read a chapter in the central quad, and they set up a podium twenty yards from a group of sorority girls selling raffle tickets for an all-expense paid trip to Cabo” (Siegel 12-13). 

“Standard Loneliness Package”

Author: Charles Yu
Publication: The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011
Publication type: Anthology, multiple authors, ed. Rich Horton

Beautifully written. Brilliant. Heartbreaking.

Favorite lines:
“In the end, we’re all brains for hire” (Yu 146). 

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I’m challenging myself to read five short stories each week. The stories can be from collections or magazines, online or print, novella or flash.

I’ll post my short story reads for each week here on Friday, with a few notes about each story.

Have you read any short stories this week you’d like to recommend?

Short Story Reads: August 11-17, 2012

“On the Uses of the Dead to the Living”

Author: Amanda Curtin
Publication: Inherited
Publication type: Short story collection, single author

Favorite lines:
“Imagine that it’s 1860, it’s a beautiful stately home in the country, it’s a carriageway lined with poplars and elms and departed family members, twice varnished for maximum weatherproofing. A professor of phrenology is balancing on a ladder, probing the preserved heads of ancestors, taking measurements and notes and recording data for explication of the family line, making predictions about its future, your future. You are a Victorian. You don’t know what to believe” (Curtin 41).

“Hamburger Moon”

Author: Amanda Curtin
Publication: Inherited
Publication type: Short story collection, single author

Favorite lines:
“Resisting the desire to be the star of the group, the one with the most bizarre deviancies, has been difficult, for she craves the ambrosia of specialness, but she has learned new ways for old addictions” (Curtin 47). 

“Shakedown”

2012 Tusculum Review Fiction Prize Winner

Author: Elizabeth Gonzalez
Publication: The Tusculum Review, Vol. 8. 2012
Publication type: Literary Journal, Print edition

Favorite lines:
“It’s not the size of the task, that would be one thing — it’s because there’s something in the assembled train that wasn’t on the floor with the parts. It’s like holding up a jacket and a pair of arms sliding in and a live person walking away — he, the jacket holder, is astonished every time” (Gonzalez 45). 

“Post-Industrial Love”

Author: Alexander Weinstein
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman

Favorite lines:
“There’s something frightening, almost criminal, about appearing in public with a hanger. A wooden coat rack, on the other hand, carries an air of respectability” (Weinstein 2). 

“Crossing the Border”

Author: Ian Hunter
Publication: Fast Forward: The Mix Tape
Publication type: Flash fiction collection, multiple authors, eds. Forman, Morris & Stohlman

Favorite lines:
“Licking my lips, I pressed on the accelerator, taking us down the road towards another of those 90 degree turns, while brightly coloured hotels and houses appeared on either side of us, like the blooming of strange flowers” (Hunter 6-7). 

*

I’m challenging myself to read five short stories each week. The stories can be from collections or magazines, online or print, novella or flash.

I’ll post my short story reads for each week here on Friday, with a few notes about each story.

Have you read any short stories this week you’d like to recommend?