Attending our friend Kathryn’s Press 53 award ceremony last Saturday, where she was recognized for her short story “Vermin,” got me back on a short story kick. I’ve been a fan of short stories for years, and have such admiration for that style of writing. After all, think of how much you have to be able to accomplish in so few pages with a good short story — you introduce characters, build a scene, create some sort of conflict or incident, and wrap things up in some form or fashion all without using many words.
So yes, I’m very impressed. (Kudos to all you short story writers out there!)
And since we’re talking short stories, I thought I’d pass along a few of my favorite short story collections. (Some of these are a bit odd, but that’s what I love about them. Just wanted to give fair warning.):
- Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. This is most definitely NOT the same side of author Roald Dahl that we saw in such children’s classics as The BFG and Matilda. The short story Dahl is dark and unexpected and, at times, downright malicious. It’s wonderful. I first discovered this short story collection in a used bookstore while studying abroad in London, and it quickly became a favorite (or, should I say, “favourite”?).
- Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. As is true, I assume, for most, I first fell for Salinger after reading The Catcher in the Rye, and quickly moved on to Franny and Zooey (also great) and then discovered the writer’s wonderful short story offerings.
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Indian author Lahiri penned the beautiful novel Namesake, and her writing continues to shine in this collection of tales. Her writing is captivating and lovely, and Lahiri’s ability to develop truly dimensional characters is wildly impressive.
- The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber. This is a bit of a sentimental pick for me, because my dad’s a big Thurber fan and he used to read me his stories when I was a kid. Thurber, a humorist in the ’30s and ’40s, was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorker magazine as well as short story collections like this one. (“The Night The Bed Fell” is a Swindle family favorite, for the record.)
If you’re a short story fan, what are some of your favorite collections?