Blog Archive for June, 2012

05 Jun 2012

Short Stories: Simply Perfect for Summer

1 Comment New and Exciting, What You Should Read

A drawing of a bear statue on top of a pillar.A recent New York Times story entitled “New Under the Sun: Books for Basking,” provided several wonderful titles for summer reading. In this piece, Janet Maslin recommends two ambitious historical novels: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which our groups will be tackling in July and August.

But, summertime is really perfect for short fiction. In anticipation of the dog days and frequent swims and naps, short stories are wonderful for that in-between fiction fix. With this in mind, we are making a few suggestions.

First, we highly recommend several of the short stories found in Nathan Englander’s latest collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. In particular, “Sister Hills” and “Free Fruit for Young Widows” (which first appeared in The New Yorker) are spectacular. And, if you read the title story, you certainly should re-visit Raymond Carver’s classic “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” as a companion piece (found in his collection Where I’m Calling From).

Second, take a look at Don DeLillo’s Angel Esmeralda, which is filled with haunting, gorgeous language and settings spanning past, present and future. The title story is just about the most perfect thing DeLillo has ever penned, and The New Yorker describes it as ‘a dazzlingly told tale of despair and ruination, the dream of redemption and the testing of faith.’

Then, find some time for the master of short fiction, Alice Munro. Her collection, Too Much Happiness is dark and insightful (try “Deep Holes” and “Child’s Play”–which, by the way, dovetails quite nicely with Englander’s “Camp Sundown).”

Last, if you loved The Art of Fielding, then you might consider re-reading one of our favorites, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener.” Owen Dunne, the “Buddha” of The Art of Fielding, is inspired by Bartleby (and probably Billy Budd as well).

So, if you are hungry for summer snacks instead of full meals, consider short stories. Let us know if you read any of these recommendations and what you think. Happy Summer!