Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Short Stories, 2010

Short stories. The list below includes both books and individual stories. Many are classics. I listened to many many stories on pod cast and usually neglected to write down the titles. I also read many in literary magazines and ditto. I also enjoy the local readings at Brodie Library, especially the stories by Sue Blott, John Pringle, Jim Foulds, Sherri Lankinen and so many others. Here are a few notes I made during the year. In no particular order:

1. North and South by Salman Rushdie, a wonderful story. I also enjoyed his collection East and West which includes the tale, “The Prophet’s Hair.”

2. The Dead by James Joyce. The greatest short story ever written? Local literature maven and former librarian, Maynard Bjorgo, thinks so. From the book The Dubliners.

3. The story Bernadette by Mavis Gallant starts with a great first line. “On the hundred and twenty-sixth day, Bernadette could no longer pretend not to be sure.” From the 2010 collection, Going Ashore.

3. I enjoyed all the stories in Short Stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Many of the women in these stories deal must deal with the feelings of displacement that come with immigration.

4. Southern Stories by Clark Blaise, based on his childhood in Florida. The book reads like memoir or creative non-fiction. First person POV only. Some excellent stories, especially The Hurricane. The young boys run into a gang of strange people who I think were Melungians.

5. P.G. Woodhouse’s The Reverend Wooing of Archibald must be one of the greatest stories in the English language. What a genius the man was and how I would like to follow him, but perhaps no one can. I read it three times and one section, the part describing the Archibald’s imitation of a hen laying an egg, I read several times, laughing out loud every time. Unparalleled greatness.

6. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro. Never too much Alice. The world’s greatest short story writer hits a homer, as usual.

7. Best Short Stories by Women. I was intrigued by a Louisa Mae Alcott story which involves a group of 19th century friends who take hashish at a picnic.

8. Casino by Bonnie Burnard The title story Casino, created using short vignettes, stood out for me.

9. The Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky. An acid look at contemporary urban life. “Where are You Coming From, Sweetheart?” is a memorable story of a young girl. Short listed for the Giller.

10. Light Lifting by Alexander McLeod – tough masculine stories. I liked Miracle Mile about professional runners. Short listed for the Giller.

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