Friday, January 27, 2012

Short Stories with Plenty to Think About

I've been on quite a short story kick for a while now.  Reading short stories is a great way to sample an authors work since you can easily read a story or two and then decide whether to continue or find another author.  Some of my favorites include:

Dan Chaon- An Ohio native, Chaon is always experimenting with different writing styles.  He has plenty of short stories and a few novels out there.  I'm eagerly awaiting his newest, Stay Awake, which is another set of short stories.  Among the Missing was my introduction to his work.  This is a fascinating work focusing on human relationships in new and subtle ways.  "Safety Man" is a great story from this collection, in which a widow desperately tries to protect herself and her family with a crime deterrent dummy.

Alice Munro- I've only read Too Much Happiness and Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You, but I will definitely be checking out more from Munro's extensive short story collection.  Her ability to write about people ranging from juvenile to old age is nothing short of amazing.  Too Much Happiness is actually about death, regret, and loss, yet the final story in the collection brings new meaning and a fresh perspective to these life truths.

Kevin Brockmeier- I'm still not sure how I feel about Brockmeier's full-length books, but his short stories are terrific.  Check out The View from the Seventh Layer for something different.  The stories can sometimes be described as fables and other times seem more like science fiction.  I'll admit, it was very cool to see one story done in the Choose Your Own Adventure format!

Tove Jansson- I mentioned Jansson in my Favorite Books of 2011 post and would really like to mention Fair Play again.  It's not really short stories as much as the story of two artists shown through short vignettes.  Jansson has a knack for showing how the little moments in life we take for granted have a major effect on who we become.

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