sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 29, 2014

armchair bea: short stories
posted by soe 12:51 am
Armchair BEA
Designed by Amber of
Shelf Notes

Today’s Armchair BEA genre topic focused on shorter works:

“Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?”

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of short stories and novellas. With novellas, I find the length awkward and usually end up wishing they’d been novels or short stories. And with short stories or, rather, short story collections, I find they tend to be a little darker than I’d like my fiction to be and I often end up liking only about half of them. I’m not sure why if I only like half the songs on an album, I’d consider that acceptable, but not so with stories, but that’s the way it works for me. I do tend to like essay collections, so again, it’s clearly not the length that’s the problem.

That said, I have enjoyed a certain number of short story collections over the years. Here are a few I’d recommend:

  • Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson: A trio of related short stories dealing with teens at Christmas during a blizzard. This was my introduction to all three of these YA heavy hitters, and while I don’t know I would have been wowed by any of the stories singly, as a group they worked for me.
  • Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis: Possibly my favorite short story collection. There were definitely a few clunkers in this group of sci-fi/fantasy-leaning Christmas tales, but they were the exception and I still think of several of the individual stories every year around the holidays. Probably means it’s time for a re-read next winter.
  • Any and all of the Paddington books by Michael Bond: These classic children’s stories focus on a marmalade-loving, trouble-attracting bear from the depths of Peru and are my go-to reads when I’m feeling under the weather.
  • Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros: A group of feminist/womanist tales focusing on immigrants, the poor, and Latinas. Cisneros’ words are poetic and you can’t help but feel immersed in the stories she tells.
  • You can’t go wrong with a good fairy tale collection. The Grimms or Andersen or Perrault are all solid places to start. Phillip Pullman recently revisited some of the tales and put a fresh spin on them, and I hope to find a copy soon to read.

How about you? Got any short stories, collections, or novellas that really work for you that you’d recommend I try? I’m not against checking some out from the library and giving them a shot.

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