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A Brief Survey Of The Short Story
July 18, 2011 6:44 PM   Subscribe

What with Borders going belly-up and no new books being written ever, avid readers fear that their chief means of edification and entertainment may no longer be viable. Fear not, and look backwards. Over at The Guardian, Chris Power has spent the last few years telling giving us A Brief Survey Of The Short Story. A lot of my favourites are there, and I am discovering others I am keen to try. What about you?
posted by tumid dahlia (23 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used to do all my reading on my commute, but now I've found myself reading MeFi or TV Tropes and playing Words with Friends. Its pretty depressing. I'm going to miss Borders, too - it was pretty much the only place to hang out in Fairfield (USA). Used to bike there, read some comics, and bike home. Luckily there are still heaps of independent bookstores in Sydney.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:54 PM on July 18, 2011


One of the things I love about used book stores is the realization after shopping in them for a while that all the books fit to read haven't just come out in the last five years, and that you could be reading good books your whole life without running out even if publishing stopped tomorrow.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:03 PM on July 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Best short story evar. [SPOILERS INSIDE]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:10 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Luckily there are still heaps of independent bookstores in Sydney.

You fucking Australia-inhabiting bastard. Next you'll say that you get kangaroo milk delivered to your doorstep every morning, and that all sidewalks in Sydney are smeared with Vegemite.
posted by Nomyte at 7:11 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


You fucking Australia-inhabiting bastard. Next you'll say that you get kangaroo milk delivered to your doorstep every morning, and that all sidewalks in Sydney are smeared with Vegemite.

He'll say no such thing. Kangaroos are nocturnal, and therefore, the best time to milk them is at dusk. Kangaroo milk is typically delivered at around midnight in most suburbs.
posted by vidur at 7:18 PM on July 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Kindle "Single" is an interesting concept - shorter than a novel, but a standalone thing. Hmmm, what to call it?

Also, that stuff on the sidewalk isn't Vegemite. I hope you didn't put it on your toast.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:22 PM on July 18, 2011


Cool series.

No Robert Louis Stevenson. Barry Menikoff considered The New Arabian Nights to be the starting point in the history of the English short story, while Author Conan Doyle called "The Pavilion on the Links" the "high-water mark of Stevenson's genius" and "the first short-story in the world".
posted by stbalbach at 7:35 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


hmmm....decisons- decisions water or books...water or...books.
Kangaroo, yes!
posted by clavdivs at 7:35 PM on July 18, 2011


This avid reader's more concerned about the thousands and thousands of Borders workers who are about to be out of a job. Books qua books will be fine.
posted by Mike Smith at 8:02 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just bought my first ebook the other day, from lulu.com, from word of mouth.

It was just under 2 bucks.

If this is the new system, I fucking love it.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:43 PM on July 18, 2011


Well, I've only read the first one so far, but this looks very interesting. I'm going to list the posts in the series, to make it easy for myself when I come back to this. And also in case anyone else might find it useful.

1. Anton Chekhov
2. HP Lovecraft
3. Mavis Gallant
4. Ryunosuke Akutagawa
5. Raymond Carver
6. Julian Maclaren-Ross
7. Etgar Keret
8. Robert Walser
9. VS Pritchett
10. Grace Paley

11. Katherine Mansfield
12. Heinrich von Kleist
13. Franz Kafka
14. MR James
15. F Scott Fitzgerald
16. Donald Barthelme
17. Jane Bowles
18. Stefan Zweig
19. Ray Bradbury
20. Nikolai Gogol

21. HH Munro
22. Julio Cortázar
23. JF Powers
24. Lydia Davis
25. Leo Tolstoy
26. JG Ballard
27. Jorge Luis Borges
28. Vladimir Nabokov
29. Eudora Welty
30. Bruno Schulz

31. Boccaccio
32. James Joyce
33. Deborah Eisenberg
34. Ernest Hemingway
posted by -jf- at 9:04 PM on July 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Oh wow, nice one -jf-. I was going to do that initially but...didn't.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:35 PM on July 18, 2011


that stuff on the sidewalk isn't Vegemite. I hope you didn't put it on your toast.

You'd rather I put vegemite on my toast?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:30 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


that stuff on the sidewalk isn't Vegemite. I hope you didn't put it on your toast.

You'd rather I put vegemite on my toast?


Sure, we've nothing against masochism.
posted by vidur at 10:42 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may also like the most recommended stories on Fictionaut.
posted by muckster at 11:13 PM on July 18, 2011


Bill Keller: I suck at writing books, therefore all books and all people who write them suck.

What a douche.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:26 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best short story evar. [SPOILERS INSIDE]

Found a link to it! [PDF]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:40 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to miss Borders, too - it was pretty much the only place to hang out in Fairfield (USA). Used to bike there, read some comics, and bike home.

A lot of people did that. Had they actually bought the comics/books instead, Borders might still be in business.

The local bookstore I worked at back in the late 80s/early 90s closed when Borders/BN superstores came to town with their integral coffeeshops and cushier deals for visiting authors, so I don't have a ton of sympathy for Borders losing out to the next wave. I do feel for the employees though.
posted by headnsouth at 4:22 AM on July 19, 2011


Next you'll say that you get kangaroo milk delivered to your doorstep every morning, and that all sidewalks in Sydney are smeared with Vegemite.

Have you never seen a kangaroo being milked?

It's not like with cows where you need to hook them up to giant machines that go "pisht-pisht-pisht". No, you just connect a tube with a weight on it to their little udders and every time they bounce, the momentum of the weight pulls the milk out. Since there's no big machinery, there's no need to have a big barn, so you just let them roam free. If you want some milk, you just rugby tackle a passing 'roo and swap the milk bottle for a fresh one...

Of course, you need to check the date on the bottle - it's a bastard getting cheese out of those things.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:21 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Salinger's '9 Stories' brilliant. Oh, and Alice Munro.
posted by judson at 6:44 AM on July 19, 2011


I'll jump in to plug JG Ballard's Vermillion Sands, a collection of short stories set in a common universe that is rendered in a quieter, more intricate voice than his better known work, but it's a concise volume that you can read repeatedly and come back with something new each time. Lovely.
posted by sonascope at 10:45 AM on July 19, 2011


I was just thinking about getting back into writing by writing down some of the short story ideas I've had recently. This is the perfect distraction to prevent me from doing this. Thank you.
posted by wobh at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2011


Short stories can be harder to writer than novels. Like driving to a destination the shortest way possible vs getting there by trial and error.
posted by stbalbach at 2:53 PM on July 19, 2011


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