Short and Sweet
Last week I joined the Book Chat conversation that takes place each month at the Westport Library. What a great group of readers! If you are looking for some inspiration and suggestions for reading, I highly recommend dropping in on the first Tuesday of the month to share what you’ve read and pick up some great ideas from Nina Sankovitch and the rest of the participants. One of the members suggested a few short story collections that she was reading, and it got me thinking about some of my favorite authors who have also written short stories. I’ve noticed that some book clubs have read some very long novels this winter. A short story collection might also be a welcome addition for your book club now that winter is over. Reading a few short stories from a collection might be a good choice, especially for those who may have had trouble finishing that last book or for those whose busy schedules limit their reading to short blocks of time. Here are a few suggestions.
Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clauson’s Pier and Songs without Words, has just released a new collection of short stories. In Swim Back to Me, many of her stories are focused on situations that might make one feel uncomfortable. But Packer has a way of inducing you to read on by making her characters seem real and the situations feel true.
Nothing Right by Antonya Nelson is a collection of short stories set in the Midwest. Ms. Nelson has written contemporary stories with unforgettable characters. Nothing seems to go right for the characters in these stories, and Ms. Nelson has succeeded in portraying the small, minor dramas of their lives.
You Know When the Men are Gone is a debut collection of interconnected short stories by Siobhan Fallon. These stories highlight the lives of military wives, connected by their shared experiences; the waiting, the worrying, the loneliness of their daily lives. Ms. Fallon, herself a military wife, has captured their stories -tales of both love and war – in this collection. Although this is not a political book, Ms. Fallon has succeeded in capturing an authentic picture of war from the home front. This is a beautifully written, compelling book, perfect for a good discussion.
A short story may not have a complicated, dense plot, but sometimes those single, small moments can move a reader in ways you can’t predict. If you have any other favorite collections, I’d love to hear your suggestions.