these are a few of my favourite stories

one shelf of many and porcelain jars by heyday design
Sometimes school takes up a lot of my time, and right now is certainly no exception. If I wasn't so busy with school one of the things I'd being doing a lot more of is reading. Okay, let me rephrase, one of the things I'd be doing is reading books of my choosing. This isn't to say that I don't enjoy all of the reading I do for school, some of it is pretty awesome, but I don't have the time for fiction and stories the way that I used to. Although I still get through a respectable number of books every year, I find when I'm busy I have to find things that can be read in smaller chunks. Now would not be the time to tackle 2666 by Roberto Bolano, an 800+ page epic that I read in the summer of 2009. Instead, I find myself gravitating to books of short stories, and thinking that some of you might also have busy, reading-inhibiting lives, I offer you here some of my favourites, in very particular order. Happy weekend!

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

If you haven't read anything by Shirley Jackson, this is a good place to start. My friend and, really, my reading mentor (so many amazing suggestions over the years!), Camilla, reintroduced me to Jackson when she lent me We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is still one of my favourites.

Drown by Junot Diaz

Many of you are likey familiar with Diaz's novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008, among many other prestigious awards. Well, Drown is a collection of short stories that will really lead you right to that novel's front door. I always feel like I'm hanging out with the cool kids when I read Diaz. You should really check him out if you haven't already.

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders

Okay, I chose this George Saunders book because I think it is the best of his collections, but it isn't the only good one. You should really read them all, and I can almost guarantee that once you've read one, you'll head straight for the rest. I tried to find a quote from his writing to include with this, and though I have lots of favourites, I just couldn't come up with one that would tell the whole story. Hilarious, crazy vernacular language, I don't know, he just says it exactly how any of us would. If you read one book of short stories this year, I'd say it should probably be this one.

Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver

Finally, the big one. This is it, the ultimate fall reading, the ultimate American short stories. I'm currently reading Call If You Need Me, but Where I'm Calling From is the classic. I actually don't have words for this, all I can say is you have to read it. Now.

Have you read any of these? Do you have favourite short story writers? Tell me more!


  1. i LOVE those porcelain jars. i'm trying to talk my husband into building me a whole wall of built-in shelving in my living room for books and knick knacks. so far, i'm not having any luck, but i told him i'm only asking for that for christmas, so he better get busy!

    i've never read any of the books you listed, but maybe i'll have to check them out sometime. i don't generally read short stories, but i love reading so much that i'll read a shampoo bottle if i have to.

  2. oh my dear sarah, how i love the white shelf. and how i love the shirley jackson. yes i do.

  3. danielle: I'm really into reading cereal boxes, tea boxes, whatever's on the breakfast table. I just can't hold a book and eat at the same time!

    marigold: we share in our love of shirley jackson. oh nelly, my nell!


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