Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Short stories abound

Do you love to read but often find you don’t have the time? Keep falling asleep in the middle of a chapter? Do you put down a book only to finally be able to return to it 2 weeks later and you have forgotten the premise? Try reading short stories. Whether you like to laugh-out-loud, cringe or catch up on a classic the library has several short story collections worth placing by your bedside table, in the console of your car, or in your big bag/briefcase for those few stolen moments when you can sit and read.

I started with a fairly new release American Housewife by Helen Ellis. I found many laugh-out-loud worthy stories that made me think of Nora Ephron and Erma Bombeck. “The Wainscoting War” takes place with a series of emails that start off cordial but end... well, you’ll see. Reality TV show viewers will appreciate the tongue in cheek of “The Dumpster Diving with the Stars” story featuring John Lithgow and Mario Batali.

Like memoirs? Then David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim may be right for you. Sedaris regales us with tales of growing up in the 70’s with 4 sisters and a brother. He speaks of their love of Halloween candy, snow storms that last forever in Binghamton, the family move to North Carolina and the biggest question facing all families ... which child will get married first and have children?!?

If all this reading has left you little time to shop and cook for dinner then take the advice of Bailey White in her collection Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living . White’s mom chooses her main course by what she finds on the side of the road in “Dead on the Road”. Her dinner guests didn’t mind and neither should yours. Southern charm comes through in her writing and allows the reader to enjoy the Georgia warmth and hospitality ... just be wary of the main course that kinda tastes like chicken(?). White’s “The Buzzard”, less than 20 sentences long, had to be read twice and then I sat and reflected upon those eye-opening words.

Of course, reading about birds reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe. “The Raven”, although a poem, is longer than the last short story I read. Our copy of Poe short stories has the bonus of select poems including “The Raven”. The master of terrifying has many famous short stories including “The Tell-Tale Heart” which never fails to get my heart racing but I found myself gravitating to his lesser known works like “The Power of Words” and “The Oval Portrait”, a sad tale of passion.

Check out the short stories listed here or others in our collection so at the end of your reading time you too can say “This it is and nothing more.” ~ Poe, the Raven.

~ Ann-Marie Sieczka

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