I read, more or less, a short story every day. Not every day, but most. Somedays, if I’m not working hard on a novel or other book, and the selections are shortish, I’ll read two or three. I have been doing that all my life. Let’s see… maybe three hundred short stories a year for maybe forty years – that’s in the neighborhood of twelve thousand short stories.
Seems like a lot.
So, it looks like May has been declared short story month. I’m not sure where I read that – or what person or organization actually declared the month. Probably some random blogger. I don’t think the Official International Board for Naming Months Shit had anything to do with it.
Anyway. I missed it. But it did get me thinking. After the gears stopped creaking and the smoke cleared I decided to make June my non-official short story month. I will read a story a day, take notes, and eventually write a blog entry on it.
I will definitely stick to my schedule on reading them – though I might wait before putting it online if there is something else I want to write about that day, so be patient.
The next step is to make a list. I went out to look for:
- Thirty One stories by different authors. Yes, I know that June only has thirty days… but thirty one seems like a better number. So it will drag over into July. So sue me.
- Stories that I don’t remember reading. This isn’t a firm rule, there are a couple that I read a while back that I want to revisit… but generally new stuff. This wipes out a long list of some of my favorite authors – Ballard, Poe, Denis Johnson, Flannery O’Connor, Lovecraft, Pynchon, Russell Banks… that would otherwise have featured positions because I have read, as far as I can tell, everything they wrote. Or at least all the short stories. On the other hand, there are a few authors on here that I have never read. I’m a bit ashamed of that and see this as a good opportunity for an introduction. Which ones? I’m not telling.
- I’m going for breadth, not quality. This is not a list of the best short stories, but an attempt at a wide sampling, hopefully to find something unknown, a new rabbit hole to fall down. I tried to select shorter works whenever possible – time is in great demand.
- Finally, I wanted them all to be available free, online, in some sort of readable format. So that all of you can read along if you wish. This was the most difficult and restrictive of the requirements. I’ll include a link with each entry.
This list may change – especially if a link goes dead. Any suggestions will be gladly accepted – if this works, I may do it again.
I thought it would be difficult to fill out the list, but it was very easy. I had to trim it down. I could have gone to a hundred without much trouble.
When I write a review I am careful to only give a tiny hint of a plot – I detest spoilers. Hopefully, I can come up with something interesting to say about each story. Again, I hope that this may look interesting enough that somebody else will read at least a few of these and throw their opinions up.
I’ll start tomorrow… and here’s the current list so far:
1. – The Fall of Edward Barnard
W. Somerset Maugham
2. – Heat
Joyce Carol Oates
3. – A Study in Emerald
4. – The School
5. – Symbols and Signs
6. – Gooseberries
7. – Sea Oak
8. Thirteen Wives
9. – “A 32-Year Old Day Tripper”
10 – The Crawling Sky
Joe R Lansdale
(new story changes each week)
11. The Piece of String
Guy de Maupassant
12. Paladin of the Lost Hour
13. A Father’s Story
14. Beyond the Door
Philip K Dick
15. Wiggle Room
David Foster Wallace
16. – The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
Ursula K LeGuin
17. The Dark Arts
18. The Landlady
Man From the South
19. Eyes of a Blue Dog
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
20. A Telephone Call
21. Mexican Manifesto
22. The Sandman
23. Hunters in the Snow
24 Red Nails (Conan the Barbarian)
Robert E Howard
25. The Use of Force
William Carlos Williams
26. The Secret Room
27. From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee
28. Pretty Boy
29. The Garden Party
31. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose