1. Jonathan22
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    Jonathan22 Contributing Member

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    Short Story collections

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Jonathan22, Dec 7, 2011.

    I've just finished what I thought was a brilliant short story collection, In Exile by Billy O'Callahan. I've read a few other collections in recent months, some by single authors and others by a multitude and really find they are often better than most novels. I wonder why they haven't caught on like novels as they are easier to fit into busy schedules people have nowadays and are just as entertaining and thoughtful as novels.

    Any views on this?

    And while I'm here, any collections people have read that they would recommend?
     
  2. KdubWright
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    KdubWright New Member

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    Well I would recommend How They Met, a collection of stories about finding love, losing it, proving it and how you meet it. Really good stories that cure my writers block all the time.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I love short stories, so it's no surprise that I love short story collections. They're the counterpoint of anthologies/literary magazines, where instead of seeing many authors' variation around a similar theme, you're seeing one author's range (or a section of it).
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love short stories. I'd say the short story collection that I've liked the most has probably been Elephant and other stories by Raymond Carver. But I haven't read many collections, I have a load on my 'to read' list though.
     
  5. Velox
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    Velox Senior Member

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    There's many good short story collections. I completely agree that it's quite a shame they aren't more widely recognized -- as you said, it'd make sense considering a short story takes much less time to read than a novel, and for those looking for just a quick read or don't have much time, short stories are perfect.

    But anyway. A few collections I like:

    Side Jobs, by Jim Butcher. First off, the whole Dresden Files series is fantastic. Here, you not only get more of that, but you also get stories from other characters' perspective. It was also really cool reading the short stories in order while I was reading the whole DF series (as they do take place between certain books). However, they can just as well be read alone, without reading the whole series.

    Thriller, edited by James Patterson. A great collection of, as I'm sure you've guessed, thriller stories.

    The whole "Best American Mystery Stories" series. The series editor is Otto Penzler, but each book (a new one comes out each year) has its own editor.

    Any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Some other various Sherlock Holmes story collections (written by other authors besides Doyle).

    Agatha Christie's short stories.

    Aand Alfred Hitchcock's short story collections (I personally have Portraits of Murder, The Best of Mystery, and Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense). Hitchcock knows his stuff, and it's cool to read the things he picks.

    There's many more, I'm sure, but those are all the ones I can remember at the top of my head.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Dubliners - James Joyce
    Metamorphosis and others - Franz Kafka
    Call of Cthulhu and others - H.P. Lovecraft.
    Any collection of Poe.

    These collections of short stories that are above peer.
     
  7. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    I bought a collection of tales by Poe for £2 last week but haven't got reading any of them yet. Bargain I thought

    Any ones in particular you'd recommend?
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings published by Penguin Classics is perhaps the best I've found if you want to have a good overview of Poe's work. It contains his best known poems and tales, as well as a few little-known jems of poetry and fiction; and it has a good choice of his non-fiction and essays too.

    The large hardback The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe published by Wordsworth Press is also worth looking at. It has a large number of his poems, almost all of his fiction, and the novel Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (this was the reason I bought the book to be honest) but it doesn't have his non-fiction, if that bothers you too much. These usually go for £10 in the UK and they are a steal, but they don't come with notes.

    This can also be said of Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe published by Barnes and Noble. I don't own it, but I know someone who does and it's, practically speaking, very much like the Wordsworth edition only with a few more stories, poems, and a few of his non-fiction writings; and it's a lot more expensive.
     
  9. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    The first one you mention is the one I have - Selected tales with the Fall of the House of Usher published by Penguin. I've had a quick glance through a paragraph or two and it seems like pretty dense reading but I'm looking forward to it all the same! Old fiction, for me, always requires so much more concentration because if you day dream for even a sentence you'll be completely lost

    Got Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment as well (Can't wait to read it), along with Catch-22 by Joseph Heller which I'm gonna finish first before I move on to the other two!
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    My own copy of Fall of the House of Usher and Others has been so used and loved over the years it's not strictly speaking a book any more, just a bundle of papers that are the same shape and style. I bought it on discount in a W.H. Smiths when I was 14 and it's been one of the best buys I've ever made. I really hope you enjoy it.

    I've got Crime and Punishment too, the Penguin Classics edition, but I've been putting it off for some reason. I will read it at some point though, I really want to.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Poe is great. He mastered the short story when it wasn't really a popular form. Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are wonderful. I have a hardcover edition of all of them complete with the original illustrations from Strand Magazine - it's one of the treasures on my bookshelf.

    Joseph Conrad wrote many short stories and novellas, and published them as collections in his lifetime. I don't know if they're still available in that form, though. Rudyard Kipling also excelled at the short story form - the Jungle Books are short story collections, for instance. Try looking for the Viking Portable Library editions of classic authors like these: The Portable Conrad, The Portable Kipling, etc.

    Some more modern writers have worked extensively in the short story form and have collections available. Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, etc. etc.
     
  12. ADT
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    ADT New Member

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    For contemporary American short-fiction collections, I'd recommend:

    Steven Millhauser, anything (it's his strongest form, and he has a few collections)
    Any collection by Charles Baxter
    Denis Johnson's "Jesus' Son"
    Carver's "Cathedral"

    Unfortunately those are all white men that came to mind first. Which reminds me that the best short story collection I've ever read is Junot Diaz's Drown, about his adolescence in the Dominican and later in the US. His first published book, before he won the Pulitzer with Brief Wondrous Life.
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Guy de Maupassant is another great short story writer (some would say he's the best). For me, Maupassant, Kafka, and Chekhov are the big three short story writers.

    For a more modern read, I'd go with Alice Munro. She's been writing short stories for over 40 years now and is one of the best short story writers we have today.
     
  14. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nice to see a fellow Maupassant fan. I love everything I've read by him.

    Otherwise, stuff I enjoy: Oscar Wilde, Poe, Hemingway, Jack London, Dickens, and especially P.G Wodehouse and Somerset Maugham.

    I should check out some contemporary short story collections.
     
  15. Hollowly
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    Hollowly Member

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    This sounds interesting. There are several books with this title. Could you tell me the ISBN or who the author(s) are? I'd like to check it out. :)
     
  16. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    If anybody likes scathing realism mixed in with bits of surrealism and absurdity, I'd recommend The Acid House by Irvine Welsh. It's a very good selection of stories that are pretty diverse, and it ends with a brilliant novella. I like Welsh for the way he explores the human mind in brilliantly articulate ways, and he never holds any punches in his writing.
     
  17. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hop-frog. Quite a hoot. And a short short.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^Hop Frog is pretty ace. :p
     
  19. Jonathan22
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    Jonathan22 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for all of these responses guys. A lot of names been thrown about that I can get in to. Sherlock Holmes shorts are great and Agatha Christie too, but I've never read Poe. Thanks again!
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Don't forget also (because I did and am now kicking myself) Haruki Murakami's short story collections: The Elephant Vanishes and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; these are also excellent. In fact, Murakami is perhaps one of the best writers working today.

    Stephen King's collections are worth checking out, but this is not a recommendation.

    Slow Learner by Thomas Pynchon is really worth checking out. With it's introduction the otherwise reclusive author gives us a 1 to 1 on why he doesn't like the stories in the volume, and gives some great advice for aspiring/young writers.
     
  21. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    Cathedral by Raymond Carver.

    The Question of Bruno by Aleksander Hemon.
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Also: Forty Stores by Donald Barthelme.

    Some weird but very funny stories here.
     
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  23. Burlbird
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    A Haunted House - Virginia Woolf
    Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami
    Damned Yard - Ivo Andric
    And anything from E. A. Poe, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Robert Walser, and Borges.
     
  24. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    The School is pretty awesome.
     
  25. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    T.C. Boyle has some good short story collections. He collected his collections into Stories and it's very much worth checking out.
     

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