Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm reading the Best American Short Stories of the Century this summer. Want to join me?

The nice thing about short stories is you can slide a few in between your other reading. This anthology is a collection of stories from the Best American Short Stories series which began in 1915.

You don't have to read the stories in order. I usually don't when I'm reading an anthology. My usual ritual is to read the first sentence of each story and then choose where to begin. But this time, I've decided to start with the first story and work my way through to the last that was published in 1999.

If you decide to come along for the journey, don't skip the forward by Katrina Kenison and John Updike's introduction. Kenison tells the history of the series and includes an anecdote about the founder Edward J. O'Brien's meeting a young writer who was so distraught after losing a suitcase of manuscripts, he was considering quiting. O'Brien read the two stories that the young man still had. After O'Brien finished, he was so impressed he made an exception and included a never before published story in the series--Ernest Hemingway's "My Old Man."

I think short stories represent one of the best forms of literature. If you've never given them a chance as a reader, why not pick up a copy of the book and travel through the century with me? I guarantee you'll find a story that will stay with you through a lifetime.

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