Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Short Story Reading Challenge

In college I discovered a love for short stories. Since then, I find I'm always either listening to or picking up short stories or collections of short stories and reading them. I think I've learned the most about writing from reading short stories. So, I was delighted when I heard about The Short Story Reading Challenge.  For myself, I'm going to aim at reading five collections over the year. In addition, I want to read at least ten "new to me" short story authors.

I encourage everyone to check out short stories. They can be found everywhere if you look - magazines, books, or websites. Also, if you like to listen to stories, check out PRI Selected Shorts podcasts. They do weekly readings of a wide variety of short stories. It takes an incredible amount of talent to write a story in so few words and, at the same time, move your readers. These authors have amazing talent and I feel that they get overlooked in our society devoted almost entirely to the long novel.

If you're wondering where to start, I recommend Flannery O'Conner. She's one of my favorites. I visited her home three years ago. Below is a picture I took of a barn on her property. When I look at the picture, I can see the scenes from Good Country People playing out.


  1. Have you ever read anything by Raymond Carver, Sherwood Anderson, Kate Chopin, Shirley Jackson, or Eudora Welty? Try Carver's "Cathedral", any by Chopin (one of the all time greats), Jackson's "The Lottery", Welty's "Why I Live at the P.O.", and Anderson's "Hands". They are really great short stories!

  2. I think I've read all of those, Ashley. Eudora Welty is amazing. I read Sherwood Anderson's collection, "Winesburg, Ohio". I read one story by Jhumpa Lahiri that I really enjoyed so I'm hoping to try out one of her collections. I also have Z.Z. Packer and Dorothy Parker on my list.