I recently received three short story anthologies in the mail that I wanted to mention and am hoping to integrate into my current reads stack. Several years ago I read and wrote about one short story a week and discovered how much I like reading this format. I still do, but as so often happens I tend to get wrapped up in the novels and mysteries I am reading, so my good intentions go out the window when it comes to other types of books.
Since I have three new collections sitting by my bed and they are calling out my name, I was thinking I could once again try and read and write about short stories on Sundays--at least for the rest of the year, and see how it goes. I was very devoted the first time around, but when I tried the same thing with essays I ran out of steam early on. I don't think I'll try and write about each story in these anthologies, but it would be nice to give a taste of what I'm reading, and later I might look for some other collections that concentrate on writers from other cultures.
These collections are really nicely designed as the table of contents gives a brief description of the story, so you can pick and choose according to mood. There is also a bit of biographical material about each author and translator. Often you get no sense of who translated the work. The stories seem to average anywhere from 10-30 pages, and when needed there is a glossary.
What I like about the collections is they are by contemporary international authors who are from places I don't tend to read about normally. Here's a little preview:
Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific is edited by Trevor Carolan. There are stories by authors from Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Bangladesh. I'm afraid I don't recognize any of the authors, but that means there are lots of new writers to discover.
The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia is edited by Trevor Carolan. Short stories are by authors from India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and The Maldives. Again, I'm unfamiliar with the authors, but a cursory glance at the biographies and I have a feeling they are well known and well respected abroad.
Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: The Best 21st Century Short Stories from Japan is edited by Helen Mitsios. There are a baker's dozen of stories in this collection including two by Natsuo Kirino (I read her Out several years ago) and Haruki Murakami, who I have yet to try.
Now I think I'm off to find a cool corner (it's blisteringly hot here and as my house is old the upstairs gets uncomfortably warm) to dip into one of the collections. Just this morning I finished a very suspenseful read (will post about it later this week), so I think I'm ready to change gears and look for something a little different to read.