More often than not I have a book in mind to read next before I even finish one that is in progress. Of course when I start browsing books on my shelves looking for 'just the right book' problems arise. I think I know what I want but matching the book with my mood can be challenging. Then it is a matter of looking, tasting, and testing. Now I have to start a pile and am faced with a dilemma. A good dilemma, of course. I want to continue on with my short story Sundays, so the book must be something I will want to return to week after week for the next month or two. The other part of the equation is that you get to hear about them, so I will let you in on the process.
Here are my choices. Maybe a little teaser to help things along? The first lines of the first stories.
Strangers by Antonia White -- I was all set to pick this up next. Nine stories and a poem written between 1928-1964. The first story is "The Moment of Truth". "On the stone floor inlaid with coats of arms, only a few couples were dancing, yet the hall was filled with the lisping of feet. The music was as insistent as the band striking up when a man falls from a trapeze."
Infinite Riches: Classic Stories by Twentieth-Century Women Writers edited by Lynn Knight -- This is an anthology with a diverse list of women writers from Jane Bowles, to Colette to Grace Paley to Rebecca West. Sylvia Townsend Warner's "An Act of Reparation" opens the collection. "So much of the list had been scratched off that this remainder would have made cheerful reading if it had not been for the last item."
Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces by Angela Carter -- "Nine darkly inventive takes of desire, slaughter, and hideous knowledge in the tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Edgar Allen Poe. Now here is a worthy follower of a book with the title Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives! First story is "A Souvenir of Japan" which starts "When I went outside to see if he was coming home, some children dressed ready for bed in cotton nightgowns were playing with sparklers in the vacant lot on the corner."
A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories by Margaret Drabble -- I've never read her before. One jacket blurb reads "Perfectly turned works . . . A grand feat, and something to smile about." I'm all for smiling when it comes to books. Fourteen stories. First is "Les Liaisons Dangereuses". "It was the kind of party at which nobody got introduced."
The Rose Garden by Maeve Brennan -- In honor of March and St. Patrick's Day? Brennan wrote for the New Yorker and I tend to like very much New Yorker authors. Lots of stories--some set in Dublin and some in New York. "The View from the Kitchen" begins "Herbert's Retreat is a snug community of forty or so houses that cluster together on the east bank of the Hudson thirty miles above New York City."
The Best American Short Stories 2013 edited by Elizabeth Strout -- I was so elated to get these best of books, and have not done a thing about them since. At least there will be some male authors. The first story is by Daniel Alarcon called "The Provincials". It starts "I'd been out of the conservatory for about a year when my great-uncle Raul died."
Flipping through the books almost makes the decision harder. Now I will have to mull it over. Shall a surprise you next Sunday? Maybe I should draw straws? Maybe I should pick two? (That's just pure greed).