5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

[As mentioned earlier, for November and December, I am revisiting the top ten stories featured here throughout the year.] One of the best recent essays I have read about the short story form is by Brandon Taylor. In ‘Against the Attention Economy: Short Stories Are Not Quick Literary Fixes’, he makes some excellent points. Here are just a few of them . . . All of the short stories I share each month here are ones that, if we take the time to read them with attention and patience, will beat inside of us like second hearts. For December, we have stories (all free to read online, just click the titles) from these amazing writers: Lesley Nneka Arimah; John Cheever; Amy Tan; Karen Shepard; and Michael Cunningham. Enjoy. Oh, and in case you missed them, I also had two short stories published in Jet Fuel Review and Kweli Journal. The latter has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

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5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for November 2017

For November and December, let’s revisit the best of the last ten months of short stories from this ongoing series. Why bother with this? For one, I find many short stories, when reread, give us new flavors, textures, nuances, etc., that we might have missed during the first read. For another, I do not want these amazing stories to simply get buried in the archives. So here are the five best-of-the-best from January-May 2017: stories by Karen Russell, Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Leila Aboulela, Robert Olen Butler, Helen Oyeyemi. These were very hard to pick, as you can imagine. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for November 2017

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for October 2017

Last October, I went the predictable route with a collection of horror stories for Halloween. This month, let’s turn to fairytale retellings, one of my favorite fiction sub-genres. As with many readers and writers, fairytales, with all their enchantment, magic, and fantasy aspects were my first thrilling introduction to storytelling. And these retellings for adults not only subvert the usual, tired tropes — the damsel in distress, the wicked witch, the handsome prince, the evil giant, etc. — but give us more complex and nuanced worlds and characters. Many famous writers have tried their hand, through novels and short stories, at both revisionist retellings of ancient fairytales and creating original ones of their own. We’ll get to the latter another month. For now, let’s take a look at the traditional, well-known ones that have been retold and made entirely new by these writers: Angela Carter, Susan Scarf Merrell, Robert Coover, Jennifer Wortman, and Michael Cunningham. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for October 2017

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for September 2017

This month’s selection of stories is to do with the theme of getting older. The Oxford English Dictionary and the US Census define the midlife period as between the ages of 45 and 65 years and I am beginning this phase of my life this month. So I went looking for stories specifically about what I call “Middlescence.” Here are some of them by Yiyun Li, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Karen Shepard, Jon Hickey, Anushka Jasraj, and one of my flash stories from earlier this year. As usual, they are all free to read online by clicking on the titles below. Enjoy. [NOTE: For regular readers: You may have noticed that I tend to share stories by Alice Munro and Grace Paley quite frequently. Both of them have, of course, written many terrific works on this theme. I tried to mix it up a bit this time.] Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for September 2017

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for August 2017

In recent weeks, President Trump’s administration announced major changes to the US immigration system. Politically, immigration in the US has always been a hornet’s nest with both the Left and the Right using conflicting arguments to suit their specific agendas at any given point in time. Brexit has highlighted how immigration has become more than a deep-rooted concern in Europe. In his essay, Reflections on Exile, Edward Said described different immigrant categories — exile, refugee, expatriate, and émigré. Whatever category an immigrant may fall into, he/she has to constantly redefine and renegotiate his/her socio-cultural and geopolitical identities. This ongoing complex, scary, and messy tussle is both personal and political and is often not explicitly understood by even the person trying to cope with it. Here is a stellar collection of short stories  — by Bernard Malamud, Amy Tan, Anzia Yezierska, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Oindrila Mukherjee — revealing and highlighting exactly this dynamic. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for August 2017