Tuesday, December 18, 2007

From My Bookshelf: Recent Reads

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've spent the last several months exploring poetry writing. But that doesn't mean I've abandoned short stories. Far from it. Recently I've read several noteworthy collections--here they are, in no particular order, and, just for fun, I'll tell you what drew me to each.

Yes, Yes, Cherries, by Mary Otis. One day not long ago I received an e-mail from a woman named Mary Otis. The e-mail, with a subject line that read "thank you," contained some really lovely remarks about this blog and its usefulness. I knew the name was familiar to me, but couldn't place it until I clicked on Otis's Web site link, and was reminded of her new book. Which I promptly ordered. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this collection is that several stories that feature a shared protagonist are woven through the book. In other words, not all the book's stories are about this character (Allison), nor are the "Allison stories" grouped together. Since some, but not all, of my own collection's stories feature protagonists from the same family, I've been wondering how to handle something similar with my own manuscript.

Twenty Grand, by Rebecca Curtis. Curtis Sittenfeld's NYTBR piece on the book played a part in my reading this one.

Natasha and Other Stories, by David Bezmozgis. I'd meant to read this one for awhile. Bezmozgis's recent Nextbook essay motivated me to order it up from the library pronto. And I'm very glad I did.

Throw Like a Girl, by Jean Thompson. Because a like-minded writer friend recommended it.

And Sunday night I cracked open the latest from my beloved William Trevor: Cheating at Canasta. (So what if I've already read many of the stories within in the New Yorker's pages? There's no such thing as reading a Trevor story "too many" times.)

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