Monday, May 10, 2010

Short Story Month 2010: The Collection Giveaway Project

UPDATE, 5/31: Congratulations to commenters #24 (John Vanderslice) and #2 (Cara Holman), who, with some help from, have triumphed and emerged as winners of our short story collection giveaway project offerings. John and Cara, please e-mail me and let me know which book you prefer (first e-mailer gets first choice). Please include your mailing address--I will order the books and have them shipped to you asap. And thanks to everyone for participating!

Remember last month, when I stumbled on the National Poetry Month Poetry Book Giveaway? Well, all of the wonderful energy and ideas behind that project made me think that a similar enterprise should be undertaken for May, which has lately become something of an unofficial Short Story Month (as Poets & Writers recently noted, crediting organizations such as the Emerging Writers Network for the development).

Because I have such huge respect for the work of Anne Stameshkin and the entire team over at Fiction Writers Review (FWR), I contacted Anne to see if FWR might want to take on the considerable work involved with hosting a multi-blog "Short Story Collection Giveaway" this month. Fortunately, Anne agreed, and FWR is the hub for the project, and that's where you'll be able to check the full list of participating bloggers (improve your chances for winning by entering multiple giveaways, and get to know some bloggers who love short story collections in the process!).

Now, following the rules that FWR has come up with, I am happy to recommend to you two story collections. On May 31, I'll announce the names of two winners selected at random from the comments section for this post. And then I'll purchase two books and mail one to each lucky winner.

To participate in Practicing Writing's portion of Short Story Month 2010: The Giveaway Project, I'm asking you to add a comment here, telling us about (or at least the name of) a collection you love or one you're looking forward to reading. Comments that don't mention a specific collection will not be eligible for the giveaway. Comments should be submitted no later than noon (U.S. Eastern) on Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day here in the U.S.), and I'll have the winners' names posted before midnight.

And now (drum roll, please)...I am delighted to announce the two story collections that this practicing writer will be purchasing and sending to two lucky winners:

First, we have Who I Was Supposed to Be (published in 1999 by Simon & Schuster), written by Susan Perabo. One of the bright lights that sustained me through my MFA program was my friendship with Susan Perabo, a gifted teacher (her "large group" workshops and craft seminars were among my very favorites) and equally gifted writer. I read Susan's debut collection, Who I Was Supposed to Be, very soon after meeting the author at my first residency in May 2001. And then I reread it, bought it for friends' birthdays, etc. I even mentioned it right here on the blog three years ago. And now I'll buy a copy for one of you.

Meantime, in preparing this post, I discovered a terrific interview with Susan that I hope you'll all take a few moments to listen to. If you're very time-pressed, skip ahead and read through some of the praise that the book received from The Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun. Who I Was Supposed to Be was named a "Book of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Moving on to the second book I'll be delighted to purchase and send to a lucky winner, allow me to present The Pale of Settlement (published in 2007 by the University of Georgia Press), written by Margot Singer. This is another book I have mentioned here before. (I've also written about it for Kenyon Review Online.) Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction, and the Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, The Pale of Settlement is also another book that I've been unable to stop recommending to others.

But don't just take my word for it. Read excerpts from one of the stories on the National Endowment for the Arts website. Check out interviews with Margot Singer in The Southeast Review Online, Reform Judaism magazine, and the old Nextbook (now Tablet) site. And listen to Alan Cheuse discuss the collection for NPR.

Want to win one of these books? Remember, to be eligible, you need to submit a comment to this post, telling us about (or at least the name of) a short story collection you love or one you're looking forward to reading. Comments that don’t mention a specific collection will not be eligible for the giveaway. If your comment doesn't link to your personal site, please leave your e-mail address for me to use if I need to contact you about your prize. I look forward to reading all of your recommendations, and I thank you for participating in any way you are able: commenting, joining the giveaway project as a participating blogger, or even simply spreading the word.


Alison Ashley Formento said...

This is definitely something I want to be eligible for, so thanks for offering this giveaway. I'm currently reading WILD CHILD and Other Stories by T.C. Boyle, and recently finished the DAY OUT OF DAYS collection by Sam Shepard. Another favorite collection is Hannah Tinit's ANIMAL CRACKERS.

Anonymous said...

Last year I read and enjoyed "Shakespeare's Kitchen", by Lore Segal. This is a collection of 13 interrelated stories, many of which appeared individually in the New Yorker, centering around a group of intellectuals from a Connecticut think tank. The stories are alternately funny, sad, and thought-provoking. Another good read is "All it Takes", by Patricia Volk.

drew said...

Love the new photo!

I recently read "Faithless: Tales of Transgression" by Joyce Carol Oates, and can't wait to read more of her short stories.

And I'm eager to read "Music Through the Floor" by Eric Puchner. I just finished his first novel, "Model Home," and really liked it.

Thanks so much for offering this giveaway.

bmousli said...

After you recommended Allegra Goodman's short story in the New Yorker, I went and read it. That lead me to read The Markowitz Family, which is a fascinating volume, with the incredible figure of Rose. I liked how each story could stand by itself, while also serving as one piece of the larger puzzle.

Andrea said...

I just finished the wonderful short story collection "Hell's Bottom, Colorado" by Laura Pritchett.

Barbara Krasner said...

I lean toward connected stories in a collection. In the YA world, I loved Kissing Tennessee by Kathi Appelt and the raw emotion in each story.

Susan Goldberg said...

I'm reading Crisp, by RW Gray (NeWest Press). It's Canadian, so it might be slightly more difficult to get your hands on, but well worth it. Sort of Southern Gothic set in British Columbia trailer parks ... here's a link to one review:

and my own take:

David Naimon said...

The Point and Other Stories by Charles D'Ambrosio, a collection that is sadly hard to find, given how great the stories are.

Kelly Luce said...

I'm reading and loving Phillip F. Deaver's Silent Retreats.

Alexandria said...

I'm a bit late to Benjamin Percy's mind-blowing collection REFRESH, REFRESH, but it is, in fact, blowing my mind. I also love Anthony Doerr's under-appreciated collection THE SHELL COLLECTOR.

margosita said...

A collection I love is ZZ Packer's DRINKING COFFEE ELSEWHERE. I adore the story "Brownies", especially. I want to write about kids the way she does.

I am looking forward to reading EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED by Wells Tower, this summer. I've heard a a lot about it, but am not sure it's up my alley or not (so to speak). We will find out!

Kathryn said...

I'm getting ready to start Lydia Millet's Love in Infant Monkeys—just as soon as I finish my thesis. She's coming to give a workshop/reading at my school on Friday, too.

Other than that, I love any of the collections from Amy Hempel or Alice Munro.

Chris said...

Since coming to America I have discovered many good short story writers - the one who blows my mind with every story is George Saunders. I would recommend The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (which is actually a novella), and PASTORALIA being his best collection, and the title story being his best story! You may have read some of his stuff in the New Yorker.

Also, because I'm British, I have to recommend There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry.

Unknown said...

I'm reading Kelly Link's stranger things happen. I recommend the story The Vanishing Act in Kelly Link's collection. I'm also waiting for a collection by Poe Ballantine to arrive in the mail. It's called Things I Like About America. I read a short story by Ballantine in an edition of Best American Short Stories 1998 called The Blue Devils of Blue River Avenue and can't stop thinking about it.

Linda White said...

I am very excited to be representing (as a publicist) a new short story collection called Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction, published this month by Mongoose Press. Now, it's not what you think! This collection includes some excellent stories by acclaimed authors, including Katherine Neville (author of The Eight and The Fire) and Paul Eggers (author of a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), among others. All of the stories have in common the theme of chess in one way or another. An excellent collection!

Unknown said...

My two favorite short story collections are Richard Ford's Rock Springs and Salinger's Nine Stories.

The title story "Rock Springs" is perhaps my favorite short story. It's a contemporary Wild West tale with an outlaw and a gold mine. Ford's prose is always extremely tight and Hemingwayesque.

Kirsten Oliphant said...

This isn't a new collection, but I loved Kevin Brockmeier's Things That Fall from the Sky. "These Hands" was like prose on steroids. Or maybe speed. Fabulous and enviable.

mf said...

I don't normally read short stories but I love "Krik? Krak!" by Edwidge Danticat, and "Fine Just the Way It Is" by Annie Proulx ('Tits Up in A Ditch' created quite a stir in my family--we talked about it for weeks!).

I'm looking forward to reading "Brief Encounters with Che Guevara" by Ben Fountain, which I am told is not about Che Guevara at all but about Haiti.

My perennial fav is "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor which I discovered (long, long ago..sigh) in high school. I seem to re-read it regularly, often after recounting the title story to someone else.
~ Marie-Francoise

abigail said...

I've heard good things about "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned" by Wells Tower, and the name has totally got my interest piqued!

I also just watched the film adaptation of "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," (by David Foster Wallace) and was so impressed that I went to the library today for a copy of the book.

Colleen said...

Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing by Lydia Peelle is one I read and loved. And the one I'm looking forward to is Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. Great idea for a contest. We short story lovers can get recommendations from your reader comments. Thanks for hosting this contest

Unknown said...

I enjoyed ZZ Packer's "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" for its honest tone. I have 2 short story collections on my to read list - Lisa Glatt's "The Apple's Bruise" and Richard Ford's "A Multitude of Sins." Short stories are enjoyable reading for me...I truly love them.

Teresa said...

I like your new photo. You look great!

Thank you for running this giveaway. A recent collection I enjoyed is "Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love" by Lara Vapnyar.

Beverly said...

Last year I read a wondeful short story collection, that I am still recommending to others when asking for reading recommendations.
The book is "An Elegy got Easterly: Stories" by Petina Gappah.

This is a very wonderful debut collection of stories with a diverse cast of characters going about their everyday lives in Zimbabwe under Mugabe.


John Vanderslice said...

It's hard to narrow down to just one, but an old favorite is Through the Safety Net by Charles Baxter. It's still my favorite collection by him, and he's got some great ones. All the stories are delightfully odd, with some truly unforgettable protagonists. Many of my favorite Baxter stories are in this one.

Resa Blobaum said...

Classic favorite... Cathedral by Ramond Carver

Contemporary favorite... Yes! Yes! Cherries by Mary Otis

Currently reading The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

Anne Whitehouse said...

I love The Golden Apples by Eudora Welty. I was so fortunate--I got to hear her read in NYC at the Morgan Library--quite by happenstance.
I also love Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges and Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. And All Fire's the Fire by Julio Cortazar.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have an update. Been reading Ben Fountain's short story collection "Brief Encounters with Che Guevara" and its BRILLIANT! I've only gotten through one story so far (I'm a fast reader, but I keep re-reading one lovely sentence after another) and I'm in love. I highly recommend it!

Thanks for running the contest.