Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
When our #WomenReadWomen2019 theme came up last year, I decided to embark on a quest to read as many short story collections by female authors as I could. I have a soft spot for short stories even though they’re a “hit or miss” for me. It gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I finish one.
“The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side.”
– Emma Donoghue
For the next few months, I will be sharing an average of four short story collections per month. I don’t have a target number in mind but at least 20 of them would be featured on our blog. I am constantly on the lookout for short stories. If you know of any short story collection written by a woman, please feel free to share the title in the Comments.
Author: Anjali Sachdeva
Number of stories in this collection: 9
Excerpt: “I saw another girl like you once… White skin and hair like yours, eyes like I never saw, almost violet. They called her the Devil’s Bride, but I think she would’ve liked to’ve been married to a good man, tending chickens and baking biscuits just like anyone else.” (From The World by Night)
Book blurb: All the Names They Used for God is the first short story collection I read this year. This is how I imagined short story collections to be — a good mix of strange and surreal. I liked the nine bizarre stories in this book but it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
About the Author Anjali Sachdeva’s fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has hiked through the backcountry of Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States, and spent much of her childhood reading fantasy novels and waiting to be whisked away to an alternate universe.
Author: Lauren Groff
Number of stories in this collection: 11
Excerpt: The little sister was asleep… The older girl held her little sister… All night, she and the island were awake, the island because it never slept, the girl because she knew that only her ferocious attention would keep them safe. (From Dogs Go Wolf)
Book blurb: As you can see from the image above, Florida is a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. It is also one of the finalists for The Story Prize. The magic of Lauren Groff’s writing draws me in while at the same time leaves a tiny sinkhole in my heart. The stories in this collection reveals the darker side of the Sunshine State.
About the Author Lauren Groff is the author of the novels The Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories, and Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award. Her third novel, Fates and Furies, was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kirkus Award. She was named one of Granta‘s 2017 Best Young American Novelists.
Author: Lesley Nneka Arimah
Number of stories in this collection: 12
Excerpt: He does not yet wonder where she gets this, this streak of fire. He only knows that it keeps the wolves of the world at bay and he must never let it die out. (From Light)
Book blurb: This is one of my few five-star ratings for the year. I knew I would enjoy this collection after reading the first story entitled, The Future Looks Good. Packed a punch, that one. I loved Arimah’s voice and I look forward to reading her other works.
About the Author Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. She has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and the Caine Prize, and a winner of the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award, among other honors.
Author: Fleur Jaeggy
Number of stories in this collection: 21
Excerpt: Once when I was eight years old my grandmother asked me, what will you do when you grow up? And I answered, I want to die. I want to die when I grow up. I want to die soon. (From I Am the Brother of XX)
Book blurb: When this copy became available for me a few days ago, I got excited. It’s a tiny book, with 21 short stories crammed into 125 pages. Perfect. Easy peasy. But Fleur Jaeggy is not an easy peasy read. Her stories are as dark and twisted as the black holes of the universe. I liked the title story – the first one in fact – but it left me exhausted. I could not feel a connection to her stories. I may give it a second chance someday.
About the Author Fleur Jaeggy is a Swiss author who writes in Italian. The Times Literary Supplement designated her novel S. S. Proleterka the best book of 2003.
Author: Mariana Enriquez
Number of stories in this collection: 12
Excerpt: “The house tells us stories. You don’t hear it?”
And they told me.
About the old woman, whose eyes had no pupils but who wasn’t blind.
About the old man, who burned medical books out by the empty chicken coop, in the backyard.
About a faucet that never stopped dripping, because the thing that lived in the house needed water. (From Adela’s House)
Book blurb: I like how fire and burning were mentioned in almost all the stories. However, this book was not at all what I expected. Enriquez’s gothic horror stories – and I don’t just mean ghosts – gave me the heebie jeebies. This not the kind of book you want to read when you’re all alone at night. Then again, maybe it is.
About the Author Mariana Enriquez is a writer and editor based in Buenos Aires, where she contributed both fiction and nonfiction to a number of papers and literary journals. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, McSweeney’s, and the Victoria Quarterly Review.