Monday, August 3, 2015

Short Stories On Deck Part 1!

I'm loving short stories right now! I didn't think I Iiked short stories until I read Krik!Krak? by Edwidge Danticat over a year ago and that started to change my mind. I read a few more collections, but then after reading How to Escape from a Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique, I was sold. I've been digging through my books in search of more and was surprised that I have so many. Here are a few short story collections that I've read and others that I'm excited to read.

Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta - I didn't love this collection when I read it. But when I think back on it, I like it more and more. So much so that I’m tempted to change my Goodreads rating. I think about the book often and can still distinctly recall the stories and characters. I remember the girls and women fondly, longingly. Chinelo's new novel Under the Udala Trees hits shelves in September and I look forward to reading it.

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black - I bought this book from the Borders going out of business sale in 2011, but I just read it in May. It’s one of those books I wish I’d picked up sooner. I felt like all of her characters were alive, like I was peeking in on the lives of real people. I've added her novel, Life Drawing, to my fall to-read list.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri’s - This Pulitzer Prize winning collection was my first time reading about Indian culture. Lahiri briefly describes colorism in one of the stories. It made me think about Marita Golden’s Don't Play in the Sun which is named after the concept and I wonder if this is an issue that people of color have in common. Many of the stories also discuss arranged marriages. It’s something that I’m completely unfamiliar with and had never read about. Much like Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie opened me up to the world of African literature, Interpreter of Maladies has done the same for Indian literature, and I’m looking for recommendations.

A Taste of Honey by Jabari Asim - This book was on a list of 5 Must-Read Short-Story Collections alongside If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This. I had not heard of it before then but was familiar with the author because his first novel, Only the Strong, was recently released and has been receiving lots of buzz. The back cover describes the stories, set in a fictional Midwestern city, as a collection that “brings a razor sharp focus to the tumultuous events and social upheaval of 1968.”  The characters are second-generation offspring of Great Migrators! If you follow RHP, you know what I’m about to say next. To find out more about the migrators, read the book that I never wanted to end, The Warmth of Other Suns.

All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P Jones  I found this book at the best book sale ever and would’ve skipped right over it had I not recognized the author’s name. I was actually on the hunt for his prizewinning collection, Lost in the City. Both collections are set in the nation’s capital. I also own his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Known World. I think I’m going to have a month of reading Edward P. Jones and read all three of these books like I did with Lawrence Hill’s novels in January.

Stay tuned for Short Stories on Deck Part 2!

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View all by Chinelo Okparanta on Amazon
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Darkowaa said...

I enjoyed Krik?Krak! as well. Danticat is a special writer. I adored 'Happiness, Like Water' and have pre-ordered Under the Udala Trees. I'll check out the Robin Black book... seems interesting. I've read some literature on Indian culture back in high school, but can't completely remember the authors. I should really check out Lahiri's work too.
I think my favorite short stories collection of all time is Alice Walker's 'You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down'. I reviewed it earlier this year in Jan. Its truly a work of art, very educative and rated ages 18+ haha.
Nice post!

Buried In Print said...

I enjoyed that Alice Walker collection, too; I worried that it might feel a bit dated (how time flies when you're busy reading) but for the most part the collection read as easily as her contemporary work.

Edward P. Jones does seem to be an author whose works would be best read together; if I remember correctly, there are some interconnections to suss out. This one you've mentioned is the only one that I've read, but it made me want to read all his others too.

The others you've mentioned are on my TBR but other than Lahiri's (which I've read, but so long ago that it hardly counts) I haven't dipped into them.

Shannon said...

@Darkowaa - Lawrence Hill's upcoming release will be the first book that I pre-order! Did you know that Alice Walker's daughter was an author? I learned that recently and apparently they didn't have the best relationship. In addition to reading more by Alice, I want to read one of her daughter's books.

@ Buried In Print - You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down definitely just made it to the high priority list. I was looking at some write ups on Edward P Jones and two of his books are connected. And I think if you read it, it counts - all the way!

Darkowaa said...

Yes, Rebecca Walker. I'm aware that she's an author and that one of her novels is an autobiography or so.

Alysia A said...

I have Happiness Like Water sitting on my shelf collecting dust and I need to pick it up. Hopefully I will like it the first read.
I am a short story fan as well and I also cleaned up at the Borders going out of business sale in 2011. You have a great list of books going on.

Shannon said...

Hi Alysia,

I saw your kinda-taking-a-break post and was thinking I need to write something similar. Cause clearly I'm on a break!

I visited several Borders stores when they were closing and ended up with a decent stash when all was said and done.