Sunday, 29 November 2009

top ten short story collections

I have a bit of a cold, so I am sitting in bed with PJs, a scarf,honey and hot lemon, and a little cat keeping my feet warm. I'm amusing myself by doing what I love most... searching for new collections of short fiction. I've just searched on the internet to find out what other people think about the best ten short story collections (by a single author)...

It's very interesting how diverse the lists are... a selection of the ones I found:

Alison McLeod's list in the Guardian has The Nose by Nikolai Gogol as her number one collection. James Joyce The Dead is second (I might pick Dubliners instead), other collections are Raymond Carver What we talk about when we talk about love (I prefer Cathedral, but I concede it is difficult to choose), Alice Munro, Helen Dunmore... other probably quite obvious choices.

Then we have Amazon's Best of 2009 for short stories (US site)... this is an interesting one because they have two lists - editors' top ten and customers' top ten (ie. bestselling)... so you can compare the two lists. Actually the lists are quite different... which seems to say to me that perhaps best selling is not best quality. Everything Revaged Everything Burned by Wells Tower is close to the top of both lists, as is Maile Meloy's Both Ways is the Only Way I want it. This is the only cross-over, it seems. The customer top ten is more mainstream (to be expected I guess), more big names, and the editor's list perhaps more subversive... if the editors at Amazon can be called subversive (probably not). But, anyway, I have added a few books to my 'hot hot hot short story yes I want to read it soon' list.

AV Club's best collections of the 00's is a good list too... there are 7 collections on the list I have never heard of, so it should be useful for my christmas wish list... although, it's not really the list I might compile... a bit staid I felt. Sorry, I like my experimental, exciting, edgy short fiction, and this list does say any of these things to me.

So, my challenge is, that I want to find out what your top all time short story collections are (top three or top ten, whichever you prefer), but also your top three or ten from 2009.

I'm heading downstairs with my blanket and hot water bottle to rifle through my collections, and write my lists...

6 comments:

Nik Perring said...

First up: Hope your cold clears up soon. I am sending you warming hugs.

Secondly. Top three short story collections:

Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender.
The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God by Etgar Keret.
Elephants in Our Bedroom by Michael Czyzniejewski

Nik

Michelle said...

I haven't read nearly as many short story collections as you have, Annie, and none published this year, but I love:

Daphne du Maurier's The Birds & Other Storie

Lorrie Moore's Birds of America, Self-Help and Like Life... See More

Isabel Allende's The Stories of Eva Luna

Amy Hempel's The Collected Stories

Julie Orringer's How to Breathe Underwater

Anais Nin's Little Birds

Anais Nin's The Delta of Venus

Burning Your Boats, Angela Carter's Collected Stories (which includes The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Ciaran Carson's Fishing for Amber

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Arranged Marriage

Melissa Banks' The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot

Looking forward to reading recommendations from your other readers.

Hope you feel better soon x

TOM J VOWLER said...

Cough, splutter also.

Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse by Philip O Ceallaigh.

Last Night by James Salter.

Cheating at Canasta by William Trevor.

annie clarkson said...

Thanks Nik, haven't read any of these, but have got two of them waiting on my shelf...

Tom, these all are new to me, although I have read William Trevor Collected... will look up these others...

Michelle, I bet you have read much more than me, I'm a slow reader!! I've read some of these and agree with Anais Nin, Lorrie Moore, Angela Carter, especially! Some more new ones to discover though...

annie clarkson said...

I have started a list of my favourite collections in my sidebar that I can edit as I read more... I have so many collections on my bookshelf waiting to be read...

emily josephine mcphillips said...

reasons to live - amy hempel

the winter book - tove jansson

lizard - banana yoshimoto

no one belongs here more than you - miranda july