Wednesday, October 3, 2007

NYTimes: Stephen King on the Short Story

These days my reading time is limited and frequently interrupted, so I have trouble remembering who's who and what's what when I'm reading a novel. As a result, I've come to prefer reading essays and short stories.

And every Fall I've reason to rejoice because Harper Perennial releases new editions of its "The Best of American" series. This is a terrific series and it has a number of different titles. My favorites are the The Best of American Crime Reporting and The Best of American Mystery Stories (while The Best of American Travel Writing and The Best American Science Writing jostle for third place). However, all the titles usually contain good to excellent pieces, and I try to get through most of them before the next set of comes out the following Fall.

This year Stephen King is the editor for The Best of American Short Stories 2007, and I'm eager to read the stories he's selected. While the Lit Police may sneer at a bestselling author of horror novels editing the 2007 collection, I'm betting that King can be trusted to pick stories that are literary page-turners: i.e. They're fun to read and good for you too.

Anyway, in The Sunday New York Times Book Review King talks about his year of reading American short stories.

Published: September 30, 2007
Why do so many short stories feel show-offy, written for editors and teachers rather than for readers?

The American short story is alive and well.

Do you like the sound of that? Me too. I only wish it were actually true. The art form is still alive — that I can testify to. As editor of “The Best American Short Stories 2007,” I read hundreds of them, and a great many were good stories. Some were very good. And some seemed to touch greatness. But “well”? That’s a different story. Link to article.

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