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When life is super-busy, read short stories.

June 3, 2009

So, I’ve been reading The Best American Short Stories 2004 because I’m doing this thing for my book community called “Just Read It!” where we’re all attempting to clear off at least a part of our to-read shelves.  (The comm is on Livejournal, if you’re a member, but it’s mostly made up of my real-life friends so it’s not like a whole popular thing.)

Anyway, you remember in High Fidelity when Rob talks about making a mix?  “You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch.”  (I pulled that off a site so I have no idea if it’s completely accurate.)  Anyway, that’s what this reminded me of, because the book starts out with Sherman Alexie, who I always think of being “probably overrated” and then I have to change my mind because he’s such a yarner (to use Christina’s expression from The Fog, amirite, Whitney?).  And a lot of people don’t do that anymore–or at least the short stories I read are generally pretentious and depressing, and I love beautiful/depressing sometimes–but it’s gotta have the beautiful, like Alice Hoffman–but a good yarn is for everyone.

So they kick it off with a killer, and then…comes one of the most annoying things I’ve ever read in my life.  Really,  Best American Series?  THIS is what you think I should be reading?  A story about two people so dumb that they never realize that when they get a wild cat in a dice game from some weirdo they don’t even once stop to think about calling in professionals?

I hate stupid people in books.  They so rarely work well as main characters.  Self-deluded, sure, that’s okay, but outright stupid?  Forget it.

Then I was tired but wanted to read something else to get the taste of that story out of my brain, so I read the shortest thing in the book: R.T. Smith’s “Docent.”  That was good.  Really good.  REALLY good.  Like, I want a prof to dissect it for me because I know I’m missing stuff good.

Anyway, time for breakfast.  But I like to complain, you know that.  Whoever this T. Coraghessan Boyle person is, no thank you.  (OH, T.C. Boyle.  Yeah, still not really sure who that is.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2009 10:50 am

    Short stories can be a lot of fun. I agree!

    • bookslide permalink*
      June 5, 2009 12:57 pm

      Some of these are great. Some of them make me want to put my head in an oven. Others make me want to put the AUTHOR’s head in an oven.

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