I haven’t done a Favorites Friday for a while, what with NaNo and other features, so I thought I’d come back to that for this week. Today, let’s look at a different-than-usual medium, and talk about short stories. I don’t read a LOT of short stories, but there are a few collections near to my heart.
To start with an author I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned–I love O. Henry’s short stories. I had a habit in high school: if I finished my book during school, I’d run to the library between classes and pick up an O. Henry book for the rest of the day. Because I couldn’t be bookless for three hours! I have no particular favorite collection, but O. Henry in general is excellent. I always enjoy his twist endings–even when you’re expecting them, he still surprises.
Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson is a book I’ve reviewed before. It was a beloved favorite at the library through my childhood, and I finally bought it myself last year. He tells semi-Arthurian stories about love and loss and honor and falling prey to your own tricks, all in a frame story about Merlin sleeping through the centuries somewhere below the moor. The stories are haunting, with characters and ideas that have woven themselves into my mind. And I about fell off my chair when I realized that Robin McKinley was married to Peter Dickinson–the Dickinson of Merlin Dreams! And that’s definitely how I thought of him… 🙂
An author I often talk about 🙂 is L. M. Montgomery, so you must have expected she’d be here too! She’s best known now for her novels, but she also wrote hundreds of short stories. I’ve read 199, all of the ones presently available. My favorite collection is The Road to Yesterday, with three of my favorite Montgomery short stories. “Fancy’s Fool” is about dreamy Esme, who long ago went into a secret part of a garden and met a ghost boy she can’t forget. “The Cheated Child” is about Pat Brewster, who must choose which of an awful assortment of relatives he’s going to live with…until one day he breaks free and finds himself at beautiful Sometyme Farm. “Fool’s Errand” is about Lincoln Brewster, who reckons he’d better get married but dreads the thought–and ends up going in search of a girl he met on a beach one long ago day in his childhood. With the possible exception of Esme’s story, these aren’t fantasies–but they’re magical.
More directly magical, I so enjoy Patricia C. Wrede’s Book of Enchantments (my review here), with fantasy stories that are funny or sad, traditional or modern, silly or profound. And yet somehow, they all fit together too. There are even two excellent short stories connected to her truly excellent Enchanted Forest quartet–which is such a treat for fans!
I’m open to reading more short stories, so…any recommendations?