One last time, I’d like to say Happy New Year! The first full week of 2014 is now coming to a close, and it’s been pretty good so far. I’ve even been keeping up on the “goals” I told you all about last week.
As you may recall, one of those goals was to read a short story each day for the year. Seemed unrealistic to stick, and I knew this. Instead of even attempting this, I amended that goal. As you see, this is the first post in my new “A Storied Week” series. This is a weekly post series that’ll go up on Saturday’s for as long as I keep with the challenge.
How exactly did I amend the goal and what’s the series going to be about? Simple. Instead of 365 stories being read one after the other all year, I’m only going to try reading about 260. And instead of short stories 7 days a week, it’ll only be five stories each week. This’ll give me time for other more important things (like reading novels and writing).
As I read each story, I’ll be writing down my reaction and/or mini review of the story in a notebook…by hand. Then at the end of the week, I’ll be typing them up and sharing my thoughts on each story. Some might be true reviews (like two from this week), especially if they’re ebooks of more modern and Indie authors (I don’t feel comfortable to review older works that’ve been around for a long time. Too much already said and all that). The others, will more be a discussion about what I read, how I felt about it, and even what thoughts it provoked. Unlike my reviews, I will warn that spoilers might, and have already, happened. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to discuss a story in this manner. I don’t feel I give too much away though, and only try to add to the story.
So, below you’ll find the first 5 story write ups I did. Two have already been on the blog, as they were reviews as well, in recent days. The other three are older ones found in a book of short, short stories. I’ll end my rambling with that. The next post will be shorter and more focus on the stories…bear with me, haha.
The Wolf, by Giovanni Verga
(you can read the story here, in a different translation)
I’ve never heard of Verga before, and knew nothing about this story going into it. This story was translated from Italian to English, so some of my reaction is due to the translation, not solely on Verga’s writing. I found a second translation online, and noticed the language was slightly different just in the few lines I checked out. When reading, I felt that some sections of the story didn’t translate the best that could have been done. It lead me to not “get” some things right away. But, due to this being a story from the 1800s there’s a barrier of time and culture to work with. Overall, I enjoyed the end result, and that’s mainly what matters, in the end.
You Will Notice That Hallways Are Painted, by Angela Meyer
(review originally posted here)
There’s a lot going for this story, though it didn’t all work for me. The story jumps around a little bit and is vague in some details. This, while it isn’t always my cup of tea, allows the reader to speculate on various components of this piece.
It’s part dystopian, though there isn’t much expansion on this aspect. It’s also a bit of a psychological experience, where the reader might even feel the dystopian feeling is all inside the characters’ heads. There are many ways I could have picked this one apart for interpretation. That helped my enjoyment, even though I felt it was disjointed at times.
The Use of Force, by William Carlos Williams
This was my first time reading William Carlos Williams’ fiction. I’ve read his poetry, as many people have, but didn’t get the chance at his prose until now. This story was short, but was able to show a lot in its few pages.
Williams was able to give the reader a look into the inner workings of a doctor’s mind, though a house call for a sick child. What seems like a routine activity, obviously isn’t, especially with this particular child. She’s very difficult and violent, even when faced with a possible life threatening illness. Being that W.C.W. was a doctor, I wonder just how much of this came from a personal experience. The outcome of the story also makes me, as a reader, wonder how hard it was for a doctor to be faced with situations like the one in this story. To what extent do you go to help an unwilling patient, whether a child or an adult?
In the Night, by Varlam Shalamov
This is a bit of a simple story. To put it briefly, Glebov accompanies his friend Bagretsov to rob a freshly laid grave. Everything surrounding this tale is what makes it a great story.
The characters are poor, possibly even homeless. The fact that they’re stealing undergarments to trade for bread astonishes me. It shows how desperate a time this was. The author is Russian, and wrote this sometime in the mid 20th century from what I could tell. I only did quick online research, so far. I did find that this author had a hard life. It’s an obvious influence in his writing. I won’t get into a history lesson though.
One of the best things I enjoyed about In the Night was how the last lines gave me a better appreciation for the opening. It helped show me just why the activity of eating was something to focus on, when at first it felt out of place.
According to the List, by D.E.E.L
(review originally posted here)
Even though this is listed as a piece of fiction, there may ever well be much of the author in these words. As the title suggests, this narrative follow a list-like pattern. it shines light on the narrator’s aspirations and some random tangents a mind can wander on.
I could relate well wit the narrator, not only because he is a writer, but also because he seemed to dwell on many thoughts I find myself considering often, as well.
This might be a short piece, but D.E.E.L’s style is one to be appreciated, for its beautiful simplicity and poetic feel. It was a great introduction to this author’s work, for me as a reader.
Have you read any short stories this week? Do you know of any short stories to suggest to me or my readers? Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments on this post or more privately through the contact page, if you want you’d like to type something longer up.