e premte, 19 dhjetor 2008

The O Henry Prize Stories 2008 edited by Laura Furman eBook edition

Short stories are always a crap shoot.  They can be masterpieces; a little gem hidden in the pages of a magazine.  They can be head scratchers; you finish wondering what the hell that was about!  They can be be alternatively irritating, amusing and even boring.

I am by nature a cereal box reader -- you know one of those people whose basic requirement for what they read is that it be printed somewhere.  I'm not picky about where.  So it should come as no surprise that I always keep at least one short story collection on my Palm. It is there to kill those odd few minutes when I am waiting for something else to happen.

Every year I buy the O Henry Prize stories.  And every year I have the same experience. . . There are a couple that I love, a few that I am more or less indifferent to and a couple I actually hate.  And I am always mystified as to why these twenty stories are considered the best. 

My reaction to the The O Henry Prize Stories 2008 isn't any different. For example, I loved Bad Neighbors by Edward P. Jones and hated A Composer and His Parakeets by Ha JinI found Folie à Deux some thing of a head scratcher. And finally (!) A Change in Fashion and A Little History of Modern Music made me smile. 

I read them all.  My reaction?  The best short stories are VERY short on humor.  Evidently to be considered for the best you must write serious (read often depressing) stories filled with angst.  I would have to characterize most of these stories as high-minded snippets reflecting human pain. 

I mean, think about these stories:

  • The Transitional Object: grades and sex in Paris. 
  • Bye-bye Natalia: email correspondence between Ukranian girl and her Cowboy
  • The Little Boy: how children survive an incompetent parent
  • A Game of Cards:  gin rummy and two life long friends
  • Other People's Deaths: the etiquette of death
  • Prison: surrogate parenting and sharing a womb
  • On the Lake:  Near drowning and parental guilt

Not exactly a bunch of happy people or funny subjects.  And yet these stories have stuck with me all week.  I find myself thinking about them at odd moments.  Wondering about the characters and ruminating on the nature of humans and their experiences.

I suppose in the long run, that is what makes these stories prize winners.

Here's what the publisher says:

An annual collection of the twenty best contemporary short stories selected by series editor Laura Furman from hundreds of literary magazines, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 is studded with extraordinary settings and characters: a teenager in survivalist Alaska, the seed keeper of a doomed Chinese village, a young woman trying to save her life in a Ukrainian internet café. Also included are the winning writers' comments on what inspired them, a short essay from each of the three eminent jurors, and an extensive resource list of literary magazines.

del.icio.us Tags: ebook,e-book,ebook reviews,short stories,ebooks about fictions,o henry prize

e mërkurë, 16 prill 2008

Great Bestsellers


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e hënë, 4 shkurt 2008

HOT Authors Of Our Time Do It Again...


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No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through... A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation.
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The 6th Target eBook edition by Patterson, James
When a horrifying attack leaves one of the four members of the Women's Murder Club struggling for her life, the others fight to keep a madman behind bars before anyone else is hurt. And Lindsay Boxer and her new partner in the San Francisco police department run flat-out to stop a series of kidnappings that has electrified the city: children are being plucked off the streets together with their nannies.
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e mërkurë, 9 janar 2008

Not Too Many Good Reviews, But I Loved Them!


'Shadow Dance' by Julie Garwood. I was afraid to read this book after Julie's last book, Slow Burn. I just didn't see how she could get any better...but she did! Shadow Dance entertained me, made me laugh, kept me in suspense, had great sexual tension and two of her most dynamic stand-out characters as well as quirky secondary characters. In other words, this book has it all!

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This wedding was no small affair.There were seven bridesmaids, seven groomsmen, three ushers, two altar boys, three lectors, and enough firepower inside the church to wipe out half the congregation.All but two of the groomsmen were armed.
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With each of his #1 New York Times bestsellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten readers with novels that capture the essence of our times even as they bring us to the edge of our seats.
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