Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Short Story Wednesday: Book Sale purchases, 2023



The Planned Parenthood book sale ended on Sunday, and I bought a lot of short story books. Today I am featuring five of them. As I started working on this post, I realized that all of these books are by authors that I have never read before, in any format. 

Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000) by Carol Shields

The first book is stories by a Canadian author, Carol Shields. I am always on the lookout for new Canadian authors to read. 

The stories here are fairly short; there are 22 stories and the book is 210 pages long, so the average story is around 9 pages.

I also purchased The Republic of Love by this author at the book sale.

You Think It, I'll Say It (2018) by Curtis Sittenfeld

This was the first short story collection by Sittenfeld. 

From the description on the dust jacket flap: "Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided." 

I also purchased American Wife and Sisterland by this author at the book sale this year.

Birds of America (1998) by Lorrie Moore

This was Lorrie Moore's third short story collection. Some of the reviews I read emphasized dark humor, and sad or depressing stories. So to balance that, I thought I would include this from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“Bats, flamingos, crows, performing ducks and bird feeders crop up in every story, but the real subject is human nature and the myriad ways Moore’s characters flock together or fly apart in the face of change, stasis or grief. . . . Gorgeous. . . . Rarely has a writer achieved such consistency, humor and compassion.” 

Twelve stories in 291 pages, so each story averages about 25 pages. 

Island: The Complete Stories (2000) by Alistair MacLeod

This is another Canadian author. I don't know much about Alistair MacLeod, but I do know that his short stories are acclaimed by many. I believe all the short stories in this book are set on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

This post at Buried in Print talks about Alistair MacLeod's short stories, and I think that all of the short stories in this book are reviewed on that blog.

All Aunt Hagar's Children (2006) by Edward P. Jones

I was not aware of this author until I heard about his stories at one of the Short Story Wednesday posts at Patricia Abbott's blog

From the description on the dust jacket flap: "Returning to the city that inspired his first prizewinning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washington, D.C., home. Yet it is not the city's power brokers that most concern him but rather its ordinary citizens. All Aunt Hagar's Children turns an unflinching eye to the men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them further north, people who in Jones's masterful hands, emerge as fully human and morally complex, whether they are country folk used to getting up with the chickens or people with centuries of education behind them."

This is Jones's second collection of stories; it is the longest book on this list, at 399 pages.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I have read all five of those writers and they are all excellent. I have never read Sittenfeld's stories but her novels are terrific. You picked well. I looked online for a Planned Parenthood book sale but we don't seem to have any in this area.

George said...

You scored some great books! Diane reads all the authors you mention and like Patti, loves Sittenfeld's novels.

TracyK said...

Patti, most of these authors I picked based on things I had read at other blogs, including yours, but Lorrie Moore I just took a chance on. Then I searched on your blog and found that you had covered her first book of short stories this year, so I had just forgotten about her. They all do seem like good choices.

TracyK said...

George, I do think all of these will be good reads, and it will be hard to decide what to try first. I am glad I picked up two of Sittenfeld's novels to read, I want to see if I enjoy those too.

Todd Mason said...

Another big Lorrie Moore fan, and do like Shields and Sittenfield, and the little Ive read of Jones so far. MacLeod iss another new to me...this does look like a rich haul. Hope you enjoy them all!

TracyK said...

I am glad to hear another plug for Lorrie Moore, Todd, since that is the only one I wasn't sure about, once I read more about it. I think I am going to like all of them (or at least parts of all of them, as usual).

Margot Kinberg said...

These sound like interesting collections, Tracy. I also really like your decision to try authors whose work you haven't read before. It's a way to 'freshen' up reading - at least it is for me. I'm glad you got to go to the book sale and I hope you'll enjoy these.

TracyK said...

We always look forward to the book sale, Margot. Each year I have purchased more short story collections, I will never run out of stories to read.

Sam said...

Wow, you really hit the jackpot this time. Those are some great choices that include several writers I've read consistently over the years. I'm a big fan of short stories and one of my biggest gripes about the way that my library shelves books is that they no longer give short story collections shelving separate from other fiction. Since compilations of several authors are shelved according to the editor's surname that makes them almost impossible to find without preparatory research. Now I just have to stumble upon them by sheer chance. Anyway, congrats on that great haul.

Cath said...

I'm so envious of this fabulous booksale that takes place in your area every year. It sounds wonderful and you got a good selection of anthologies. Very nice finds.

TracyK said...

Sam, I did luck out; besides these, I found several short story books by Alice Munro, another Canadian author. And two small books of short stories by William Trevor, an Irish author.

That method of shelving short story anthologies by editor name in the library seems ridiculous, although sometimes finding books serendipitously is nice.

TracyK said...

Cath, It is a wonderful book sale. Many tables of mysteries, although many of those are mainstream popular authors. Nothing wrong with that, but lots of those I don't read. There is so much literary or general, contemporary fiction that it gets confusing to find them, so I do just look through it and hope I run into an author I am interested in. And tons of nonfiction in many different categories.