Saturday, January 23, 2010

Currently Reading - January 23, 2010

In the spirit of knocking off a few partially finished collections of short stories that have been haunting my nightstand for a while now, I am working on finishing John Updike's final (and posthumous) story collection titled My Father's Tears (2009). In writing my "2009 Reading Year in Review" post, I was looking at the list of authors where I own a large number of their books, but have read few or none. Updike floated near the top of that list. In my defense, I count a book as "read" when it is completed. In the case of Updike and some of the others on the list (TC Boyle, Richard Bausch, Russell Banks, William Trevor), I have read lots of their stories, but in parts of books, not whole ones. In the pursuit of completion, I will be finishing up some of those so that I can check them off as done. Does it really matter? No. But I'm doing it anyway... it's that thing about lists I discussed earlier...

A few other partially read story collections on my list are:
  • Spoiled, by Caitlin Macy (2009). Brilliant so far. The title story alone is worth the price of the book.
  • If the River was Whiskey, by TC Boyle (1989).
  • How it Ended (Collected Stories). by Jay McInerney (2009). I have liked this author since his first two books, Bright Lights Big City and Ransom were published by Vintage Contemporaries in first release paperbacks in the 1980's (back when I read good books the first time around).
  • Palm of the Hand Stories, by Yasunari Kawabata (1988). Beautiful little stories by the Japanese Nobel Laureate (1968, the first Japanese for literature). These stories are what he called "palm of the hand" stories because they tend to be only a few pages in length. Brilliant pieces of work that often leave you wanting them to be much longer.
  • Raymond Carver should also be added to this list, I suppose. Carver was one of the great American short story writers, and one of those few who wrote exclusively in that form and didn't also write novels. I have most of Carver's works and have read pieces of most of them, but have never completed any of them.

So that's what's on the reading list in the short term.

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