Takeaway: Another short story collection I didn’t like, surprise!
Anyone that has read my blog regularly over the past year or so will not be surprised that I didn’t like another collection of short stories. That makes me 0.5 of 5 this year. And it is not that the collections were poorly reviewed or by bad writers. The collections I have read over the last year were by PJ Wodehouse, GK Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, and Flannery O’Connor and now George Saunders. (Technically the Flannery O’Connor was a few days over a year ago. And it was definitely the one I liked the best of the five.)
Given my general dislike of short stories you as reader are probably tired of me posting about not liking them. But I keep wanting to read books that are well reviewed and generally loved. Karen Swallow Prior gave Tenth of December very good review at Books and Culture. And it one the 10 best books by New York Times Book Review as well as winning some other awards.
This is another collection of short stories that I did not finish. It was a library book (I was not fool enough to actually buy a collection of short stories given my history.) And I read the first four straight through. Then I read the fifth a couple days later. And then I just didn’t want to pick it up again. The stories were just weird.
Maybe my problem is that I am just not enough interested in literary fiction or I am too dense to get higher meanings. But what I love about reading is not the bizarre or thickly textured literary work. It is beautiful words and rich characters.
So what I generally don’t like about short stories (lack of character development and usually trying to make some point) seemed to be extra present here.
I was also not prepared for the language and sex. As normal, with any fiction I try to avoid actually knowing too much about the story before I read it. And it is not that I am against language or sex in books. I have really enjoyed many books with sex and/or language. But this seemed more like the language and sex was used for shock not purpose.
So yes, I gave up. This is the second review this week that I am reporting I gave up on. And the other one was a short story collection. So yeah. No more short story collections for a while. A long while.