Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Novels, Short Stories, and Interruptions

These thoughts were inspired by an entry at Stomping on Yeti.

Much as I love them, short stories really slow down my reading. There is, for me, an acclimation period in starting to read a book, or short story. When I sit down to read a novel I've never read before, I go through fifty pages before I put it down. After that many pages, I have a feel for the writer's style and can tell if the book is holding anything of interest for me.

It's very difficult to find a similar arbitrary page count for short stories. Ideally, I'll read a short story in one sitting (anything around 100 pages or so.) That's a combination of my reading preference and finding the time to knock it out. That acclimation period for short stories in anthologies or collections from multiple authors makes getting through the collection that much longer than it should for me; even if the stories are great.

I don't mind interruptions in reading a novel, past that first fifty pages, and while I try to stop at the end of a chapter it doesn't always workout that way. Short stories, seem to take more time; add in any of lifes interruptions and it can be really jarring.

This is especially troubling as the list of short stories of interest to me coming out this year alone is staggering: Stories ed. by Neil Gamin and Al Sarrantonio, Leviathan Wept by Daniel Abraham (if it ever gets here!), The Secret History of Fantasy ed. Peter S. Beagle, Wings of Fire ed. by Jonathan Strahan and Marrianne Jablon, Rachel Swirsky's Through the Drowsy Dark, Swords and Dark Magic, ed. by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, The Ammonite Violin and Other Stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan (the latter two pending if Subterraean Press can ship Leviathan Wept before, Kiernan's ship date...) The Way of the Wizard, by John Joseph Adams, and Occultation by Laird Barron.

And those are only the collections I'm aware of; with my short story reading difficulty, it could take me the rest of the year to only read short stories; not even mentioning the novels I already have/want. Much as Patrick asked in the above post, anyone else have this problem?


Terry Weyna said...

Laird Barron's book is wonderful, as I think you've read on my blog. Scary, scary stories.

I'm waiting for my copy of Leviathan Wept along with you. Swords and Dark Magic arrived from Amazon the other day. Didn't know about
The Ammonite Violin -- must check out whether I can afford it!

Scored a copy of Warriors (ed. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois) at Barnes & Noble for 50% off -- 60% with my discount card -- a few weeks ago, and am looking forward to digging into that. Just read Dangerous Space by Kelley Eskridge after lucking onto a copy at my local used bookstore, and read it through at a gulp, more or less. Great stuff! Now gorging myself on Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson.

So *many* books. So *little* time.

Chad Hull said...

I was planning to pass on Warriors but for that price, I'm in.

Do you mean to say that I brought something new to your attention?! I'm amazed to hear it. It's even more amazing as I was first put on to Kiernan by you!

I got noticed from Amazon that the Abraham was shipping on Saturday.