Did you know that May is Short Story Month? I think this is the first year I’m actually excited by the thought of a month dedicated to the format. While I’m not turning over all my reading, I do hope to read a little more than normal and share some of my favorites. Reaching the point of loving short stories was a slow journey over the last two years or so and actually started with finding the right amount of weird at the right time. In fact, if we put some of the books I read on a Weird-o-Meter, they would span from quite normal to super crazy.
Collections like Tenth of December by George Saunders and Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich, which reach peak absurdity on the Weird-O-Meter, were some of the first to win me over. After trying and failing with several more straightforward short stories, Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress had more than enough oddity to keep me engaged. I thought super weird was the only thing that would work for me, but collections like The Tsar of Love and Techno, In the Country, Almost Famous Women, and Beneath the Bonfire showed me that deeply linked stories and vivid settings also take the cake.
Have you figured out what makes you love a short story collection? Do you think it just takes time to get used to the format?