Monday, October 29, 2012

What Single-Authored Story Collection Do You Come Back To

I am going with two: LOST IN THE CITY, Edward P. Jones and DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES, Alice Munro. Both were their first books and perhaps it is the old-fashioned writing style that pleases me. The authors write believing you have the time to read. Neither was in too much of a hurry to tell the story.
A lot of more recent short stories seem to dive into the water without poising on the board for a minute or two, giving it a little bounce before the plunge. Before I beat this metaphor to death, what are your favorite single-author short story collections. 

29 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Agatha Christie did several that I like. Oh, and I like some of Ross Macdonald's too. And yours - very much. In general though, I have to admit I like collections better that feature groups of authors. I'm fickle I guess. ;-)

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, not exactly a favourite yet but I'm trying to familiarise myself with the short stories of English writer Arnold Bennett who is known more for his novels. So far I haven't come across a single collection by him. I became interested in his work after the recent purchase of GREAT DETECTIVE STORIES by Arthur Conan Doyle, R. Austin Freeman, Baroness Orczy, Robert Eustace, L.T. Meade and Arnold Bennett, in which Bennett's piece is titled "A Bracelet at Bruges." He has also written another detective story titled "Murder" and probably a few more.

Baroness Orczy is another writer I'm curious about, what with THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL to her credit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

On some shelf, I have THE OLD WIFE'S TALE but I have never read it.
I don't think I have ever read short stories by Macdonald. Have to look for them.

sandra seamans said...

I have a collection of O Henry's stories that I must have read a thousand times. There is something timeless about O Henry's characters.

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, good question. I'd probably have to go with one or more of Ray Bradbury's collections. As a kid, R is for Rocket and S is for Space were favorites. Maybe as an adult, Jack London's "To Build A Fire and other stories."

F.T. Bradley said...

I agree with Margot--I prefer short story collections by one author.

Your comes to mind, Patti, I'm just a fan. I also like JC Oates' I AM NO ONE YOU KNOW and WHEN THE WOMEN COME OUT TO DANCE by Elmore Leonard.

All have such great voice.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Bradbury was a master.
Thanks, Fleur.
The Leonard one was terrific. And although I have many books by JCO, I don't think I have that one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Whoops. It got away from me before I could talk about O'Henry. I read all of these years ago but haven't been back there since. Will look for one today for the 365 thing.

Walker Martin said...

I have so many favorites including such different authors as Ernest Hemingway and Henry James(now there is a real contrast!). But I'll go with THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF J.G. BALLARD. I've read many of the ones from NEW WORLDS and SCIENCE FANTASY several times.

Dana King said...

I don't read a lot of short stories, but when I want to grab something quick I often go back to a collection titled TROUBLEMAKERS, by John McNally.

George said...

John D. MacDonald's THE GOOD OLD STUFF and MORE GOOD OLD STUFF. JDM was a master of the short story and the novel (very rare). And then there's always the five Library of America volumes of Henry James short stories. He was a master, too.

Ed Gorman said...

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates would be my single favorite but strong second places would be- Collected Stories Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Erskine Caldwell, Dorothy Parker, John O'Hara, Somerset Maugham, Charles Bukowski.

Dan_Luft said...

I like Ed's choices. When I first read Hammett's THE BIG KNOCKOVER, I raced through it in two days because of really clean prose and plots I'd just never encountered in college. I also really love Carver's WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE, though short story geeks argue about whether it's a collection by a single author.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Fritz Leiber's Swords Against Wizardry, my favorite collection of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser tales.

Loren Eaton said...

Ray Bradbury's The October Country and William Gibson's Burning Chrome. Great for totally different reasons.

Keith Rawson said...

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Carver

Richard R. said...

I guess the collection I've read the most often is THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. I also really like the Raymond Chandler collection PICKUP ON NOON STREET and the Ross MacDonald collection ARCHER IN HOLLYWOOD. For fantasy-SF, it would be Ray Bradbury's DANDELION WINE (connected stories) followed by THE ILLUSTRATED MAN. For non-genre, Graham Green's 19 STORIES, Jack London's SOUTH SEAS TALES.

David Cranmer said...

Sandra and Keith picked two of mine and I will add Hemingway's Nick Adams stories.

Erik Donald France said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Donald France said...

Post-typo:

Nikolai Gogol -- collected short stories. Kafka. Colette.

Naomi Johnson said...

A Flanary O'Connor collection, plus James Lee Burke's two collections, The Convict, and Jesus Out to Sea.

Todd Mason said...

Best if you sit down before I drop this bomb of surprise upon you: Avram Davidson, Jorge Luis Borges, Joanna Russ, Damon Knight, John Cheever, Fritz Leiber, Robert Bloch, Joyce Carol Oates, Carol Emshwiller, Kate Wilhelm, William Kotzwinkle and oddly enough Ross Macdonald are the short story folks I find myself rereading or reading more of the most, though, like Margot, I've always been more prone to anthologies (and, another shock coming, fiction magazines) than collections. When younger, Kipling, Twain, John Varley, Robert Benchley and a few others were getting more repeat business from me than they do now...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Gotta get that Ross Macdonald.
Flannery is the best, esp. A GOOD MAN and THE RIVER.
Read a little Gogol and Kafka but no Colette other than Gigi a million years ago.
And I really need to find that Graham Greene collection.
Phil loves Ballard. A new name for me, Dana.

Graham Powell said...

DEATHBIRD STORIES, by Harlan Ellison, and CONTROLLED BURN, by Scott Wolven.

Todd Mason said...

DEATHBIRD STORIES might just be the best Ellison collection, though PARTNERS IN WONDER is pretty lovely to dip back into.

Bruce Jay Friedman. Theodore Sturgeon. Donald Barthelme. Joe R. Lansdale. I always preferred Saki to O. Henry.

pattinase (abbott) said...

hey, I have DEATHBIRD STORIES though I have only read a handful.

John said...

I expected to see Raymond Carver to be mentioned many times. For years he was the most lauded short story writer in America. Only two people mentioned him here. Maybe not so popular these days for re-reading.

Roald Dahl is my choice for a modern master whose work is utterly classic and worth reading over and over. He is the one writer I modeled myself after when I was first writing short stories in high school and college. Some succeeded, most were pale Dahl imitations.

Since it's Halloween I've been re-reading lots of favorite ghost stories: Blackwood, Wakefield, Wharton, Sinclair, Mary Wilkins Freeman... The list goes on and on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I certainly would put him in my top five or ten. I have several of his collections and reread a few of them often. Especially SO NEAR THE WATER.

Anonymous said...

Hammett, The Continental Op stories
Hemingway, The Nick Adams Stories or The 49 Stories
Carver, especially What We Talk About...
Leonard, Tonto Woman
Doyle, Complete Sherlock Holmes
Yates, Complete Stories

Jeff M.