Readers’ Corner – Dec. 2020

Neglecting reading? Start small with a short story for Short Story Day, 12/21.

The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford features the Pulitzer-Prize winner’s short works that appeared for decades in The New Yorker. Unabashedly “literary,” she spotlights the human experience in touching and enlightening looks at people in Europe, Boston, the West, and Manhattan. Called “one of the most distinctively American stylists of her day,”
Gallant has passed away, but her works continue to provide unexpected insights for readers who treasure great stories.

Mavis Gallant: The Collected Stories. Another “literary” writer and New Yorker regular, the author is known for work full of rich details about setting and character which benefit from close reading. The volume is broken into decades from the 30s to the 90s. One story, “The Other Paris,” talks of the trip of a young American in search of the exciting, entrancing city she’s heard of, but never can find. Gallant played the role of observant outsider in her work and her life.

Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century, an entertaining collection of 27 short stories to appeal to any sci-fi fan, whether new to the genre or a long-time reader. Editor Orson Scott Card grouped the contents into three time periods: The Golden Age (think Heinlein, Asimov and Bradbury) from the genre’s beginnings to the 1960s, The New Wave (mid-‘60s to mid-‘70s), and The Media Generation. Each section features familiar and lesser-known writers. Personal favorites include Heinlein’s classic time travel tale All You Zombies–Sandkings, George R.R. Martin’s take on Frankenstein.

 Love, Lies and Murder. Thriller novelist Leslie Wolfe has delivered an eclectic collection of tightly-written short stories, each of which skillfully weaves suspense, conflict and heartfelt emotion to reach a satisfying conclusion. Wolfe excels at concise character development that propels her stories forward. These are tales that explore the good in humanity and won’t give the reader nightmares.

Author Kathleen Duhamel writes humorous contemporary romance featuring “seasoned” characters. Her newest is Fed Up. Author Bonne McCune’s latest is Never Retreat, a suspenseful romance in Colorado’s wilderness.


  1. thank you for the recommendations, especially the Orson Scott Card SF book!

  2. I’m always more impressed with well-written short stories than full-length books; I’ve always felt like with shorter stories writers need to be much more succinct and descriptive since there’s no room for filler. I’ll have to check out the thriller collection!

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