February is for Short Stories

Note: this post constitutes my current reading post for this week.

Last year I read more short stories than in any prior year, and I enjoyed it. So I’ve decided to devote February to mostly short stories. I have a stack of collections and anthologies I’ve pulled off the shelves and my plan is to read from them at random, as the mood each day strikes me. Others may slip into the mix.

short story booksBecause the photo isn’t sharp top to bottom (especially bottom) here’s the list:

  • The Celestial Buffet and other Morsels of Murder by Susan Dunlap [mystery]
  • The Omnibus of Science Fiction edited by Groff Conklin [SF]
  • The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams [fantasy]
  • The Papers of Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1 & 2 by David Marcum [mystery]
  • Blue Lightning edited by John Harvey [mystery]
  • Realms, the Second Year of Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Mamatas & Wallace [SFF]
  • The Solar Pons Omnibus Volume 1 by August Derleth edited by Basil Copper [mystery]
  • Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street by Arthur Morrison [mystery]
  • War and Space – the Selected Short Stories of Lester Del Rey Volume 1 by Lester Del Rey [SF]
  • Tales by Charles Todd [mystery]
  • The Big Book of Western Action Stories edited by Jon Tuska [western]
  • A Murder is Coming by James Powell [mystery]
  • The Green Lama by Kendell Foster Crossen [pulp mystery]
  • Sherlock Holmes Abroad edited by Simon Clark [mystery]
  • Them that Lives by their Guns, the Collected Hard-Boiled Stories of Race Williams, Volume 1 by Carroll John Daly [mystery]

I know there’s way more here than I’ll get through in the month, and if an irresistible novel comes along that will slow things down too, but I’m aiming at making the month all or mostly short story reading.

A few notes: I’ve already been reading in some of these, the Pons, Omnibus of SF, Realms, Williams and the Del Rey. Blue Lightning is a collection of Brit authors, new for the collection. The Lester Del Rey is Volume 1 of a two volume NESFA set. The Charles Todd are short stories featuring his two main characters. I’m not much of a western story reader, but I thought I’d try some so this collection will serve. I’ve heard about Powell’s stories for a while, I’m glad to have this one to read. The door stop sized Race Williams collection should be fun, though the pages are printed in double columns – and with original illustrations – so that might take getting used to.

Are you going to read any short stories in February?


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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29 Responses to February is for Short Stories

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I read short stories all the time. I recently dug out my Pinnacle volumes of Solar Pons stories, and I hope to get to some of those soon.

    • Richard says:

      Those Pinnacle paperbacks have neat covers. I’ve enjoyed the Pons stories I’ve read, but it’s been a while so I’m starting the omnibus at page one. I’m reading more short stories these days than I have in the past.

  2. tracybham says:

    I am planning to get a lot of short stories read in February; a lot for me that is. My goal in 2016 was to read more short stories, and in January I haven’t finished one, so February I hope to get back into it. I have fewer science fiction anthologies than mystery anthologies, but over time I will add a few of those. Right now I am reading a longish story by Norbert Davis from the book The Complete Cases of Max Latin.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    I am reading short stories now. They are from a collection called MONICA
    NEVER SHUTS UP by A.S. King. Someone online recommended it.

  4. Jerry House says:

    That’s a wonderful array of collections and anthologies there, Richard. I ‘ve read several of these in whole or in part and you’ve got some great reading ahead of you.

    I just finished Shirley Jackson’s JUST AN ORDINARY DAY, a collection of unpublished and uncollected sories. It’s a semi-hefty book with over fifty stories, many of them pure gems. I’ve herd that Jackson claimed to be a practising witch; whether that’s true of not, she certainly managed to practice magic with her stories. A remarkable collection. I’m currently lazing through Amelia Gray’s collection GUTSHOT, a book of short “lit’ry” fantasies; I’d have to give an uneven response to what I’ve read so far in the book. My one novel for the week was Max Shulman’s THE FEATHER MERCHANTS, which was my FFB for last Friday.

    I am continuing my self-imposed story-a-day challange. So far this week I’ve Amelia Gray, Howard Pease, Lord Dunsany, Fergus Hume, and Henry van Dyke, and am reading Henry Kuttner’s SF novella “Sword of Tomorrow” for today’s entry.

    I’m also reading another Walt Longmire novel by Craig Johnson and am also dipping into George R. R. Martin’s Westeros stories about Dunk and Egg. After that I may get into Mary Carr’s ART OF THE MEMOIR (which has been sittting around here far too long) or WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, a book based on the very popular (and very strange) podcast if I can get it away from my granddaughter, who grabbed it the moment it came into the house.

    We had our first truly beautiful day in several weeks yesterday. The back yard is now a jungle so I see some lawn maintenance coming up this afternoon. Hope all is well.

    • Richard says:

      Jerry, I’m sorry I’m late getting to your post, I missed it somehow in all the excitement. What excitement, you ask? Well, um, you got me there. Anyway…I wish I liked Jackson’s work more, the short story collection might interest me, but I’ve read some of hers and they really didn’t appeal. Ugh! I liked the Longmire short story collection enough to buy the first novel in the series, The Cold Dish and it’s sitting here in case or when I get short storied out. Have fun mowing the grass. All fine at this end.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Does the Pope go in the woods? (This answers your question.)

    Of course I’m going to read stories, but then I always do. That’s a nice pile of books. I know I’ve read the Dunlap and Harvey books, and some of the other stories.

    The book I just finished (I’m trying to clear off titles from the Kindle) is one I’d describe as very twisted (take that how you like it). It was a collection called AT THE GATES OF MADNESS by Shaun Meeks, who appears to be Canadian. Let’s just say it is very, very dark. I then read as new Martin Ehrengraf story by Lawrence Block from his “5 free books in 5 days” thing (check Bill Crider’s blog 5 days ago), which was a lot more fun.

    I still have over 50 collections on the Kindle but don’t know which I will read next. (Some choices: Paul Bishop, Ernest Bramah’s Max Carrados collection, The Occult Detective Magapack, Arthur Morrison’s Martin Hewitt collection, Tom Piccirilli, a couple of James Reasoner collections and the Arthur Train Megapack.) My first priority now that we’re finally here in Florida is to finish LEVIATHAN WAKES.

    • Richard says:

      Ah, I’m back home, and you’re in Florida. Barbara is laying out the fabric she just bought. Big sale at Fabric Depot. Anyway, my first question is how was the drive? Second is once you’ve read a book on your Kindle do you delete it? If yes, what if you want to refer to it, or read it, later?

      Now then. I’ll skip the Meeks, thank you. The Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street by Arthur Morrison is really Martin Hewitt stories, but David Marcum edited them into Holmes stories because, he postulates in his forward, he believes Hewitt was really Holmes and Morrison… well it’s hogwash, but I talked to Art about it and he thinks they can be read either way. So.

      I tried a little of The Expanse on SyFy and gave it up. I have the 2nd book in the series awaiting.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        It depends on the book. But yes, with a book like the Meeks I do delete it from the Kindle immediately. I am never going to want to consult it again. If I think I might, I don’t delete it.

        I finished the last 200 pages of Leviathan Wakes today, by the way.

        The trip went well. I did 290-340 miles a day. The snow wasn’t as bad as the total would suggest, and it melted enough by the time we left that we had no problems. There was snow along the edges of the road, but the highways were clear.

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read 55 stories in January. When I was sick I could barely get through one a day but it has picked up lately.

  7. I’ve read 31 short stories in January. Decades ago Jeff Meyerson inspired me to read a short story per day (like he does). Now, it’s just part of my day. I currently working my way through a Matthew Hughes collection called DEVIL OR ANGEL. I really like that stack of books you have! I have that Groff Conklin anthology. I read it as a kid, but I’ve been thinking about rereading it.

    • Richard says:

      I read 19 short stories in January, I was busy reading novels and watching football and such. That’s one reason I’m devoting more time in February to short stories.

  8. I want to get that Race Williams collection.

  9. Art Scott says:

    Indeed I shall. Yesterday Amazon delivered the two newest British Library Crime Classic short story collections edited by Martin Edwards, Murder At The Manor (country house mysteries) and Silent Nights (Christmas mysteries). All of the collections in this series have been a nice mix of old favorites and rarities.

  10. Redhead says:

    That is a fantastic stack of anthologies!

    I’m slowly working my way through a few anthologies – Clockwork Phoenix 5 edited by Mike Allen, The Bestiary edited by Ann Vandermeer, and Meeting Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan.

    I love anthologies because you can just flip to a random story and start reading, and you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything important.

  11. Richard says:

    I think Strahan is a very good editor, I liked the first Infinity anthology, haven’t read the second. I must admit I read anthologies straight through, otherwise I can’t keep straight what I’ve read. I do skip stories that don’t grab me after 2 or 3 pages. I’ve read good things about The Bestiary.

  12. Cap'n Bob says:

    Just so you don’t think I’ve abandoned you, I’ll pipe up. I will probably read some s/s this month but I don’t have anything planned right now. I’m reading a Custer book and a couple of magazines at the moment. I’ve read a few of the authors/books in your queue and enjoyed them–like Solar Pons and the Western collection.

  13. John says:

    Should be a one L Lama for Kendall Crossen’s creation the Green Lama, Richard. Doesn’t Ogden Nash have a quip about that? Or is it another humorist? I’m interested in reading that series by Crossen. He has flair for storytelling even if he isn’t exactly a literary guy. I liked in one way or another all his detective novels I’ve read so far.

    Like Art I’ve been dipping into the Edwards’ anthologies from British Library. I picked up Resorting to Murder a few days ago off the TBR pile. There was a *very* funny story in there by Helen Simpson about a travelling spinster who is mistaken for a spy. A hysterical scene where she forced to undergo a “strip search” had me laughing out loud on the bus ride home. I have a small pile of ARCs from Poisoned Pen Press who distribute those British Library Crime Classics over here, but I never got around to reading them in order to review them last year.

    Enjoy your story laden February!

  14. prettysinister says:

    It is Nash. I found it quickly:

    The one-l lama, / He’s a priest.
    The two-l llama, / He’s a beast.
    And I will bet / A silk pajama / There isn’t any / Three-l lllama.

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