2016 reading resolution: Give up on short story collections. Though people like Joachim of SF Ruminations tackle the job with an optimstic “it’s a treasure hunt!” kind of attitude, the yield is almost never worth the effort. The reading experience drags on and on, making me hate reading and the book and sometimes even myself just for hating it so much.
This year, I will not be courting any new collections. I will re-read a few of my favorites, in hopes of convincing myself the damn things might, occasionally, be worth my time. And I will read the four already on my shelves. Otherwise? No fucking dice. What a relief.
Because I’m still in turbo list mode from December, I’ve put together a list of the short story collections and anthologies I plan to read in 2016. With the exception of the Slake collection (which is very long and as a result, a little intimidating), I am really excited about these. If nothing else, maybe I’ll manage to remind myself that I actually can enjoy short fiction collections. It’ll be a start. Or an end. Whatever.
Fist of the Spider Women: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire edited by Amber Dawn
This horror collection, edited by the author of the sublimely strange novel Sub Rosa, was the first short story collection I read this year. And guys, it was fucking fantastic. And sexy. Even though it was also horrifying and usually both at once. Once again, in this never-ending cycle of love and hate, I found myself questioning whether I hated short story collections or just hated most short story collections. Queer horror! Sexy horror! Short stories I actually liked! Either I need to read more QUILTBAG erotica/horror, or I need to read everything every single one of these authors has ever written. Probably both.
We Dropped a Bomb on You: The Best of Slake I-IV edited by Donnelly and Ochoa
I was drawn to this collection of the best shorts from Slake magazine’s short print run because it contains a story by House of Leaves author Mark Z. Danielewski. Thanks to that one story, I have committed to reading this massive, LA-themed collection for review. What was I thinking? I don’t know, but hopefully what promises to be an edgy and maybe even slightly experimental collection will impress me in all the right ways. I admit its size is not bolstering optimism.
Wastelands 2 and The End Is Come edited by John Joseph Adams
I loved the concept and the first two collections in Adams’ Apocalypse Triptych and if I could still remember something about the first two volumes I would be pretty fucking excited to see how these serial stories, split into three anthologies, were all going to play out. I tend to enjoy Adams’ collections, and you know me and the apocalypse, and what more reason do I need to give these two a try? Other than the fact that I promised to review like 6,000 years ago. Cough cough.
Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu
Charles Yu is one of my favorite authors, and immediately after falling head over heels for How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, I bought and devoured his short story collection Sorry Please Thank You. It was awesome, and I hope to use a re-read of it to bolster my confidence in short story collections in general. Read some Charles Yu, guys, he’s awesome.
All Fires the Fire by Julio Cortazar
This collection by magical realism hero of my reading heart contains my favorite short story of all time (The Continuity of Parks). I also plan on using it as a crutch for my confidence in collections.
Now, I have some questions for you. Do you like short story collections? Do you have a favorite short story collection? How do you read short story collections? (As in, all at once like a novel or one story a day, or or or?)