Sunday Salon

TSSbadge1This week hasn’t necessarily been the best reading week for me.  The two books I read were not books I would generally read, which isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case I felt that there wasn’t as much substance involved.  The first book, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, was a fun read, but itSea_of_Poppies was chick lit.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I used to be a huge chick lit fan, so I’m not knocking it.  Chick lit is just not my thing anymore.  And while it was nice to have a change of pace, I don’t think I’ll be reading the prequel anytime soon.  As for Rattled, it also skirted the lines of chick lit.  While it dealt with some very heavy topics, it still was a quick read thatdidn’t take itself too seriously.  So now I’m reading Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Ghosh.  I was skeptical at first.  In fact, I considered putting it down at first.  It is historical fiction that deals with the opium trade in India and the author includes a lot of language and phraseology that is impossible for me to understand.  However, I discovered fairly quickly that Sea of Poppies is an engaging read, so I’m glad I stuck with it in the beginning.

So on to my new Sunday Salon feature.  As I mentioned in my post on the RIP IV challenge, I am participating in rip4short

So for every Sunday while this challenge is running (September 1-October 31), I will read and discuss a few short stories.

This week, I am highlighting two stories from t1076

Unfortunately, the two stories I chose this week were somewhat lackluster.  I think part of the reason was because they were both extremely short; no more than three or four pages.  The first one was an obvious choice: “The Others”, by Joyce Carol Oates.  It was one of the first stories and JCO is one of my favorite authors, so I couldn’t resist.  “The Others” was about a man who starts seeing dead people.  It’s kind of ambiguous as to whether he is actually seeing them, because at one point he’s telling his wife about his new dilemma as he is pointing out a dead man and she is able to see the man as well.  She blows her husband off, telling him that he’s exaggerating, and the story ends with the protaganist entering an underground subway with a group of dead people.  Was he dead too?  Was he imagining the whole thing?  The reader is left to decide for themselves.

The second story was much more problematic to me.  I chose it at random, literally just opening the book at a random spot and reading whichever story I landed on.  In this case, it was “Pictures”, by Irving Werner.  I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around this one.  I guess the problem could have been that I was completely exhausted and fighting to keep my eyes open.  Basically, it’s the story of a man and woman who meet in an airport and forge an instant connection.  And . . . that’s it.  I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never  did.  I can only assume I completely missed the point.  I don’t know that the woman ever existed–I believe she was more of a tool of the narrator’s sub conscious.  But either way, it didn’t really seem to fit in with the theme of the anthology as a whole.  So, that one was a flop.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck next week!

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3 Responses

  1. You have some challenging reads here! ‘Sea of Poppies’ sounds really interesting.

    My favorite short story collections are Richard Yates’ “Eleven Kinds of Loneliness,” and Ethan Canin’s “Emperor of the Air.”

  2. I often miss the point in short stories. I keep trying them though, thinking maybe I just haven’t found the right author or type, but I haven’t yet. I will keep looking though!

  3. The JCO story sounds pretty interesting. I absolutely love her, but I have yet to tackle any of her short stories. I’m not sure how that happened, but it certainly needs to be remedied! I’ll be tackling some shorts for the Short Story Peril, so I’ll see if I can find some of her short story collections on my shelves or online.

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