Armchair BEA Day 3 - Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:00 AM
Design by Amber of Shelf Notes
It's already Day #3 of Armchair BEA! For some reason, this week has flown by for me, possibly because I had off Monday for Memorial Day. I haven't had much time for blogging this week, but I am still having so much fun writing these discussion posts and commenting on others' blogs. It's so neat to see all of the different book blogs and read their posts. I am hoping to have more time the rest of the week to visit other blogs and comment.

Today's discussion topics are Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories. I'm really excited to discuss these, since short stories and novellas are rarely given enough attention, especially by me. I always mean to read more short stories, and then I fail at doing so. But enough babbling! Let's get this party started!

Expanding Blogging Horizons
What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

When I started Courtney Reads A Lot, it was just something to do for fun. It combined two of my passions, writing and reading, and it allowed me to share my love for books with other book bloggers, so I was happy. For awhile, I only posted book reviews or memes like Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday, and I enjoyed these posts, even though I eventually realized I wanted to take blogging a step further.

Recently, I started an original feature called Bookish to a Fault, where I confess my bookish shortcomings and discuss bookish habits that I'm sure other readers share in common. So far, I've only written one post, but I'm almost done another, and I plan to continue this feature in the long run. I'm really loving it so far, and I have ideas for a bunch more.

Starting this feature, and expanding my blogging horizons, has been so rewarding, and now I'm planning other features for my blog. I love sharing these discussion posts and reading the comments from other book bloggers who can understand where I'm coming from. Courtney Reads A Lot is still something I do for fun. If blogging wasn't enjoyable, I would never have kept up with it for this long. But it also has become something far more significant, and I never anticipated how much time I would spend on it, or that I would post anything more than book reviews and memes. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for Courtney Reads A Lot!

Novellas/Short Stories
Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn't get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?

In this post, I'm going to focus on short stories alone, and not on novellas. I'll be honest here, and admit that I don't spend much time reading short stories. For awhile, the whole concept of a short story actually bothered me, as I couldn't help but feel that a short story was an unfinished novel and the author had just run out of steam. I hated how I would become invested in the characters' lives only to have the story be over in the next few pages. But after taking a college class on short stories, I found a greater appreciation for the art form. Eventually, I loved how I could finish a story in one sitting, giving me ample time to contemplate its meaning.

When it comes to shorts, I have a taste for the more gruesome and haunting tales that send shivers up your spine or reveal the darker side of humanity. I am a horror fan after all. Some of my favorites are "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Yellow Wallpaper," "A Rose for Emily," "Hills Like White Elephants," "A Good Man is Hard to Find,""The Call of Cthulhu,"The Veldt," and nearly any short story written by Stephen King. I'm sure I'm forgetting many others that I enjoy. Today, I'll share with you some short story collections I'd definitely recommend.

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

In Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems fans may indulge in all of Poe's most imaginative short-stories, including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in Rue Morgue, The Tell-Tale Heart, Ligeia and Ms. In a Bottle. His complete early and miscellaneous poetic masterpieces are here also, including The Raven, Ulalume, Annabel Lee, Tamerlane, as well as select reviews and narratives. (Amazon)
Unnatural Creatures selected by Neil Gaiman

Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.

The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology. (Goodreads)
Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King

Whether writing about encounters with the dead, the near dead, or about the mundane dreads of life, from quitting smoking to yard sales, Stephen King is at the top of his form in the fourteen dark tales assembled in Everything's Eventual. Intense, eerie, and instantly compelling, they announce the stunningly fertile imagination of perhaps the greatest storyteller of our time.

"Riding the Bullet," published here on paper for the first time, is the story of Alan Parker, who's hitchhiking to see his dying mother but takes the wrong ride, farther than he ever intended. In "Lunch at the Gotham Café," a sparring couple's contentious lunch turns very, very bloody when the maître d' gets out of sorts. "1408," the audio story in print for the first time, is about a successful writer whose specialty is "Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Graveyards" or "Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Houses," and though Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel doesn't kill him, he won't be writing about ghosts anymore. And in "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French," terror is déjà vu at 16,000 feet. (Goodreads)

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber (or The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories) is an anthology of short fiction by Angela Carter. All of the stories share a common theme of being closely based upon fairy tales or folk tales. However, she's stated: "My intention was not to do 'versions' or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, 'adult' fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories."

The anthology contains ten stories: "The Bloody Chamber," "The Courtship of Mr Lyon," "The Tiger's Bride," "Puss-in-Boots," "The Erl-King," "The Snow Child," "The Lady of the House of Love," "The Werewolf," "The Company of Wolves," and "Wolf-Alice." The tales vary greatly in length, with the novelette "The Bloody Chamber" being more than twice the length of any of the other stories & more than 30 times the length of the short "The Snow Child." (Goodreads)


Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

David Sedaris' move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section. His family is another inspiration. You Can't Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails. (Goodreads)
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Four new, unforgettable short works from the #1 internationally bestselling author . . . “Four raw looks at the limits of greed, revenge, and self-deception” (Booklist, starred review) from the greatest storyteller of our time.
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

Long after his death, H. P. Lovecraft continues to enthrall readers with his gripping tales of madness and cosmic terror, and his effect on modern horror fiction continues to be felt--Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker have acknowledged his influence. His unique contribution to American literature was a melding of Poe's traditional supernaturalism with the emerging genre of science fiction. Originally appearing in pulp magazines like Weird Tales in the 1920s and 1930s, Lovecraft's work is now being regarded as the most important supernatural fiction of the twentieth century. (Goodreads)







The Oxford Book of American Short Stories by Joyce Carol Oates

This volume offers a survey of American short fiction in 59 tales that combine classic works with 'different, unexpected gems', which invite readers to explore a wealth of important pieces by women and minority writers. Authors include: Amy Tan, Alice Adams, David Leavitt and Tim O'Brien. (Goodreads)
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. Culminating in a brilliantly funny (and never before published) account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection will be avidly anticipated. (Goodreads)




As you can see, I am a fan of both the classics and some more modern short story collections. Besides these, I'd also recommend reading any of the The Best American Short Stories. Those anthologies are published yearly, and I've already read stories from two different ones, and I don't think you can go wrong with those. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction is also worth picking up if you like both classic and contemporary short stories.

Do you have any short story or novella recommendations for me? And I'd love to know what "expanding blogging horizons" means to you!



34 comments:

  1. I really struggle with short stories. I like them, and enjoy many of them, but don't read too many of them. Mostly my problem is a struggle to connect with them. You have given some great suggestions - I'm going to check them out!

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    1. Yeah, I have similar issues, and I really have to be in the mood for short stories.

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  2. I really need to come up with some kind of original feature for my blog, but every time I have an idea, it seems someone else is already doing it. Last year for Armchair, I used the prefix Let's Talk About for all of my posts, and decided to continue that after for all of my discussion posts, only to get blasted a couple of months later by another blogger because they already had a Let's Talk feature and I really should change the name of mine. So now, I am a bit gun shy about starting anything new.

    I love that you included classics in your discussion of short stories. I don't think they get enough attention. And, I call myself a King fan, but I have not read EITHER of those! I need to fix that, like today.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

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    1. I felt the same way. Every idea I had had already been done. It was SO frustrating! I hope you come with an original feature that works for your blog. :D

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  3. I think most book bloggers start out doing mostly book reviews, then expand into memes and then finally come up with features of their own. I know that is what I have done as well. But it is interesting to see how each blog evolves and develops its own voice.

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    1. Yes, every blog is unique, and I love watching them evolve.

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  4. I really loved reading Edgar Allen Poe's collection of poems and short stories. My favorite has always been "The Tell-Tale Heart." The first time I read it was in middle school and it scared the bejesus out of me.

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    1. That one was is so good! And very creepy!

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  5. How did I forget about Stephen King short stories? He's great!

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  6. I enjoyed your Bookish to a Fault feature. What a great idea. I had to agree with most of your comments on that post. I think we need a 12 step program, lol.
    Nice to meet you.
    AH@badassbookreviews

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    1. Thanks! And I know! I really need to seek out therapy for my book buying habits :P

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  7. I quite like bizarre short stories, but I haven't read any of these! I'm definitely going to try them, especially the Gaiman and Poe stories!

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    1. You should! They are definitely bizarre :D

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  8. Your recommendations all look great! I actually have Edgar Allen Poe's book on my shelf and haven't looked at it in a long time! Stephen King's shorts look like a must read!

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  9. Thank you for the recommendations. I am off to check out your new feature.
    -Flirting with Fiction

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  10. I can't believe I forgot about King's shorts either! Thanks for the reminder, Courtney.

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  11. Unnatural Creatures looks really good, so do many of the others, thanks for the suggestions

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  12. I also started my blog for fun and I still maintain it as a hobby. I never thought I would spend so much time on it, but it's so rewarding and it makes me happy every hour I spend on it :D It's great that you started your own feature! I think having your own feature really adds something unique to the blog.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy

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    1. Yes, I agree. The feature has been so much fun too.

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  13. Thanks for the short story recommendations. I need to read more of them!

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  14. So many great short story anthologies out there. I'd recommend the fairy tales ones especially like Coyote Road. :)

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    1. Oooo I'll have to check that one out. Thanks!

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  15. I think expanding blogging horizons, to me anyway, simply means to stretch your comfort zone. I've had to do that a lot through the years of book blogging, and it's not always the easiest thing to do. It's hard work to keep up a successful blog - and even harder to make it fun and not a chore.

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    1. I know what you mean! Sometimes, I forget I'm doing this for fun because it becomes so stressful, and then I know I have to take a break.

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  16. I wouldn't mind reading those Stephen King anthologies. :-)

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