Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, December 31, 2012

"The Lotus" by Jean Rhys Project 196 Dominica

"The Lotus" by Jean Rhys (1978, 15 pages)

Country 12 of 196
Jean Rhys

  1. Georgia 
  2. Canada
  3. U. S. A.
  4. The Republic of Korea
  5. Antigua and Barbuda 
  6. Haiti
  7. Trinidad and Tobago 
  8. Ukraine
  9. Cameroon
  10. Botswana
  11. Sudan
  12. Dominica 
f you are an author and want to represent your country, please contact me.  If you want to do a guest post on your favorite story for the feature please contact me also.

If you are a publisher that has an anthology that is done in the 196 spirit, please contact me as I will be spotlighting appropriate collections.  

At first I thought I was setting myself an impossible task but a bit of research has made me optimistic  that I can find a short story from all 196 countries in the world.   I feel this part of the project will be completed.   I also hope to publish a contemporary short story from an author from all 196 countries and I know this is a crazy idea.

My post on "Illusion"-this has a link to a podcast of the story 

My post on After Leaving Mr. McKenzie (based on her relationship to Ford Madox Ford)

I love Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1890 to 1979-Dominica).  When I posted on it a number of people took Rhys and me to task for backing her up on the claim the narrative suggests that Edward Rochester is a  selfish exploiter, not overly intelligent abuser  of women, a man who epitomizes the colonial despot.   I mean no offense here but I think that many of the readers of Jane Eyre first read it as teenage girls and developed a crush on Rochester and take anything critical of him personally.  In an effort to increase my unpopularity with most readers of Jane Eyre, I also did a post in which I depicted it as a deeply racist John Bull mentality book.  I also love the book but facts are facts and we have to acknowledge them as when we read.  (I invite any and all comments or criticism of my post on Wide Sargasso Sea which I concedes reads like a love letter to Jean Rhys.)   I am not objective, if such a condition really exists, about Rhys.  I am way predisposed to like anything she wrote.  I have read her biography and I know she had a difficult life brought on largely by her own choices and I know she could be a very hard to deal with person but I don't care. 

In my trip through the Caribbean, upon reaching the tiny country (275 square miles with under 100,000 people) Dominica I was very happy to find a short story by Rhys, "The Lotus" in one of the books on my Ipad.  (As far as I know none of her work is online-it will be under copyright in the USA and Commonwealth until at least 2029 -the only place to experience her work on the net is in the podcast I reference.)
Rhys at 25

I found this story to have a very auto-biographical feel.  The story opens with a Christine and Ronnie talking about Lotus:  "A tart!  My dear Christine, have you seen her?  After all their are linits?...she writing a novel.  Yes,dearie--he opened his eyes very wide and turned the corners of his mouth down-all about a girl who gets seduced on a haystack".  I know I have said I don't like stories about drinkers but when Jean Rhys writes one I do!  Jean Rhys was a very bad alcoholic and was very fond of herbal drugs.  She was also a street walker for a while in the rougher parts Paris and London because she found office work boring and she did not want to be a rich man's mistress.  She was strikingly beautiful.  She went twenty years "missing" in London and was arrested several times for being drunk and disorderly in the streets.  She was basically a crazy old woman of the streets getting into stupid fights with people around her. She was a mess!  
Rhys at 80

This story is Jean letting the world knows she knows how "respectable people see her".  She knows she is way smarter than the people who look down on her, way better read, an accomplished poet and writer and she knows they see only a frumpy middle aged drunk.   During he visit Lotus scores as many free drinks as she can, that seems her main reason for the visit. OK she is obnoxious!  Then as she leaves a big commotion is soon heard in the streets.  Lotus in an advanced state of intoxication (and the police see drugs in her behavior also) has stripped off and been arrested in front of her friends house walking the streets nude.  Ronnie and Christine are mortified when the police knock on her door as a presumed friend of hers.  

This story is Rhys way of telling the world to "screw off"!

I read this story in The Penquin Book of Modern British Short Stories  edited by Malcolm Bradbury, a very worth buying book.    

Dominica obtained its indepence from England in 1978.  Most of the residents are descended from slaves.  Rhys ancestors would have been bound servants or also slaves.  

"Jean, I love you"-Carmilla

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2012 Blogging Year

2012 was a very good blogging year for me. I met lots of new people and discovered lots of new to me great writers.  I ended the year with 2569 Twitter followers and 725 GFC followers.   There are now 1369 posts on The Reading Life.  Traffic increased from 31,000 hits a month in Jan 2012 to over 100,000 in December.   Since my blog began in July 2009 I have had 1,221,494 page views.   The countries that are home to my most frequent visitors are the U.S.A, then the Philippines, then India, and then England.   The readership of my blog is becoming increasingly Asian.

The five most viewed posts in 2012 were all on older short stories from authors of the Philippines.   The most searched for author on my blog was R. K. Narayan (I was very proud to see my blog was endorsed by The Economic Times of India for my posts on Narayan) followed by Katherine Mansfield.

I have read blog posts in which people say they do not care about their blog statistics at all.  They say they write just for themselves and a few friends. One poster even scoffed at those who check their blog stats regularly.    More power to them but it is my goal to grow my readership without degrading my content.   I hope to have well over a million visits in 2013 and by the time my Project 196 ends in Sept of 2017 I hope to have five million hits a year, at least.  This is all very achievable even if my growth in readership slows  down.

My blog was dominated by the various Reading Life Projects, mostly centering around short stories.   The biggest transformation  that happened on my blog came about through a ten day event on Emerging Irish Women Writers.  Through that I began to establish contacts with lots of contemporary writers.   Some of the emerging writers I have posted on, now broadened to cover anyone anywhere, are already starting to take their place on the world stage, others will in time.   This has helped me understand and appreciate the creative process more than I had been able to prior to this

I also in 2012 for the first time began to publish short stories.   So far I have published 25 stories and I have ten in the queue to be published soon.  I also had a number of guests posts on Irish  short stories.  If anything has priority on my blog it is the Irish short story.

Free Books and other topics.

I like free books!   I pretty much only e-read.  There are no libraries where I live.  Many of the contemporary books I have posted on  have been given  to me by the authors or the publishers. I am offered enough free books so the offer of another book is not enough to induce me to post a "pushed" review.    Free books have  caused many blogs to actually close down as  bloggers feels overwhelmed, of course a book blogger wants free books but many think they have to post on every book they get and they end up feeling overwhelmed or they post on junk books and they somehow lose their passion for blogging.   I am offered many more books that I could ever read or post on.  Once I agree to post on a book I will but it might take months.   I do look at everything I am sent.

I do not post comments on as many book blogs as I once did.  Many of the blogs I used to follow have closed down.   When I did my event Irish Short Story Week Year Two I sent out invitations to all 15 who posted for the event in 2011 but five of  their blogs were either gone or had no posts in months.  I still follow about 300 book blogs and I try to comment when I can.  I do not see anything wrong, as some do, with writing a comment on a blog post simply saying you enjoyed the post.  We have all felt the pain of spending a lot of time on a post only to get no comments.  It makes you feel you are writing into a void.

My biggest thanks are to those who have taken the trouble to leave a comment on my posts, those who have done guests posts and those who honored me by allowing me to publish their short stories.  I also give my thanks to my quite brilliant cousin in Texas for her wonderful efforts to improve my prose.

Dublinesque by Enrique Vila Matas

Dublinesque by Enrique Vila Matas (2012, translated by Ann Mclean and Rosalind Harvey, 320 pages)

Dublinesque by Enrique Vila Matas  (Barcelona, Spain, 1948) is about a sixty year old retired owner of a publishing house, a two years sober alcoholic, married with no children and still very much the child of his 85 year old parents.   He is very upset over what he sees as the end of the Gutenberg Era which he thinks the increasing popularity of e books is bringing about.   This is very much a book about a very cultured man who has lived a life centered on books.   He was also an alcoholic for much of his adult life.  He speaks or reads no English but he is very into Irish literature, especially Beckett and Joyce but he talks about John Banville and Colum McCann also.

He always wanted to publish a great masterwork but he never did.  He decided he will go to Dublin and much of the book is devoted to him thinking and talking about this trip.

There are a number of very good book blog posts on this work which a book blog search will find. Everyone declares it a great work.    I wanted to really like this book but I found I was at best OK with it.  Here are my reasons, which are to a good extent exterior to the merit of the book.  I do not especially like novels, short stories, movies or TV shows about alcoholics or drug users.   This is a personal prejudice and I acknowledge it as such but I was bored listening to the narrator talk and think about how much he wished he could have a drink.  Also I think, and it is an often expressed view, that saying the growth of E-Readers is somehow a terrible thing that will lead to the ending of reading or is the start of a new dark age is one of the dumbest phoniest silliest debates around and the narrator seems to think it is going to happen because of e-books.  This made me see him as a self serving person with no real love for literature.

I enjoyed parts of this book but I do not endorse purchasing of it.  I know there are those who will think I am totally off in my remarks or cannot see pass my prejudices about drinkers and drug users and that it OK. I felt like telling the narrator, OK let me buy you a shot of Jameson at Temple Bar and then you can go look in some of the book stores on Grofton Street and then you can look at the hundreds and hundreds of ways E-readers and tablets are enriching the reading world when you sober up in the morning, and Oh yes your wife called and wants to be sure you are not drinking again.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"A Handful of Dates" by Tayeb Salih Project 196 Sudan

"A Handful of Dates" by El Tayeb Salih  (1964, 5 pages)

Country 11 of 196
الطيب صالح
Tayeb Salih

  1. Georgia 
  2. Canada
  3. U. S. A.
  4. The Republic of Korea
  5. Antigua and Barbuda 
  6. Haiti
  7. Trinidad and Tobago 
  8. Ukraine
  9. Cameroon
  10. Botswana
  11. Sudan
f you are an author and want to represent your country, please contact me.  If you want to do a guest post on your favorite story for the feature please contact me also.

If you are a publisher that has an anthology that is done in the 196 spirit, please contact me as I will be spotlighting appropriate collections.  

At first I thought I was setting myself an impossible task but a bit of research has made me optimistic  that I can find a short story from all 196 countries in the world.   I feel this part of the project will be completed.

I also want, and maybe this is crazy, to publish a short story, over the next 196 weeks from a contemporary writer in each 196 countries. 

Tayeb Salih (Sudan 1929 to 2009) is considered one of The Sudan's premier writers.   He wrote in a climate of severe censorship and one of his best known works was banned in his homeland.  He was a well regarded newspaper columnist.  He wrote in Arabic.   Most of his work, including this story, centers around the lives of villagers living much as their ancestors did 2000 years ago.  He is considered a very didactic writer, almost a writer of moralistic parables.  I think in the political environment in which he lived and wrote he had little other alternative.   

"A Handful of Dates"  (translator unknown) is told by a man, we do not know how old he is when he speaks, looking back on a day in his life when he first saw negative aspects to the grandfather he had always worshiped.   As I read the story it did seem like a tell from very long ago, maybe to a past more myth than real.   It is set a small village in Sudan (most of Salih's fiction was set in a fictional  community he created just like R. K. Narayan in his work) and besides the boy and his grandfather we have one other man.  The boy talks of how his greatest pleasure was to go to school so he could learn to memorize the Koran.   He loved studying the Koran. He loved the mosque, the river and his grandfather's wonderful luxurious white beard.   

As we progress in the story we see there is another man the grandfather scorns.  He was born rich but squandered much of his fortune in many wives.    After Koran school he loved to take a plunge in the river.   The big economic event was the date harvest.   The young man achieves an epiphany of sorts when he witnesses his grandfather bargaining over the harvest.  As you can read the story at the link I will provide I will leave the rest of the story untold.

I think for most of us, including me, the value of this story lies a lot in just expanding your reading range to include a story  from Sudan from a time long before it was in the headlines.   We also get a very good look at life in a small Sudanese village.  

I liked this story, I am glad I found it for Project 196 and think it is worth the five minutes or so it will take you to read it.  If I could read more of his stories for free I would but I probably would not buy his works as you can feel they are heavily constrained by a tradition of repression.    This is a good decent story with good values that strictly toes an ideological line.  

The Sudan is an Arab state in central north Africa with a population of 30 million.  Arabic culture totally dominates and it is considered a theocratic state.   It for centuries was under the domination of Egypt. 

For your accompanying music, I recommend Mango 96 in Omdurman.  I use Tunein Radio to listen to music on my Ipad, a wonderful free or very cheap program.     

You can read the story here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

"The Rich People's School" by Lauri Kubuitsile Project 196 Botswana

"The Rich People's School" by Lauri Kubuitsile (2007, 9 pages)

Project 196

Country 9 of 196
Week Two
Lauri Kubuitsile

  1. Georgia 
  2. Canada
  3. U. S. A.
  4. The Republic of Korea
  5. Antigua and Barbuda 
  6. Haiti
  7. Trinidad and Tobago 
  8. Ukraine
  9. Cameroon
  10. Botswana
f you are an author and want to represent your country, please contact me.  If you want to do a guest post on your favorite story for the feature please contact me also.  

If you are a publisher that has an anthology that is done in the 196 spirit, please contact me as I will be spotlighting appropriate collections.  

At first I thought I was setting myself an impossible task but a bit of research has made me optimistic  that I can find a short story from all 196 countries in the world.   I feel this part of the project will be completed.   In a much more challenging perhaps impossible project, I also hope to publish on my blog a contemporary short story from an author from each of the 196 countries.  

I have now completed five percent of phase one of Project 196.  I expect it to be pretty easy to find short stories from about 75 percent of the countries but I do expect to find a story from each of the 196 countries.

"The Rich People's School" by Lauri Kubuitsile is a wonderful story about the life of a young girl from Botswana whose life was totally changed when her mother married an American and left her daughter in the hands of her own mother so she could move to America.   She required the man agree to send enough money to her family every month so they could live and so her daughter could attend "The Rich People's School".   I know exactly what this means as the public schools here are terrible and if a child is to have any real hope of success they have to go to a "Rich Person's School".   I acknowledge that my three teenager daughters all go to such a school .

The American, we do not know what he was doing in Botswana said he could not live in a dry backward desert.  He tells the woman, who he met there it seems but we do not know how, that if she loves him she will move to America with him.   She asks him "What about Slyvia" and he tells her "No, a black Sylvia wouldn't do in a family that would be toffee-colored brown.  Sylvia could stay with her Gran, she won't mind, it will be better for her".  

Sylvia is enrolled in the Rich People's School.   The other students spot her as someone from a poor family, maybe the slums, and they mock her so much she hates the new school.   I do not want to tell more of the story as I want first time readers to enjoy the gentle wisdom of the Grandmother as much as I did.  Do not be too quick to judge the mother.   I really liked this story a lot

Author Data

Lauri Kubuitsile is a writer living in the Tswapong Hills of Botswana. Her short stories have appeared in New Contrasts, AuthorAfrica 2007 and Mslexia, among others. She has one published novella entitled The Fatal Payout(Macmillan 2005). Besides writing fiction, she is a freelancer for Botswana's only daily private newspaper, Mmegi, and writes educational material including radio lessons and is currently working on a series of textbooks. She is married with two teenage children. 

You can read another of her short stories "Dandelion Wishers" here

You can learn more about her work on her blog, Thoughts from Botswana

Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It gained its independence from the U.K. in 1966 while remaining within the Commonwealth.  It is one of themost sparsely populated countries in Africa with just over two million residents.  The official languages are English and Setswana.  Seventy percent of the country is part of the Kalahari Desert.  It is considered to have a strong tradition of representative democracy.   

I also want to recommend that anyone who takes a multicultural approach to understanding the world to study the offerings and thoughts on the webpage of the publisher of the anthology in which I read this story, One World, New Internationalist. New Internationalist is strongly devoted to global justice and does all it can to provide its readers with the truth.  I have been following their webpage, which is more than just a wonderful collection of publications, ever since July 2010 when I began to blog on the Caine Prize stories, which they publish in anthology form.

New Internationalist can be found here.

The Reading Life Big Reads of 2012

The top 15 books are in order of my regard for the book, after that the order is purely random.  There is not a second rate book on this list.
  1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes-just might be the big read of my life. I hope to reread every year for the rest of my life
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- beyond a point to praise it-War and Peace in 2013
  3. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift-greatest  work of satire ever written-deep as deep can be
  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-one of the best opening chapters in the history of the novel.
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  6. The Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand  a total must read-in my best 100 books of the 20th century.  One day in the life of an Untouchable in  Indian in the 1930s
  7. Happiness Comes From Nowhere by Shauna Gilligan one of the best debut novels I have read in decades.
  8. Father and Son by Ivan Turgenev -classic-also a short Russian novel!
  9. Silas Marner by George Eliot -a very good very readable work-would be an excellent first Eliot
  10. Hard to Say by Ethel Rohan  I love the work of this writer
  11. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry-I think he will also be listed in 2013-wonderful Mumbai novel
  12. A House of Cards by Elizabeth MacDonald-a beautiful collection of storiesful set in Tuscany-
  13. Mother America by Nuala Ní Chonchúir  a wonderful very creative collection of short stories
  14. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li  powerful novel about China during the Mao years
  15. Beyond the Beautiful Forever:  Life, Hope and Death in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo-this book will become a classic
  16. The Etruscan by Linda Lappin-might also become a classic 
  17. The Weight of Feathers by Geraldine Mills a very original collection of short stories
  18. Zoli by Colum McCann  great novel set in the Roma culture
  19. Border Lines by John Walsh an excellent collection of mostly set in Ireland short stories
  20. Late Victorian  Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World by Mike Davis-must read history  
  21. The West: Stories From Ireland by Eddie Stack wonderful stories in the tradition of the Irish story teller.
  22. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon this should be your first Pynchon
  23. Listening To Dust by Brandon Shire  the only writer listed for two years in a row-I hope he writes enough and I last long enough to list twenty of his works
  24. What's Not Said by James Martyn Joyce   noir  stories of the dark side of the mean streets of Ireland
  25. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil  This should have won the Man Booker Prize-it was short listed
  26. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West  -if you have never read this book, put what ever you are reading on hold and read this at once.
  27. Germinal by Emile Zola depressing but hugely important
  28. The Dancers Dancing by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne brilliant very funny novel about the Literary high life in Ireland during the years of the Celtic tiger-
  29. The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin  very thought provoking
  30. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild must read non-fiction about the Belgian Congo
  31. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann wonderful work
  32. The Sea by John Banville  place your self in the hands of a master.
  33. A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle the first of a trilogy-the life of an IRA hitman from birth to early twenties.  I read five of Doyle's novels in 2012 and hope to read five more in 2013
  34. 30 Under 30:  Stories by Irish Writers Under 30-edited by Elizabeth Reapy-a great anthology
  35. Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece by Michael Gorra -a must read book for anyone into Henry James and a brilliant lesson in how to read a novel.
  36. As Close As You'll Ever Be by Seamus Scanlon  more stories of the mean streets of Ireland
  37. Somewhere in Minnesota by Orfhlaith Foyle  a powerful collection short stories
  38. The China Factory by Mary Costello a debut short story collection by a major talent
I read a lot of good books in 2012.  I hope to read more in 2013.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Hope, and Death in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers:  Life, Hope and Death in A Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo  (2012, 288 pages)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers:  Life, Hope and Death in A Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo won many awards, including the National Book Award.  It is a work of non-fiction about life in a slum in Mumbai by a Pulitzer Prize winning writer from The New Yorker.   

I was totally captured by this brilliant deeply researched and shimmering work.  I really am at a loss as to how to properly praise it.   Boo spent about three years getting to know in as much depth as an outsider could some of the residents of a slum in Mumbai, I confess I prefer the name  "Bombay".

My blog has lots of very much cherished readers from Mumbai, a fact of which I am very proud.  I have read several very good novels set in Mumbai which helped me to get a small understanding of the city.  I also live in a huge subtropical Asian mega-city with teeming slums with lots of from the small villages of the country residents.  Many of the conclusions and profound observations of Boo could apply direct here.
Everyone who has posted on Boo's book says the people in the book are as well developed as those in the highest quality contemporary fiction.  I totally agree.

It is a common place in the west to look at the death rates in the slums of Asia and say something like "Oh those people do not value human life as much as we do because there are so many of them and because their religion teaches them resignation to their fates."   People who espouse right wing political views will go on to suggest the people in the slums are just lazy and have bad morals.   Liberals will give them some money.

I cannot see how anyone who reads Boo's book will every think that way again.  Among many other things it is an amazing account of how the lives of the people in the slum, what they must endure to survive, does gradually erode their capacity for empathy and moral behavior.  She lets us see the deep way in which corruption pervades Indian society and we see the total indifference of the richer people in the society to those at the bottom.

Boo follows the lives of several people in this story.   I was so happy to see what did not happen to one family I almost yelled out in joy.

In an after note Boo explains why she wrote this book and the difficulties she faced as an American who did not really speak the languages of the people she was writing about.

I thing this book is destined to become a classic work about Indian society.

Author Data

Katherine Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post. She learned to report at the alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of The Washington Monthly magazine. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. For the last decade, she has divided her time between the United States and India, the birthplace of her husband, Sunil Khilnani. This is her first book.

My Reading Life Projects

I like Reading Projects.    They are a lot of fun for me, give my blog a bit of direction (I like to keep it pretty open), and help people navigate among the now nearly 1400 posts on The Reading Life.   I began my first project only a few months after starting my blog in July 2009 and I started the biggest one ever just two weeks ago.   Once I start a project it is pretty much permanent.  It might go dormant for a while but it is still ongoing.    In this post I want, more or less so I can look back in the future to see what I was doing at this point, to go over the various reading projects I am now working on.

The Katherine Mansfield Project was my very first project.   I decided to read and post on all of the short stories of Katherine Mansfield.  There were about 85 in the collections published in her life time or by her husband after her death.  I thought I had completed this project when I posted on all these stories.  This project has given me the ability to track  which Katherine Mansfield short stories are being read and taught, all over the world by looking at my blog stats.   Yesterday there were ten hits on one of her stories from viewers in Morocco.   I also posted on a number of secondary works on Mansfield.  I thought I was basically through with this project.  I was as wrong as wrong can be.  In the fabulous new edition of The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield just published in two volumes by the University of Edinburgh there are 130 works not included in any of the standard books, including some newly discovered stories.   I will for sure read all of these items and I will post in depth on the anthology in 2013 but I am pondering if I will post on all the 130 items.  Anyway the Katherine Mansfield Project is far from over.  

The second project I started was on the first short stories written by Australian writers.  The Australian short story got its start sometimes around 1870 or so and many of the short stories were about life in the outback or as I think locals called it "The Bush".   Most of the writers were of Irish ancestry.  I wrote maybe ten posts on these stories and have not posted on this topic in quite a while.  I will be restarting it in 2013 motivated by an excellent anthology  I recently acquired of Australian horror stories, many of which are about life in the outback.    I will be using this as kind of a ground to explore how the short story form develops in a country.

I read one Elizabeth  Bowen short story and I liked it so much I decided to read as much of her fiction as i could.   I have read six or so of her novels and I think all of her short stories.  In 2013 during Irish Short Story Week Year Three I will have a mini-project in which I read and post on all of her WWII short stories. Many consider that her very best work.

I am reading through all of the fiction of Virginia Woolf.  I have three novels to go and about 20 short stories.

I have on going projects on the short stories of a few other authors and expect to start more in 2013.   These projects might take me a year or I might finish one in a week.

  1. The Short Stories if Ernest Hemingway about 700 pages
  2. The Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant-maybe 2000 pages-I have what is claimed to be a completed e book of the translated works of de Maupassant.  I do not doubt a scholar could find missing stories but it is complete enough for me. I am about half way through with this project.
  3. The Complete Stories of Eudora Welty maybe 650 pages
  4. The Collected Short Stories of Lydia Davis 700 pages
  5. The Short Stories of Desmond Hogan-I have access problems with this project as I only have about 30 of his many stories but I hope to correct this in 2013.
Once I finish some of these projects I will for sure add more.  Long term I want to read the full, as much as I have access to in my e-book collections, stories of Henry James, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev,  Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others.  

This is a big long term project in two parts.  The first challenging but possible, I think, part is to read and post on a short story by a writer from each of the 196 countries of the world.  The second and impossible part  of  this project is to persuade contemporary authors from each 196 of the  countries to permit me to publish one of their stories on The Reading Life.

The Irish Quarter is a very encompassing projects that includes novels, short stories, plays, poetry, history and whatever books I decide to read on Ireland.   I am also following a number of Irish writers and will be posting on their work.   Irish literature is a very big part of the focus of my blog and reading.   

The most viewed posts on my blog are those I have done on older short stories from the Philippines.  This project, done in conjunction with A Simple Clockwork will continue permanently.   It might get neglected for a while but it will reemerge.

I really like reading short stories from the Indian subcontinent.  The writers are wonderful and it is a tremendous learning opportunity for me.   I will try to post on this at least twice a month, sometimes more than twice a week.  

I have also began reading through the 65 short stories of Edgar Alan Poe.   Everyone gives him credit for getting the modern short story started and he is a fabulous writer so I have started reading his work.  The full collection comes to under 1000 pages.  

As I said, there will be other projects, I hope, added in 2013 and some of these projects may seem to be forgotten but once started a project is a permanent part of my blog.