Welcome to Short & Sweet, my new feature dedicated to short fiction. In my 2013 Reading Resolutions, I launched a personal project to work my way through at least nine volumes of short stories that currently reside on my nightstand. In Short & Sweet I will bring you reviews, commentary on individual stories, and other chatter related to short fiction.
Faced with a huge backlog of short stories on my TBR pile, I realized the only way I could work through them is by setting aside dedicated reading time — and why not bedtime? I have fond memories of bedtime reading as a child, and with my own children. So why not treat myself now? And so far, bedtime is proving to be ideal for reading stories. While I don’t often get through a complete story before nodding off, seldom does a story take more than a couple of nights.
The first collection I tackled was Alice Munro’s The Progress of Love. Munro writes almost exclusively short fiction, and I’ve enjoyed some of her more recent efforts (most notably Runaway, which I reviewed here). The Progress of Love was published in 1986, one could say midway through a career that is still going strong. There are eleven stories, all dealing with relationships, especially marriage. Unfortunately, none really stood out. I kept waiting for one that would take my breath away, or give me something to think about until my next bedtime reading session. No dice. Most of the stories seemed like mere retelling of events, and lacked emotional tension and impact. I can’t even muster up a proper review. Sorry!
Despite this slow and unsatisfying start, I’m ready for more! Next up is Tracy Winn’s Mrs Somebody Somebody, which comes highly recommended by several LibraryThing friends. Watch for more about this collection in the next Short & Sweet!