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The Short Stories of May 2021

I’ve written a lot about The Bradbury Challenge, especially the writing side of it, but I have not written much about what I’ve read. I do get direct inspiration for a blog post from time to time.

So, today I want to look at the short stories I read last month. In later posts, I’ll look at the poems and essays from last month. If there is interest, I’ll repeat it next month.

Before I make any comments, let’s look at the list. Here are the stories I logged on May first through thirty-first in order. I read more than one short story on some days, but only the first story read entirely on that day is listed.

The Peacock’s ShadowE. Hoffman Price
Bride of the PeacockE. Hoffman Price
The Return of BalkisE. Hoffman Price
Lord of the Fourth AxisE. Hoffman Price
ReginaldSaki
The Devil’s CryptE. Hoffman Price
The Beast Jewel of MarsLeigh Brackett
Reginald on Christmas PresentsSaki
Reginald on the AcademySaki
Dragon Queen of JupiterLeigh Brackett
Two FriendsGuy de Maupassant
The Infidel’s DaughterE. Hoffman Price
Worse than DeathE. Hoffman Price
Reginald at the TheaterSaki
The Sensitive GoldfishChristina Stead
The Book of the GrotesqueSherwood Anderson
HandsSherwood Anderson
Paper PillsSherwood Anderson
The PhilosopherSherwood Anderson
Moti Guj – MutineerRudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Simon and SusannaJoel Chandler Harris
The Crow-ChildMary Mapes Dodge
GodlinessSherwood Anderson
A Man of IdeasSherwood Anderson
RespectabilitySherwood Anderson
The TinkerSherwood Anderson
TandySherwood Anderson
The Strength of GodSherwood Anderson
LonelinessSherwood Anderson
An AwakeningSherwood Anderson
“Queer”Sherwood Anderson
The short stories I read for the Bradbury Challenge in May

Pressed for time

One of the things that stands out is I can see the days I did not have a lot of reading time. The four Saki stories were all very short. I know Saki’s stories are generally brief so instead of working through his complete short stories I’ve saved them for days I’m pressed for time. The de Maupassant story, “Two Friends”, was also chosen for that reason and because it had been a long time since I read a story by the master (I’ve been a Guy De Maupassant fan since the 7th grade).

Pulp Reading

I started the month reading many E. Hoffman Price stories from before World War 2, which I had begun to do in April. I have several megapacks of his stories, purchased for less than $1. I’ve had a lot of fun reading them. I also reread my favorite Leigh Brackett story and then wrote about it. I read a second Brackett tale as well.

High School of the 1920s

Three stories, “Moti Guy – Mutineer,” “The Adventures of Simon and Susanna,” and “The Crow-Child,” were in an anthology, Modern Short Stories: A Book for High Schools from 1921. I found it looking for the first story at Project Gutenberg. It was interesting to see what was considered educational reading for high school students in the decade my grandparents were in high school.

Short Story Cycle

The last third of the month I spent reading Sherwood Anderson’s short story cycle Winesburg, Ohio. Most of the stories are short. All are fantastic character studies. I can see why this has become a classic. It inspired Ray Bradbury in the construction of The Martian Chronicles. I think it also influenced Dandelion Wine by him as well.

Lone Woman Out

“The Sensitive Goldfish” by Christina Stead was inspired by one of the essays I read, “The Forgotten Novels of Christina Stead.” I’ll touch on it more in the essays post. I found it in A Christina Stead Reader on archive.org. Unfortunately, the other selections were all excerpts from her novels. It is good to note the reader was collected and published nearly three decades after the essay. Stead had not only been remembered but had published more novels after the essay than before.

Not of this Time

Something I did not notice until I started writing these notes is age. No story on that list was written after I was born. The newest story, “Beast Jewel of Mars” was published in 1948.

Conclusions?

Except for the realization about the time frame these stories were written, I think this is a pretty representative list of my reading.


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