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 Shadow||E. Hoffman Price|
|Bride of the Peacock||E. Hoffman Price|
|The Return of Balkis||E. Hoffman Price|
|Lord of the Fourth Axis||E. Hoffman Price|
|The Devil’s Crypt||E. Hoffman Price|
|The Beast Jewel of Mars||Leigh Brackett|
|Reginald on Christmas Presents||Saki|
|Reginald on the Academy||Saki|
|Dragon Queen of Jupiter||Leigh Brackett|
|Two Friends||Guy de Maupassant|
|The Infidel’s Daughter||E. Hoffman Price|
|Worse than Death||E. Hoffman Price|
|Reginald at the Theater||Saki|
|The Sensitive Goldfish||Christina Stead|
|The Book of the Grotesque||Sherwood Anderson|
|Paper Pills||Sherwood Anderson|
|The Philosopher||Sherwood Anderson|
|Moti Guj – Mutineer||Rudyard Kipling|
|The Adventures of Simon and Susanna||Joel Chandler Harris|
|The Crow-Child||Mary Mapes Dodge|
|A Man of Ideas||Sherwood Anderson|
|The Tinker||Sherwood Anderson|
|The Strength of God||Sherwood Anderson|
|An Awakening||Sherwood Anderson|
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).
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.
Except for the realization about the time frame these stories were written, I think this is a pretty representative list of my reading.