Tuesday, February 22, 2011

[State of the Reader] Riding the Anthology Wave

I’m fairly not used to talking about my reading habits in a sort of journal type. When I ran my review blog [though technically I still am, but it’s dying as you] I didn’t look at my reading and report what I read or any trends in my habits. However, I want to examine my reading a bit in a more personal light.

The past four months have seen me devour more short fiction than I could have imagined. I’m on a strong short fiction wave, which is evident from the review links that I posted last week. I think that the momentary satisfaction of experiencing a story in one gulp, swallow or bite is fairly personal for me. This is the defining theme I have in my relationship with food. I don’t do slow and I don’t do one thing for a long time, especially when I want to distract myself. Things from October till now are far from rosy [adapting to a new family dynamic rarely is a positive process], so the need for distraction reflected in my reading.

I’m figuring this out as I type, so I’m probably as fascinated as you are about why I’m on an anthology high.

On to the books, then.

During the weekend, I finished reading The Zombie Apocalypse edited by Stephen Jones, a UK Mammoth Book of Horror [477 p.] and enjoyed it tremendously. There is much merit in the interconnected eyewitness accounts that create a collective narrative, delivered through all the possible means to record information. I consider this a rebirth of the epistolary novel [unless the epistolary novel is alive and well, in which case long live the epistolary novel!], though in a sense it’s not a single narrative; a strength considering how the ones that survive can tell the whole story from start to finish, while here, the reader experiences the casualties.

Right now, I am enjoying The Man Who Collected Machen & Other Weird Tales by Mark Samuels, a fairly light collection published by Chomu Press. I have not sampled the author before, but I can sense that he’s going to be a favorite. I’m gradually introducing myself to the weird genre and I like it. Paul Jessup has been the first weird writer I’ve read so far, but his stories function on dream logic [Glass Coffin Girls], while Samuel submerges reality into its altered state.

In the future, I have too many to pick. I have been commissioned to review Ventriloquism by Cat Valente, so that should be fun, but I hope to manage in Hellebore & Rue [an anthology about queer spellcasters] and The Girl with no Hands & Other Stories by Angela Slatter. I do have some novels in between, so let’s see how things work out.


Charles Gramlich said...

I started our young reading a lot of short stories because of SF anthologies. I've kept it up all my life. I never go more than a few books without reading a collection of short stories. I love the form and at one time said I'd be happy just to write short stories the rest of my life. i've since found that novels can be fun to write too.

Harry Markov said...

@ Charles: I prefer shorts from the standpoint of a writer. Really, I do find them easier to write and a lot less to edit. I'm allergic to these edits [give me hell], but am pushing through somehow.