Category Archives: literary short stories

Author of the Week, Michael Cunningham, November 29

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 29

Michael Cunningham

(Literary, Novelist and Screenwriter)

“I revise constantly, as I go along and then again after I’ve finished a first draft. Few of my novels contain a single sentence that closely resembles the sentence I first set down. I just find that I have to keep zapping and zapping the English language until it starts to behave in some way that vaguely matches my intentions.”

“Here’s a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they’d intended to write.”

“Literature is, inescapably, an act of seduction, whether the writer hopes to seduce millions with a story of an adolescent vampire in love, or a handful of readers, who are willing to take a darker, strange, more enigmatic ride. Which involves a certain element of what I’ll call: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”

 

Michael Cunningham (born November 1952) is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. He is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. His fiction includes A Home at the End of the WorldFlesh and BloodSpecimen DaysBy Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as the collection A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Interview with Michael Cunningham at University of Iowa (20 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer for film The Hours:

 

Visit Michael Cunningham’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Cunningham/e/B00456O74U 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Bittersweet in Toni Morrison’s “Sweetness”

Tuesday’s Short Story,  November 16, 2021

Sweetness  by Toni Morrison  (2015)

I told her to call me “Sweetness” instead of “Mother” or “Mama.” It was safer … calling me “Mama” would’ve confused people. Besides, she has funny-colored eyes, crow black with a blue tint—something witchy about them, too.”

This story will grab you by the throat.  The mother is speaking about her daughter Lula Ann. We all know that how we treat a child has profound effects for a long time, and this is especially true in this story by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. The story is a force about race, parenting, and color—a bit savage too, and so incredibly honest that you will not be able to stop reading. The mother-daughter relationship going on is earth-shattering. I found the storytelling to haunt me to the point where I had to reread it. Heartbreak and redemption, bold, yep, it’s all here in full Morrison raw yet graceful style. This short fiction is a prelude to Morrison’s bestseller God Help the Child.

 

Read it here at New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/sweetness-2

 

Listen to the audio. A marvelous reading! I give it an A+.

https://youtu.be/ltKXTZTBmPs

 

 

Toni Morrison  (1931-2019) was a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, essayist, editor, and  college professor. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The critically acclaimed Song of Solomon brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Morrison was born Chloe Adelia Wofford; “Toni” is a nickname derived from Anthony her baptismal name, which she began using because people had trouble pronouncing Chloe. She wrote her college thesis on suicide in reference to the work of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. She didn’t own a television until she was in college.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Ann Cleeves, November 1

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 1

Ann Cleeves

(Mystery, Crime, and Detective Novels)

“I write like a reader, without any planning. I have to write the next scene to know where the story is going.

“I get my greatest ideas By listening to other people. That’s what I’ve missed most during the pandemic: the overheard conversations in trains or restaurants. Places often trigger ideas for books too.”

“I like really complex locations, places that hit you and strike you.   I grew up in North Devon so I know it quite well and I like that mix of cosiness – we think of Devon as having cream teas and thatched cottages.”

 

Ann Cleeves (born 1954)  is a British author of crime fiction. She has written 30 novels in 30 years, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez  dramatised as the TV detective series Vera, and the Jimmy Perez Shetland novels as the series Shetland. Her latest novel is The Heron’s Cry and it features Detective Matthew Venn. For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden.

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny

 

Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny on Writing at Politics and Prose (1 hour):

This is delightful video if you are a writer or lover of reading crime fiction. Worth the hour indulgence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Ann Cleeves Amazon Book Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Cleeves/e/B001IOF9MG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Ann Beattie’s Winter Love Affair, “Snow.”

Snow by Ann Beattie   (Vanity Fair, 1983)

Monday’s Flash Fiction,   September 13, 2021

 

 

Short, cozy, and deep, this short story holds a bright candle to spending winter in a country house with your lover. The intensity between reality and imagination is Beattie’s signature style. This is written in second person narrative (not one of my favorites), but well done in imagery and metaphor.

 

“I know that stories don’t really have conclusions. It’s only an appropriate moment for stopping.”

This is not a surprising quote by Beattie. Her stories often dangle you at the end. In Snow, the dangling leaves the reader with a sense of drama and loss. But even that is open to interpretation. Reading this 5-paragraph story a couple of times is well worth it!

Ann Beattie  is an American short story writer and novelist. She has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to that of Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She is the author of twenty-one books, including the collections What Was Mine, Follies, The State We’re In, and The Accomplished Guest, as well as the novels Chilly Scenes of Winter, Another You, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life, and A Wonderful Stroke of Luck (Viking, 2019). Beattie was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.  She lives in Maine and Key West.

 

Read the short story here at Wattsenglishclass.weebly.com:

https://wattsenglishclass.weebly.com/uploads/5/8/2/9/58298297/snowbyannbeattie.pdf

Listen to the audio  (5 minutes)

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

 

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Filed under fiction, fiction bloggers, flash fiction, free short stories, free short stories online, literary short stories, literature, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, romantic fiction, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs

Author of the Week, Anne Morrow Lindberg, July 12

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 12

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

(Aviation Pioneer, Diarist, Fiction, Nonfiction, Inspirational Author)

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”

“It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.”

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”

“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906 to 2001), an American author, aviator, and the wife of Charles Lindbergh is the author of the book, Gift from the Sea (considered required reading for every woman in modern society), a bestseller filled with raw emotions on love, happiness, solitude,  contentment, and the path to spiritual harmony. Becoming whole is a dominant theme in many of her works.

“Don’t wish me happiness
I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
It’s gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

She wrote  five volumes of diaries and letters from the years 1922-1944.  North to the Orient and Listen! the Wind, Anne Lindbergh is the author of 11 published books (including children’s books). They include Earth Shine, in which she wrote of being at Cape Kennedy for the first moon-orbiting flight and how that Apollo 8 flight and the pictures it sent back of Earth gave humankind “a new sense of Earth’s richness and beauty.”

Interview with Anne Lindbergh at NPR:

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5232208

 

Podcast by Reeve Lindbergh, Anne’s Daughter:

 

Fiction:

 

Dearly Beloved (A June wedding sets the scene as the family and guests follow the familiar marriage service. They are stirred to new insights. But for the mothers of the bride and groom, and for friends and relatives, the sight of the young couple and the words of the minister evoke more troubling thoughts and deeper questions.)

 

 

 

 

 

 The Steep Ascent (Etched in the pattern of flight over France, the Alps, Northern Italy is the story of a young couple, an English flier, and his wife, who is pregnant. One shares first the mother’s last-moment doubts and regrets as she faces last things, particularly the last evening with her five-year-old son).

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Lindbergh’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Morrow-Lindbergh/e/B001H6S0UI

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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The Dreamed Phantom

The Circular Ruins  by Jorge Luis Borges

June’s Tale of the Supernatural   June  28, 2021

What if you had a dream, and during this dreaming you actually created a man?

We are in the world of the sorcerer. He arrives at the ancient circular ruins of a god of Fire.  This sorcerer closes his eyes, sleeps, and dreams a man. He dreams a heart, the organs, and then a full bodied man. And then the sorcerer prays to the Fire god of the temple to bring this man into worldly existence. And now the sorcerer has a dream-son in the  real world.

If you are looking for a story of great artistry, mesmerizing prose, and an ending that will surely hit, this 14-minute short story by Borges is one you will not forget and may even spark you to read it again because it is that—dare I say—circular?

Read the 6-page short story here at JerryWBrown.com

https://jerrywbrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/The-Circular-Ruins-Borges-Jorge-Luis.pdf

Listen to the audio at You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpMh1oFKyfw

Jorge Luis Borges (1899—1986) believed that literature is not written by any one person, that it is written by the human spirit, collectively. Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine journalist, author, essayist, poet, and short-story writer whose works became classics of 20th-century world literature. In 1938, the year his father died, Borges suffered a severe head wound and blood poisoning, which left him near death, bereft of speech, and fearing for his sanity. This experience appears to have freed in him the deepest forces of creation. In the next eight years he produced his best fantastic stories, those later collected in Fictions.

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, fantasy, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), June 21

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June 21

Karen Blixen

(Short Stories, Nonfiction, Memorist)

“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”

“God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.”

“We must leave our mark on life while we have it in our power.”

“I start with a tingle, a kind of feeling of the story I will write. Then come the character, and they take over, they make the story.”

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.”

Karen Blixen,  1885 to 1962, was a Danish author (pen name Isak Dinesen). A baroness, a farmer, a storyteller. Blixen wrote works in Danish, French, and English and is famously known for Out of Africa, her account of living in Kenya, and one of her stories, Babette’s Feast, both of which have been adapted into highly acclaimed, Academy Award-winning motion pictures. She was considered several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Most of her readers have known her to be a woman who fought for women’s rights at a time and in a country that challenged many female liberties.

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills” is the opening lines of  Out of Africa, that romantic adventure that has become a classic in literature and motion pictures.  If you’ve never seen the film, you can stream it easily and it’s a beautiful escape into the mind and imagination of Karen Blixen. If you are a fan of short stories, this is a writer to dive into.

(Karen’s study in Denmark)

In Karen’s home in Copenhagen, garden and bird sanctuary:

Out of Africa, behind the scenes:

 

The Paris Review’s Interview of Karen Blixen, The Art of Fiction:

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4911/the-art-of-fiction-no-14-isak-dinesen

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story

by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, George Saunders, June 14

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June 14

George Saunders

( Novellas, Short Stories, Essays, and Children’s Books)

“Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the centre of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them.”

“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.”

“By honing the sentences you used to describe the world, you changed the inflection of your mind, which changed your perceptions.”

“Sometimes I think fiction exists to model the way God might think of us, if God had the time and inclination to do so.”

 

George Saunders (Born 1958)  is a New York Times best-selling American writer of short stories and eleven novels. He won the Man Booker prize in 2017 for Lincoln in the Bardo. His stories have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1992. The short story collection Tenth of December was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has taught, since 1997, in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

Interview (Late Night with Seth Myers) with George Saunders, How Stories Enter Our Minds as Memories:

 

 

 

George Saunders is a conjurer, summoning worlds by stacking sentences and paragraphs, using agile and often brutally efficient language.  An interview with Saunders at The Believer Magazine:

An Interview with George Saunders

Reviews on Amazon:

“You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something—stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King

“The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”—Mary Karr, Time.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”The Wall Street Journal

Saunder’s Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/George-Saunders/e/B000APEZ74

 

Note: You can read one of Saunder’s short stories Sticks right here at Reading Fiction Blog, featured in November 2018 (flash fiction 4-minute read):

George Saunder’s Flash Fiction “Sticks”

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

 Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors. Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

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Those Long Blue Days

On the Gulls’ Road   by Willa Cather

May’s Tale of Romance   May 29, 2021

 

 

This blog doesn’t do many love stories, but this one by Willa Cather is a romance that is worthy. The story moves with an evocative sense of place, the suspense of illicit desire, and an ending that will rush your emotions.

Our narrator, an artist, is telling a fellow painter about a portrait that  he painted of a young women named Alexandra Ebbling.

A story within a story, the artist and the woman had met on a ship crossing from Italy to New York. A romantic setting right there! The artist and Alexandra fall in love—“like old friends.”

All those long blue days when I sat beside her talking about Finmark and the sea, she must have known that I loved her.

The artist proposes that they run off together. Alexandra is married and gravely ill. She says “When I leave you day after tomorrow, I shall have given you all my life. I can’t tell you how, but it is true …  It is a wild thing that sings in us once and flies away and never comes back, and mine has flown to you.”

When they dock in New York, she gives him a box to be opened at a later date.

This is beautiful love story full of atmospheric prose, rich images, and a swirling romance.

Read it here at Cather.Unl.edu:

https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss007

 

Listen to the audio here, a lovely read aloud:

 

 

Willa Cather (1873—1947) is remembered for her depictions of pioneer life in Nebraska. She established a reputation for giving breath to the landscape of her fiction.  Inscribed on her tombstone is a quotation from My Ántonia that reflects her artistic spirit: “That is happiness, to be dissolved into something complete and great.”

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES in above tab for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

Follow or sign up to join me in reading a

short story once a month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian        

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction, fiction bloggers, free short stories, free short stories online, historical fiction, literary short stories, literature, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, romantic fiction, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs

Author of the Week, Michael Chabon, May 24

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 24

Michael Chabon

(Literary Fiction, Short Stories, Essays)

 

 

 

“Man makes plans … and God laughs.”

“When I finish a first draft, it’s always just as much of a mess as it’s always been. I still make the same mistakes every time.”

“You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.”

Michael Chabon (born 1963), American author, became a literary celebrity with his first novel, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh at the age of twenty-five.  He wrote the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning  Moonglow, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and Wonder Boys (1995; film 2000). And two collections of short stories, and one other work of non-fiction.

“Mr. Chabon is that rare thing, an intelligent lyrical writer.”The New York Times Book Review.

Wonder Boys caught me up and carried me along like some kind of flying carpet. . . . Michael Chabon keeps us wide awake and reading.”—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR

Visit his Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Chabon/e/B00456TWZY

 

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, fiction bloggers, Fiction Writing, literary short stories, literature, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs