During this lovely autumn month (or at least some thirty days beginning on October 4th), I will read a short story that I’ve never before read and then publish a post about it. A different author every day. A different post each day. Or every other day.
The idea for this project emerged the way that all great ideas emerge—wholly by accident. Trying to find the words to write the SEO snippet for Consumption: September 2020 the phrase “short story month” uttered itself. This seemed apposite since I’d read George Saunders’ CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and large parts of Ted Chiang’s Exhalation during that period.
Therefore, a real “short story month.” Apparently May is short story month. But not around here.
1. Ted Chiang, “The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling” From Exhalation.
3. Johann Peter Hebel, “An Unexpected Reunion”
4. E.T.A. Hoffmann, “Don Juan”
7. James Baldwin, “Going to Meet the Man”: How a young Southern boy experiences his first lynching and the picnic it occasions.
8. William Trevor, “Beyond the Pale”
8. William Trevor, “Beyond the Pale” (zweimal)
9. Michel Tournier, “Death and the Maiden”: A quirky French girl ceaselessy approaches death, in the guises of a hanging rope, a pistol, and poisonous mushrooms.
10. T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Greasy Lake”: An amusing anecdote about some bougie college boys who get in their first fight.
11. Wolfgang Borchert, “Do Stay, Giraffe”: If there’s sense here …
12. Chiang, “Omphalos”: Using science to testify to divine grace.
12. Chiang, “Omphalos”
13. Gottfried Keller, “The Little Dance Legend”
14. Ted Chiang, “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom,” half
15. Fontane, “A Lady of My Years,” finished
11. Wolfgang Borchert, “Do Stay, Giraffe”
16. Arthur Schnitzer, “Blind Geronimo and His Brother”
17. Thomas Mann, “A Difficult Hour”
18. Julio Cortázar, “Bestiary”
19. Ingeborg Bachmann, “Everything”: This is a wonderful story. One that haunts each parent, although I suspect no parent would voluntarily identify with the narrator.
20. Franz Kafka, “The Knock at the Manor House” and “Before the Law” (this doesn’t count because I’ve read it before, numerous times)
19. Ingeborg Bachmann, “Everything”: A second read
Kafka, “A Commentary,” and “A Little Fable”: Not sure why I’m not counting these, but they seem not to fit
21. Chinua Achebe, “The Sacrificial Egg”
22. Ilsa Aisinger, “The Bound Man”: Circus stories fill me with an unease that I could hardly explain. I love La Strada, but that is a film.
23. Heinrich Böll, “The Railway Station at Zimpern”
November 1st (remember that I didn’t begin this until the 4th)
24. Alain Robbe-Grillet, “The Replacement”
25. Mercè Rodoredo, “Rain”
26. Nathalie Sarraute, “XXII”: …
27. Jean Stafford, “Children Are Bored On Sunday”
28. Yasunari Kawabata, “One Arm”: Takashi Miike would really enjoy this story.
29. Milan Kundera, “Let the Old Dead Make Room for the Young Dead”: I have read practically no Kundera, which is a faux pas in scope of the same magnitude to that of my inadequate reading of Dostoevsky (I’ve only read Crime and Punishment). It’s hard to feel bad about it, though. There are so many other things to read.
Short Story Month is officially over, as of November 5th, 2020.