Monday, September 28, 2009

Short Story Monday: "The Necklace" and a new collection

If you're at all interested in short stories, then you won't want to miss this great discussion that occurred over at Farm Lane Books a few days ago. Rob from RobAroundBooks encouraged Jackie (not a fan of short stories in general) to read "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant. He claimed the story would "touch her heart and soul". Jackie willingly obliged (it's only 8 pages long), then offered an excellent dissection of the story containing her reasons for not liking it.

There are naturally spoilers in her analysis, so take a few minutes and read the story here first. I hadn't read it since high school and was glad for the refresher. "The Necklace" is not one of my favorite stories, and Jackie's criticisms certainly have merit.

It was the discussion that really captured my attention, though. Commenters offered thoughts on what a short story is and what it should try to accomplish, as well as several suggestions for future reading. If you've got a few minutes, I encourage you to read though will be time well spent!

In other short story news...
Yesterday while browsing at Barnes & Noble (I had some free time while Twin A was at her SAT prep class), I came across The Virago Book of Ghost Stories. The cover immediately caught my eye but, on closer inspection, I found that it contained tales of the supernatural written by 34 top female authors from Elizabeth Gaskell to Angela Carter. How could I resist?

Since I recently imposed a ban on buying books that I wasn't going to start reading the same day, I did quickly read "Napoleon and the Spectre" by Charlotte Bronte. While it didn't really capture my imagination, it did fulfill my self-imposed condition of purchase. I plan on sharing stories from this collection throughout the month of October. Stay tuned...

Visit John at The Book Mine Set to see who else is talking about short stories today.


  1. There is a Guy De Maupassant short story in my Ghost Stories collection, I'll take a peek later to see what his writing is like.

    I would have had a hard time resisting that Virago collection as well!

  2. Very clever to read that story right away! :-) The collection looks most interesting. I hope you'll be sharing more of it with us!


  3. That sounds like a good book - Virago are such an excellent publisher.

    And I LOVE your goal of only buying books that you'll start reading that day. I wonder how internet purchases fare...

  4. That ghost story anthology looks marvelous! I'm off to see if my library has it. :D

  5. The Virago Book of Ghost Stories is excellent! Well, what I've read of it anyway :P I got it two years ago and only read half the stories for some reason or other. But I'm determined to finish it for this year's RIP.

  6. Genius...I couldn't help but laugh when you wrote about reading the Bronte story to remain true to the ban. I'll have to check out the Virago book as well as the short story discussion. I avoided short stories for the longest time thinking I wasn't the biggest fan either but what a world has been opened to me reading-wise since taking on Rob's shot challenge.

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  8. I have an award for you here:


  9. Hop over for an award:

  10. JoAnn, I didn't read and review this one, but there is a GdM story on my blog here:

    As promised, I read The Sisters this week.

  11. Darlene - I didn't dislike "The Necklace", but wasn't all that impressed either. I'll need to read another one or two of his stories before making any firm judgement. Will be curious to see what you think of him.

    Lezlie - I'll be sharing a story from that collection each Monday in October...stay tuned!

    Verity - This is the first Virago I've purchased, but I'm sure it won't be the last! As far as internet purchases go, I'm telling myself that they must be 'next up', but I've been good and haven't ordered in the past couple of months.

    Eva - I hope your library has it. It's a wonderful anthology!

    Nymeth - I doubt I'll read them all this year, either. This could be good for at least a couple more RIP challenges ;-)

  12. Book Psmith - The Bronte story was only 5 pages, so I really should have read at least one more. I even made myself laugh picking the shortest story in the book (but it was the first one)...such rationalization! I'm having such a good time with short stories this year!

    Kals - Aw, thanks! I'll be right over.

    Kim - Wow, two awards back-to-back! Thanks!!

    Nan - Thanks for the link. I'll check both of these posts shortly.

  13. Thanks for the link to Jackie's blog-- and who gets 76 comments on a short story post? Sheesh!

    Looking forward to hearing more about the Virago book.

  14. I'm pleased that you found my short story discussion useful. I am overwhelmed by the number of short stories that have been suggested now! I'm still not convinced I'll ever like them, but hopefully there will be one or two that grab my attention.

    I do think that Ghost Stories might be the way for me to go. That collection looks interesting, but I think I have enough to be getting on with for now!

  15. I want that ghost story book! Now that you mention it, it sounds familiar. I might have seen it somewhere... Anyway, thanks for reminding me! Lol!

  16. John Mutford - 76 comments was petty impressive for a short story - lol!

    Jackie (farmlanebooks) - That was an amazing discussion. I even had to go back and read it a second time! All the suggestions will keep you busy for quite some time.

    Madeleine - The ghost story book is great! I'll be sharing another story on Monday...just not sure which one.


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