Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fun With Dick and Jane

It was the first book I learned to read from; how many years ago? Almost 66. Sixty-six years since "See Jane. See Jane run." etc. etc. It seemed like slow progress at the time, but I know I really learned very quickly.
I've loved reading ever since and have read hundreds of books. The only kind of books I've never been overly fond of are short story collections. I never thought about why, just that I wasn't a fan.

No matter how well written the stories are, or how much I might enjoy them, I rarely pick up a collection of short stories purposely. Which is why I wasn't thrilled when I checked out Eighteen by Jan Burke - a new author I've learned to appreciate - and discovered that rather than a stand alone novel as I thought (as opposed to her Irene Kelly mystery series), it was a book of short stories. I was a bit hesitant to even read it. But what the heck, she is a good author.
I discovered that each of the eighteen stories is very good. They are quite diverse, set in different eras, with different types of characters; some mysteries, some romances, some with a thoughtful moral. I've enjoyed the book.
It was while reading it I had an epiphany: I suddenly (suddenly - after 66 years of reading) understood why I don't like to read short story collections.
I get so involved while reading that I'm 'in' the story, especially with good writing. I suffer from book hangover when I finish a novel. It takes me awhile to recover from living in one book before I can start another.
I get just as involved with short stories, but when I am reading an entire book of short stories, it is too jarring to finish one and immediately begin another. I feel disoriented.
That is why I don't like short story collections! And it only took me years and years and years to understand the reason!

1 comment:

  1. These days I also have a problem with short story collections, although as a teenager I recall really enjoying Sherlock Holmes stories, and Edgar Allen Poe. Reading was easy for me as well, as a child. I read two of the Bobbsey Twins books and also Heidi (which was difficult for a second-grader in places) while we were still living at Guss.