The November 2017 Newsletter asked people to make short story recommendations.

Here were the readers suggestions:

Chris: When it comes to short fiction, you’d be truly missing out if you didn’t spend time with Roald Dahl and his collections of adult short stories. I recommend picking up a “Best of…” anthology and diving into such dark delights as “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “Man from the South,” The Landlady,” and/or “Genesis and Catastrophe.” You’ll find a mix of quirky characterizations and deliciously delivered irony.

Daniel: First off I really enjoy your monthly newsletter. Like you I love to read. In fact, I’ve read over 20 books this year alone which is a record for me. I find myself reading more thrillers and mysteries these days. Having said all that. I did come across a short story/novella recently.

Dark Paradise by Catherine Lee; it’s a Detective Charlie Cooper novella. The story is about a murder that takes place on an island in Australia where they are currently filming a television reality show. I enjoyed it immensely and if you get the chance to read it I hope you and your Mrs. do as well.

Enjoy Wisconsin and the month of November. Take care.

Katrina: I liked Different Seasons, too!

Short stories: I like The Gifts of War by Margaret Drabble, the short stories of Flannery O’Connor and A Bit of Singing and Dancing by Susan Hill.

I am really liking your newsletters!

Thomas: Since I am a fan of westerns, one collection of short stories I really enjoyed was by Elmore Leonard. It’s titled “The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard” and features about 30 short stories. Leonard was an interesting writer and several of his books have made it into the movie realm. I didn’t realize that his book “Raylan” was the basis for the recent hit show “Justified”. There are several others by this author that I would like to catch up on.

By the way, thanks Graeme for repeatedly mentioning Mark Greaney. I finally started reading “The Gray Man” and am enjoying it immensely. Court seems to be the type of assassin that I have dreamed of running across.

Jane: The short story writer that comes to my mind is Flannery O’Conner . Her stories are dark, and set in the South, USA. While I can’t remember the exact story plot, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” , “Mule in the Yard”, and others come to mind. There is one in which a Bible salesman takes advantage of a lonely handicapped woman, and another takes place in a Doctor’s office Where a woman pig farmer is going on in a loud voice about how generous she is. I can’t forget the line from the unattractive intellectual says, “why don’t you shut up you ole wart hog from hell!”God what a wonderful line!

I am also fond of Faulkner’s stories in the Town, The Hamlet, The Mansion. These stories follow the Snopes family and they are memorable, well written and entertaining. They picture this southern family with humor and wisdom. I just might have to go back and reread them.

Ray: Hey Graeme,

Thanks once again for the great newsletter. I always look forward to its arrival the first

of every month. Hope your trip to Wisconsin is a good one!!

Interesting that you should have short stories as your topic this month. This seems to be my short story month, too. At the present time I’m reading “Christmas At The Mysterious Book

Shop” edited by Otto Penzler. I guess I’m getting a jump on the holidays. They are delightful, quirky little stories. Reading the fly-leaf is very interesting. It tells how the book came about.

I’m also reading “Telling Tales” edited by Nadine Gordimer. This is a book of short stories

donated by 21 renown (et al.)authors without any fee or royalty for the benefit of AIDS

research and treatment around the world. I also will be reading “Licks Of Love”, a book of short stories by John Updike, The “Poet of Prose”. (my name for him).

I think the reason I got into short stories this month was after reading the great novel, “Origin” by the genius of Dan Brown, other books I read seemed a little trite.

Carole: There are a lot of great short story collections available and although I own all of the Stephen King anthologies, my favorite is Six Scary Stories. This book is not a collection of Stephen King stories, but a set of six stories by amateur authors that were the winners of a contest in England that was judged by Mr. King. My hope is that these unknown authors will continue to produce stories of the quality represented in this book and eventually have their own spaces in Order of Books.

Norman: Here are two great authors with short story/novellas volumes:
Jim Harrison
Craig Johnson

Jim Harrison has 3 short story volumes titled :” River Swimmer”, “Brown Dog” and “The Beast God Forgot To Invent”.

Craig Johnson wrote 12 short stories titled ” Wait For Signs”…from the Walt Longmire series of stories

Dave: The Old Man And The Sea by Hemingway is #1

The Pearl by Steinbeck is #2

Both have great Screen adaptions.

Ps. Reacher has jumped the shark

Kathleen: Hi, Graeme. Re: short stories, I’m glad you recommended The Martian Chronicles; it’s a classic. You also can’t go wrong with Isaac Azimov, especially his robot stories. As a stand-along story, I recommend Mother by Philip Jose Farmer. A researcher and her son are stranded on an alien planet and captured by certain life forms for purposes of procreation. Now you’re thinking, “Philip Jose Farmer, sex — perfect!” Wrong. Read the story if you can find it, it’s great. For a collection I recommend Oliver Quade, The Human Encyclopedia by Frank Gruber. These stories were printed in Black Mask magazine and chronicle the adventures of an encyclopedia salesman and how his vast knowledge (he’s read the encyclopedia from A to Z four times) helps him solve mysteries and, sometimes, get out of trouble. Think Archie Goodwin with Nero Wolfe’s knowledge and a touch of MacGyver. Got the ebook two or three years back and it’s a lot of fun.

Maureen: This is only my third newsletter from you but I love them and always find new books I want to read. Thank you!

Apparently Craig Johnson, the author of the Longmire series, actually has many short stories available and also makes a point of adding one at least every year. However, when I ran across his work I was only aware of ONE short story “The Highwayman”.

I noticed that this series had been picked up by Netflix but thought I would rather read all the books first. When I saw there was one short story, plugged in as book # 11.5, I decided to read it first, to see if I thought I would like the series. I found “The Highwayman” to be fantastic.

“The Highwayman” introduced most of the important characters and gave us some history and a profound sense of place. The author got a lot of important information into this short piece. I knew I would love the novels after tasting this short story.

I read most of the books. “Hell is Empty” was way too dark for me, so I gave it a miss. I listened to all of them on audio. In Order! Two or three have not been recorded, so I went to the library for those, in order, of course.

I really love Craig’s writing, his descriptions of Wyoming are lyrical and I can easily imagine what he is seeing. This, I think, is the downside of turning great books into movies, no one ever hears or reads all that wonderful written work.

So, yes, I did watch the two seasons on Netflix and look forward to season three. I describe it as a fantastic series, but I consider it to be totally separate and different from the written Longmire. Both good, two different animals.

Lou: Blackford Oakes by Buckley

Zippi: Best short story? Has to be “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber. For anyone who has lived inside his/her own head – which is to say, everyone.
Thanks for the newsletter!

Lynne: I don’t read short stories. Like a good novel and getting immersed in it. Enjoyed The Whistler by John Grisham.

Suzanne: Hi and I love your Web site–very helpful to me.

This will date me, and I do not read many short stories, but my personal favorite is: “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish” by Salinger. It is the story of a doomed man who gets a brief glimpse of the magic that life can bring right before his death.. All part of the Glass Family saga, including another favorite, “Franny and Zooey”. They don’t write them like that any more, IMHO.

Joanna: Thanks for your always thought-provoking web-site.

Maeve Binchy’s books are (I believe) delightful collections of novellas connected by a common thread…generally, however, I agree with CS Lewis, who is quoted as saying “you can never get a book long enough or a cup of tea deep enough to suit me”…

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Short Story Recommendations
  • RollyPoley

    I so enjoyed the Longmire TV Show and never read the books and now I shall. When Longmire moved to Netflix, I was bereft as I do not have Netflix . I did read the TV series was ending. Bosch is on Amazon Prime which is excellent I just finished Two Kinds of Truth and it was also Bosch-excellent. Ian Rankin and Robert Crais are two of my favorites, and I eagerly await my turn at the Library for Crais’ latest. Currently reading the newest Salander book. Lagerkrantz has done an excellent job in extending the Milennium series BTW I love Agatha Christie and have the leather bound Bantam Books collection – one signed by David Suchet, but not Grafton and Parker as our fearless suggested!