Daily Bookshot: Another batch of short story reading goodness

The short story reading goodness just goes on and on here at RobAroundBooks, after taking receipt today of another two short story collections. The first – Lorrie Moore’s The Collected Stories (Faber ISBN 9780571239368) is one I spoke about in a recent ‘On The Radar’ post. This post was unique in that all of the books I spoke about were from the Guardian’s recommended holiday reading list, and Moore’s book was one that was particularly evangelised – “..how very funny Lorrie Moore’s stories are, and how intensely pleasurable to read. She’s one of the finest in the field, and this fat paperback is an essential collection.”

First impressions? With 38 stories crammed into its 665 pages. this looks like superb value for money. But one more thing – on the back cover is an author quote from Alison Lurie who proclaims that Moore is "the nearest thing we have to Chekhov". That’s a tough statement to live up to. But if Moore does then this book will be a sensation. I’ll let you know what I think sometime in the near future.

The second book pictured here is Harper Perennial’s recently published short story collection – Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing by Lydia Peelle (ISBN: 978-0-06-172473-2). I’ve got to admit to not knowing anything about Peelle or her stories, but the praise both for this emerging writer and this collection is certainly forthcoming:

Publishers Weekly says that Peelle ‘writes her meaty characters with vigor and packs each tale with descriptions so subtly vibrant that they warrant multiple visits’ while Ann Patchett (author of Bel Canto) claims this collection is ‘so artfully constructed that and deeply imagined they read like classics".

High praise indeed, but if further proof were needed then it should noted that one of the eight stories in this collection, Mule Killers, is the winner of an O.Henry Award, while two others have taken The Pushcart PrizeSweethearts of the Rodeo and the story from which the collection takes its name.

For those eager for a taster of Lydia Peelle, Orion Magazine have made available an audio podcast of a reading of one of the short stories in the collection, Kidding Season. What makes this reading all the more special, is that it’s read by Peelle herself. Fantastic!

Of course it’s too soon for me to pass on my opinion on either of these collections right now, but it’s great to add some more short story reading goodness to my shelves, and to my reading schedule.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Rob, I usually think I’m a pretty avid reader but find when I visit your site I am a mere tyro.

    I might argue with Alison Lurie. The nearest thing we have to Chekhov is surely William Trevor with his small stages, intense relationships but a strange quietness about his book. He has a new one out soon, Love and Summer, which will be top of my list for summer holiday reads.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Tom thank for the kind words, but to call yourself a ‘mere tyro’ is like Usain Bolt saying he can’t really run that fast. You are both an intelligent reader and an exquisite writer – a real inspiration. As such based solely on your recommendation I’ve put in an order for Trevor’s collected stories (as a starting point).

      It’s funny because before this week I’d never really heard of William Trevor either (what is it with me and my lack of knowledge when it comes to contemporary authors? :)) . Firstly Love and Summer makes the Man Booker long list (another good reason for adding it to your summer reading list eh?), and now you hold up a banner for him, as being more like Chekhov than anyone. I look forward to discovering him, and I thank you a million times again both for your compliment (undeserved), and your recommendation.