Nobody was more delighted than me (probably) to find to out last week that Harper Perennial were taking their free short story portal, Fifty-Two Stories into a third year. With the focus in this new year being on the enigmatic single-word topic ‘ASK’, Cal Morgan has already served up the first slice of short story goodness for the year in the shape of Bar Beach Show, a story from Nigerian short story specialist, E. C. Osondu (winner of the 2009 ‘African Booker’). What a absolute treat!
Now, as much as I adore Harper Perennial’s Fifty-Two Stories portal I’m ashamed to admit that I pretty much ignored Cal’s delicious short story offerings last year (a complete contrast to 2009 when I read every single one), and that disappoints me massively. Why? Well, if it were not for this short story portal then I would never have discovered the eloquent and poetic world of Simon Van Booy, the imaginative world of Alex Burrett, or indeed the ‘punch in the guts’ world of Barb Johnson. In other words Fifty-Two Stories has been a veritable gold mine of short fiction discovery for me in the past, and I need to get myself back into the routine of excavating from it.
So to make amends for my lethargic attitude in 2010, and to make sure I don’t make the same mistake again this year, I’m designating Fridays from now on as ‘Fifty-Two Friday’; the day on which I take the time to read and review the short story served up by Cal Morgan on Fifty-Two Stories on each given week.
But that’s not all I’m going to be doing, folks. Because I missed out on all of those great story offerings last year, I’m also going to make a point of also reading and reviewing every corresponding story that was offered up at the same time during 2010.
So that means from this Friday onwards I’m going to be ‘pigging out’ on two Fifty-Two Stories offerings per week, and in doing so I hope that I can encourage some of you guys to follow my lead, and pick up one or two of these stories yourself. Fifty-Two Stories is one of the finest gifts that any publisher has ever given its readers, and we owe it to Cal Morgan et al. to show as much appreciation and support as we can. I hope you agree. See you Friday!