Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Great Short Stories: Quick Reads by Great Writers (2005)

     Yet another book from the Dover Thrift Editions collection – a collection that would not be amassed were I one of those people with a Kindle, or of the mind to own a Kindle – Great Short Short Stories: Quick Reads by Great Writers amasses thirty short stories in a scant 193 pages.  Being a DTE product, I knew to expect some overlap with the other short story compilations in the DTE catalog, but at the supremely reasonable price of $3.50, that didn't really bother me.  It also dipped a little further into the ghost story and horror genres than I would have expected, but not to poor effect.
     Of the stories I read – skipping over five from previous DTE collections and one from the Edgar Allan Poe collected works – only three really popped for me: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "If I Were a Man" (1914), H.H. Munro's "The Open Window" (1914) – a story that has been done so many times since that it is remarkable how well it holds up, and Oscar Wilde's "The Sphinx Without a Secret" (1887).  The rest were in the decent to strong range, but often felt dated in their style.  I was only frustrated with Franz Kafka's "A Country Doctor" (1919) – but Kafka has long frustrated me as a reader – and Jack London's "The White Silence" (1900), which just seems like so much more of the same after a while.
     The complete list of stories is below (with those skipped in red) with the listed sources DTE used:
▸    “The Egg” by Sherwood Anderson (1921 – The Triumph of the Egg: A Book of Impressions from American Life in Tales and Poems)
▸    “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce (1909 – The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. II)
▸    “The Enchanted Bluff” by Willa Cather (1909 – Harper’s Weekly)
▸    “A Malefactor” by Anton Checkov (1918 – The Witch and Other Stories)
▸    “The Veteran” by Stephen Crane (1896 – The Little Regiment and Other Episodes of the American Civil War)
▸    “The Appiration of Mrs. Veal” by Daniel Defoe (1705)
▸    “Nobody’s Story” by Charles Dickesn (1853 – Household Words)
▸    “If I Were a Man” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1914 – Physical Culture)
▸    “Squire Petrick’s Lady” by Thomas Hardy (1891 – A Group of Noble Dames)
▸    “The Luck of Roaring Camp” by Bret Harte (1870 – The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches)
▸    “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1837 – Twice Told Tales)
▸    “A Ghost Story” by Jerome K. Jerome (1892 – The Idler)
▸    “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett (1886 – A White Heron and Other Stories)
▸    “A Country Doctor” by Franz Kafka (1919)
▸    “Wee Willie Winkie” by Rudyard Kipling (1899 – Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories)
▸    “Sanctuary” by Nella Larsen (1930 – Forum)
▸    “Second Best” by D.H. Lawrence (1914 – The Prussian Officer and Other Stories)
▸    “The White Silence” by Jack London (1900 – The Son of the Wolf: Tales of the Far North)
▸    “Germans at Meat” by Katherine Mansfield (1911 – In a German Pension)
▸    “A Piece of String” by Guy de Maupassant (1903* – The Works of Guy de Maupassant: Short Stories)
▸    “The Open Window” by H.H, Munro (Saki) (1914 – Beasts and Super-Beasts)
▸    “The Furnished Room” by O. Henry (1906 – The Four Million)
▸    “With Other Eyes” by Luigi Pirandello (1901)
▸    “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe (1846)
▸    “The Coffin-Maker” by Alexander Pushkin (1916* – The Prose Tales of Alexander Pushkin)
▸    “The Three Hermits” by Leo Tolstoy (no date)
▸    ‘The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (1875 – Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old)
▸    “The Remarkable Case of Davidson’s Eyes” by H.G. Wells (1895 – The Pall Mall Budget)
▸    “The Sphinx Without a Secret” by Oscar Wilde (1887 – The World)

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