I need help.
Among my hundreds of unread books I have more than a dozen of short story collections. They’ve been gathering dust for years because I don’t have a great deal of enthusiasm for reading short stories. I have tried – several times in fact – but each time I come to the end of one of these collections I feel let down. That’s just happened with my latest attempt, a collection published by Pereine called Breach.
There are plenty of other bloggers I follow who seem to really enjoy the short form. Maybe I’m just destined never to become a member of that particular fan club. But before I abandon all my collections I thought I’d give them one last go.
I do need some advice however to help me better appreciate short stories.
My first challenge is knowing how to begin when I pick up a collection of short stories.
Do I just choose one story at random or is it best to take a more methodical approach? By that I mean, should I start with the first story and work through them in the order in which they appear?
Or is it better to begin with the titular story on the basis that this could have special significance? Maybe it was chosen because it sets the tone for the collection perhaps?
Once I’ve started reading, should I dip in and out of the collection, maybe mixing it up with another book? If I do that I’m concerned I might lose the flow and any connection between each story in terms of themes or linked characters. But if I just read one after the other will they start to blur into one?
I’m hoping those of you who are more regular readers of this form can come up with some recommendations on how to get the most out of reading the collections. All advice will be welcomed.