For someone who has never been an eager reader of short stories, I have surprisingly acquired a large number of collections. They’re all sitting on the shelves in the hope I imagine that one day I will get to understand the attraction of this form. It’s time to consider whether they deserve space on my shelves.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (and other stories) by G K Chesterton
This was published in 1922 a collection of eight connected detective stories featuring Horne Fisher (the man who knew too much) and his political journalist companion. According to what I’ve read about this book, the stories have a bit of a feel of Sherlock Holmes and offer an interesting portrait of upper-crust society in pre–World War I England.
The Verdict: Keep. Modern day crime fiction often leaves me cold but I’m quite taken by the books written in the golden age of crime .
The Book of Tiblisi : Comma Press
This is part of the Reading The City series from Comma Press, featuring ten tales written by authors from Georgia. They are all connected with the country’s capital city of Tiblisi, showing how life has changed since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union. I’ve read a few of the other books in the Reading the City series (most recently The Book of Jakarta) but having dipped into this one I’m not feeling enthused.
The Verdict: Let Go
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Few authors have made the short story form as much of her trademark as the Nobel Laureate Alice Munro. I was introduced to her work in one of my first ever book club meetings (the group no longer exists) when we read Dear Life. This is the last collection she has published. I could see the appeal, the writing had an understated style that was deceptively subtle. Though I wasn’t completely sold on her, I did buy an earlier collection: Too Much Happiness.
That was six years ago and I’ve never felt any pull to open the book in all that time. I think that’s a signal it’s time to let it go and I have the perfect new owner since my mum is very much a fan of short stories.
The Verdict: Let Go
What do you think of the decisions I’ve reached? If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear from you.