Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA: Novellas/Short Stories

I've spent the last two days on the blogging topics, so for today's Armchair BEA, I thought I would go with the book topic for today - Novellas and Short Stories.

And now's the point when I start to laugh because I have to admit I don't tend to read short stories or novellas much.  One author I love has released two novellas to compliment one of her series, and I've read them.  I have read a couple of short story collections by various authors, but I found those to be very uneven.  Some authors get telling a good story in a shorter format.  Some just cram the conclusion into the end and it is obvious they really weren't planning to wrap it up at that point.

One author that really does get it is Steve Hockensmith.  I started reading him via his Holmes on the Range mysteries which feature cowboy brothers solving mysteries in the 1890's.  He actually first created the brothers for a short story and wrote a series of short stories around them before and during the novels.  I've read a collection of those stories and really enjoyed them.  You can read more of my thoughts at Dear Mr. Holmes.  He also has a collection of comedic Christmas crime stories that I just loved called Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime.

Of course, this is also the part where I make a confession that is bad for a mystery lover.  While there are some novels, most of the Sherlock Holmes stories are short stories.  And I've honestly read very few of them.  Likewise, I know Agatha Christie has written many short stories, but I've read very few of them.  I have them around my condo, but I seem to be drawn to currently published books, missing out on some classics of the genre I love.

Speaking of classics, I went through a time in high school when I fell in love with O. Henry's short stories.  They have such fun twists to them at times.  He's best known for "The Gift of the Magi," with good reason, but another that stands out to me was "The Ransom of Red Chief."  They could be serious or funny.  Now I've got to pull my collection out and reread a few.

I do find my attention span for short stories isn't always the best.  I can read a novel just fine, but if you tell me I am reading a short story, after 10 minutes I am itching to be done.  I have to constantly remind myself how long they really are and set my expectations accordingly.

What about you?  Any good short story authors out there?  Do you enjoy the genre, or do you tend to stick to novels?

24 comments:

  1. I have read a few short stories but not much. I find it's a hit or miss with me. I like the short nature of the stories, but then I don't get too connected with the characters and it's over before I know it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are absolutely hit or miss. However, if you are reading a story you don't like, it's over very quickly.

      Delete
  2. I flip-flop a bit on this, really. Sometimes I feel that a short story is well written and I feel a sense of completeness when I read them. Other times, I feel like I am just missing something, like the story was not supposed to be over yet. Maybe I am just weird.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or maybe it is the authors - some have the form down and others don't.

      Delete
  3. I'm not much of a short story reader, though I guess we are experiencing a resurgence in the short story's popularity. There seem to be a lot of highly praised collections out there at the moment, but i still can't get into them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read so few of them, I'm not the best person to point you in the right direction.

      Delete
  4. It's sad but I'm not much of a short story reader. I usually only write shorts when I'm in between novels. Short stories challenge me because I tend to write epics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can certainly see how it would be a challenge for the authors.

      Delete
  5. I like a good short story, however there are few authors that really master a full story in a short story format. It really takes good writing talent to create a short and satisfying story.
    AH@badassbookreviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. Just because you can write one genre doesn't mean you can write in a shorter format.

      Delete
  6. I like reading short stories, especially if I'm having trouble getting into any of my full length books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought about it in those lines, but you are right. If nothing is holding your interest, a short story might be good.

      Delete
  7. O.Henry is one I've always meant to get into. Gift of the Magi is a classic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you need to read O Henry. There is a reason he is praised for his short stories.

      Delete
  8. I certainly need to make time to pick up a short or two, especially when I am in a reading slump. I certainly can see how the attention span...funny how that works!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I can't completely explain my short story attention span issues, but it is funny to me as well.

      Delete
  9. Do you have THE MYSTERIOUS MR. QUIN by Agatha Christie? It's one of my favorites. Mr Quin reappears in a series of short stories. Very cool and atmospheric.
    Meaghan
    http://mwgerard.com/armchair-bea-2014-novellas-short-stories/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never even heard of those. I'll have to be sure to track them down. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  10. I like shorts. Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I tend to stick to novels, but when I do read short stories, I read them in thick compilations of them, not just on their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the few times I've read short stories, they were always in compilations.

      Delete
  12. I like short stories and I like Sherlock Holmes - seen movies, watch the shows- I've read exactly ONE story. The first one. I have the free collection on my Kindle, but somehow books keep getting bought and put in front of it (NO idea how that happens) and it keeps getting shuffled to the back and forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've downloaded a free collection of Holmes stories as well. I know I have a book with many if not all of the stories as well as Hound of the Baskervilles in it. I've had it since high school. But have I read it? No. As you say, it keeps getting shuffled to the back of the pack and forgotten.

      Delete