Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Classic Shorts: Eight Stories for Summer

I've been using DailyLit on and off for years, getting small chunks of books or poetry sent to me every morning in my email. When I'm busy I tend not to have the time for it, but as it's summer I started up a couple of books, and now I've finished one of them. Classic Shorts: Eight Stories for Summer is a collection, compiled by DailyLit, with rather a nice variety of stories. None of them are especially summery, except perhaps Kate Chopin, but they were all interesting so I suppose it doesn't matter.

The collection includes Anton Chekhov, Kate Chopin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy, and P.G. Wodehouse. I wrote about the Chekhov story, "A Doctor's Visit", here. I loved the Kate Chopin story, "A Respectable Woman". I read The Awakening about a year and a half ago, and this story reminded me of that one. I may have to read more of her short stories.

I've wanted to read "The Yellow Wallpaper" for a while, and so was glad to see it in this collection. It lived up to my expectations very well. Herman Melville's story, "Bartleby the Scrivener", was intriguing, though I found it extremely slow-going and kept waiting for the end. I probably ought to expect long-windedness from Herman Melville. I've heard of "The Pit and the Pendulum" for ages, but I've never had any idea what it was about. I've never liked Poe very much, and this story didn't draw me in immediately, though by the end of I was rather enjoying it. I liked the Tolstoy story, "Ivan the Fool". It was very much a fairy tale, and the message was one I tend to agree with. P.G. Wodehouse was, as always, funny.

It's been nice to widen my experience of short stories, and also of authors. I've read novels by Kate Chopin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and P.G. Wodehouse previously, but this was my first introduction to all the others (apart from having read Poe's poetry). It was a very good introduction.

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