I live in the wrong town. Don’t get me wrong, our cozy community is amazing – great schools, no crime, happy families, farmer’s markets. The necessities of a great community. Drive about an hour north, however, and you’re deposited into a town that feeds on intellect, literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge (not to mention great food and an adorable night life). I should live in Hanover, New Hampshire. I informed my husband last night that I was moving into a Dartmouth brownstone – I’d visit him on the weekends.
There was a wait at our favorite restaurant, so we took to the brick sidewalks and visited the shops in the heart of Dartmouth College. I dragged Nathan into the book store, with an emphasis on dragged, because he knew that once we walked through the doors, he’d be hard pressed to get me out. I took up residence in the fiction section on the upper level of the bookstore – as in I sat down, on the floor, with a stack of books that I couldn’t choose between, rifling through pages and mumbling to myself while Nate played Fruit Ninja and looked for anything related to athletics or easily recognizable summer blockbusters (“did the Bourne series start out as books, or where the books written after?”) – you see, opposites attract.
Money being what it is, I had to limit my selection. To one. (Damn you, fiscal responsibility). I realized that didn’t mean one author, so I opted for a collection (basically a zillion books in one, right? – take that, financial gods). Not to mention that short stories are my favorite. FAVORITE. While a lengthy novel consumes you for days on end, I think an effective short story is a more challenging form of art. Plots, character development, imagery, symbols, movement – it all has to be short. And captivating. And provoking. And overflowing with double meaning. And maybe even shocking. All in only a few pages. So my reading for this week? The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Edited by Joyce Carol Oates, this anthology encompasses historical father’s of American literature and relative newcomers. Nearly 900 pages of short stories. James Baldwin to Langston Hughes. Sarah Orne Jewett to Philip Roth. Paul Bowles to Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Don’t expect to hear from me for a while.