Although this post comes a little late in the day, it has much to offer. In March, we at Bookhad decided to read short stories instead of a full fledged novel. Summer was upon us and we did some great reading. Some of it was famous, some we stumbled upon, and some quietly crept upon us and left us awed.
Here are some of the short stories we read. We highly recommend that you take the time to read them too. They are rich in language, high on intellect and touch the heart in one, soft, swift brush.
Poems in Prose – Oscar Wilde
In the July of 1894, six of Oscar Wilde’s poems were published by The Fortnightly Review. These poems were derived from Oscar Wilde’s oral tales. Poems in Prose is a slightly unknown piece of work, but extremely enthralling all the same. Oscar Wilde’s wit and his grasp of the language dovetail in these six poems in a beautiful fashion. You might think that reading six poems would be a task, but it comes as easy as butter on a hot pan. He moves from arousing curiosity, to questioning Him, to talking about age-old stories and meeting with the Maker. Somehow, I felt that God was an essential character in all these poems, and very unconventionally so. The prose-poems touch upon widely known but rarely admitted subjects. Be it human failings or God’s failings, we know it all, it’s just that we don’t admit. What’s interesting is that some people in our bookclub thought differently about this piece of delicious literature. So, it’s interesting to see what you come up with when you do read.
Treat yourself to Poems in Prose and see why great writing is also intelligent.
The Green Door – O’Henry
A loved writer and very popularly so. The Green Door is O’Henry’s story about a man and his attraction of adventure. The Green Door takes you to a play of life rather than a play of theatre. What starts off as an exuberant account of the protagonist’s love for the unknown ends as a revelation of the Great Design. If you’re not a believer, it comes across as a happy chance. The protagonist goes searching for a green door and he finds a woman waiting for him. What ensues and culminates is interesting to see; I won’t spell it out lest I spoil it for you.
Go through The Green Door, and see what you find for yourself.
The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen – Graham Greene
I’ve been told that people have a fixed field of vision. They only see what’s pertinent to them and only absorb what they like. Whether this is true or not is left to the reader’s discretion in The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen. A story about a young woman who is on the threshold of becoming a great writer as her publisher tells her. This story is a vivid painting of a conversation between the woman and her fiancé observed from the eyes of the narrator. There are Japanese gentlemen in the story too, but here’s the catch—do you see them? Read this laconic story about a day in the life of an observer and a day in your life too.
See The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen lend themselves to a story worth pondering upon.
The Gift of the Magi – O’Henry
Enter O’Henry, again. The Gift of the Magi is a story you’ve definitely read in school. All of us have, there’s no two ways about that. It’s just that we need reminding of it now and then. A story of two individuals who are each others’ Magi. A story of selfless love and compassion. A story of the blessing in giving and the joy of receiving. A story of Christmas when Santa just went home to rest. A story that makes you smile and feel warm inside.
Do some rekindling with The Gift of Magi.
An Unknown Romance – O’Henry
This is a personal favourite, but as it turns out it isn’t all that popular on the Web. It’s a love story. A downright, tugging-your-heartstrings, bringing-you-flowers, writhing-in-separation kind of love story with a dash of destiny added to it. There is opulence and frugality. There is consummation and separation. There is a cottage in Scotland and a palace in England. What I think trumps in the story is the picturesque narration. It’s so vivid that even after ten years of having first read it, I still remember how the story goes in my head.
Treat yourself to some love this summer with An Unknown Romance.
Araby – James Joyce
James Joyce’s collection of short stories in his book Dubliners paints vivid sketches of the life in Dublin where Joyce hails from. (I tend to refer to him in present tense, not sure why.) Araby is a story from the book Dubliners. If you’ve not read Joyce before, you might read this one twice just to see if you missed something for all the hype created about Joyce. Araby is a slice of Dublin life; it begins nowhere and ends nowhere. It’s a story about a boy and a girl who are neighbours, and about how the girl wants to visit the bazaar. Since she cannot go, the boy offers to go for her. And that’s that. The biggest take-away is that Araby doesn’t “end” as a story in conventional terms. There is no culmination. It just happened, you just read it, and life just moved on. At first, it’s difficult to comprehend this because it leaves behind a nagging thought of how it didn’t end. It takes some getting used to and when you do get used to it is when you realise the sheer genius of it all.
Read Araby for a slice of life, but be warned that you can’t see the full cake, it’s just the slice for you.
5.01 – Jo
Very few fellow writers can keep up both, a writing standard and a momentum, and this is one of them. A story that came to me out of nowhere and stayed. Here’s why I’d recommend you to read it, because it treats you to good narration and makes you think at the end. That’s what most stories should do I guess.
Read 5.01 to see why all hope with this generation of writers is not lost.
Finally, for everyone who loves books and reading, here’s a treat from us at Bookhad. A thoroughly entertaining and captivating video.
We sign off with The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore!
Happy Reading! 🙂
- “A Little Cloud” – James Joyce (biblioklept.org)
- More than Paper and Ink (everydayfamily.com)
- Short Stories – a brief examination (thepunchylands.wordpress.com)