Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Short Stories For You

Of course one of my favorite short story collections is Night Shift by Stephen King. I will say that I avoided the shorts for as long as I could. While in high school, I can remember some particularly terrible stories -- flatlined tales that never seemed to move from point A to point B with anything resembling action or tension or anything. I prefer my short stories to contain all of the elements of a long story (a book) just in a quick bite.

I won't mention the tales that turned me off as a kid, mostly because I have found at as an adult I have an appreciation for a few. But man, I still remember the bad ones. So King or not, by my senior year I was leery of anything labeled a short story. But when I found that some of my favorite movies were based on shorts (Children of the Corn and Sometimes They Come Back in particular), I had to give it a try.

Other tales you might recognize from Night Shift:

"Trucks" -- inspiration for Maximum Overdrive and later Trucks
"Night Shift" -- movie Graveyard Shift
"The Mangler" -- movie The Mangler
"The Lawnmower Man" -- movie The Lawnmower Man
"Quitters, Inc" -- part of Cats Eye
"Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road" both tie into 'Salem's Lot

Much to my then boyfriend's disappointment, I took the book on a bike trip and read the whole way there -- sorry, dude. You kind of have to expect it with readers: car rides are reading trips. And I found that the ride was the perfect time for these short creepy tales. First off, I like to read in long sittings. So a short sitting or one with interruptions suits me for short stories better than novels (which also makes them the best summer or vacation reads!). Second, King packs a punch even in the smallest stories. You can probably imagine how successful the actual bike ride was when all I really wanted was to get back to my book and the next story.

I mentioned yesterday that King is a huge fan of the short story and has been making a big effort on his own to ensure that the art stays around. If you pick up one of his collections (like this one) I think that you'll enjoy it. I can guarantee that even if you think you aren't a fan of short fiction, you will be if you find the right ones for you.

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