Sunday, September 6, 2009

Best American Short Stories 1997

the new issue of blueprintreview is now in the selection stage. parallel to that, i am reading the collection "The Best American Short Stories 1997" - as first selected by Kartina Kenison, and finally picked by E. Annie Proulx, who noted in the introduction:

"The process of choosing stories for this collection was simple enough: one reads, sorts, reads again, considers, sorts, scribbles, tears out hair, reads again."

which basically sums up the blueprintreview selection process, too: read, read again, sort, re-sort, read, surrender, return, read..

interesting sidenote: Proulx then adds that it was suggested to her to read the stories 'blind' (with the author's name effaced), and comes to the conclusion:
"It did not work for me. It seemed absurd that any reader charged with this task of selection would choose stories because of an author's name or reputation."

thing is, the reason i picked this story collection was exactly because of an author's name: E. Annie Proulx name on the cover. after reading her novel "Shipping News" in spring, i felt her choice of stories would be worthwile, too.

plus, i liked the way Proulx arranged the stories in a broader context, by sorting them into four categories, 'as a reminder of the rich possibilities of the story form':

Manners and Right Behaviour
Identifying the Stranger
Perceived Social Values
Rites of Passage


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