The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter:
Angela Carter's work is always very odd and very beautiful – and her short stories are no different. Her prose is rich and velveteen, and she puts a wonderful feminist twist on traditional fairy tales. Her stories often require close reading and time for reflection, though this is an aspect of them I really enjoy; her haunting narrative lingers on your mind after every story, and I think that's what makes her a truly masterful writer of short stories. Some of my favourite stories from the collection include: The Bloody Chamber, The Erl-King and The Company of Wolves.
Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger:J.D. Salinger's relaxed yet polished writing style, combined with his ability to craft vividly alive characters and his flair for realistic dialogue, means his writing translates really well to the short story form. Within Nine Stories there are nine different casts of varied and believable characters – and it's this fantastic characterisation that makes this short story collection worth reading. Some of my favourite stories from the collection include: A Perfect Day For Bannanafish and Just Before the War With the Eskimos.
Can you tell I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman? Because I really am. Within these three collections Gaiman's remarkable artistry seems clearer than ever. To put it simply, he just has this engaging talent for transforming the most mundane elements of reality into the fantastical. (Out of the collections, Smoke and Mirrors is, perhaps, my favourite).
After the Quake by Haruki Murakami:
After the Quake consists of six short stories 'set at the time of the catastrophic 1995 Kobe earthquake, when Japan became brutally aware of the fragility of its daily existence'. Though I prefer Murakami's longer work, his short stories are still endearing, enjoyable and (as any previous Murakami reader would expect) somewhat disturbing. My favourite story from this collection is Super-frog Saves Tokyo (it's the most Murakami-ish, if you know what I mean).
That Glimpse of Truth (selected by David Miller):
This collection does not feature the work of one author, but it instead boasts '100 of the finest short stories ever written'. I've included this collection for one reason: it made me fall in love with the short story form. As you dip into these 100 tales, you're exposed to such a variety of themes, writing styles and characters – and when that happens, it's inevitable you fall in love with short stories. Like I mentioned before, there's a wonderful serendipidous edge to short story collections; needless to say, this particular collection brings unexpected delight with every new tale.
Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson:
I went through a phase of loving anything and everything written by Kate Atkinson. Her slick writing style and careful characterisation had me bewitched for years (I'll likely be under her enchantment once again when she releases another book). Not the End of the World showcases the quirkier side of Atkinson's writing as it delves into magical realism and experiments with the short story form. One thing I really love about this collection is that the stories interlink in subtle ways – which is a delight for the reader. (It also helps that the stories regularly reference Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my obsession).
The Lottery & Other Stories by Shirley Jackson:
When I read the title story of this collection I was left numb with fear – my throat became dry and my fingers fumbled to turn to the next tale. It was that good. Shirley Jackson's other short stories are also insanely well-written, and this collection is brimming with suspenseful writing and ambiguous endings. My two favourite stories in this collection are The Lottery and Flower Garden.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver:Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is strangely transfixing. The stories in this collection, though very little happens within each one, never fail to maintain the reader's attention. Carver explores the human condition throughout each story, and there's something compulsively readable about the lives of Carver's characters. Despite the situations and relationships in each story seeming gritty in their realism, the experience of reading them feels more like a fantastical trance.
“I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunken treasure.”
Libraries are wonderful places, and I can't help but feel incredibly grateful for the fact I live very close to one. Whenever I'm in a particularly lethargic mood, I'll almost always take a trip to my local library in the hope I'll come home with a heavy stack of books that can preoccupy my mind.
When I last went to the library I picked up a couple of books by Murakami; I picked up Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman as I've been meaning to read more of his short stories for a long time, as well as What I Talk About When I Talk About Running as I'm deeply interested in learning more about Murakami and his thought process. Murakami's work is so acutely profound, yet reads effortlessly, and I'm slowly making my way through everything he has written.
Following on from this, I also picked up What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver – which I've already read and highly recommend. I picked this up due to the heavy influence Carver has had on Murakami's writing, as well as Carver's artistry when it comes to the short story form.
Another book I grabbed was Under the Skin because I adored The Crimson Petal and the White (also by Michel Faber). Again, I've already read this one. This book honestly made for the weirdest reading experience I've ever had… I did love the sheer insanity of the whole thing though.
The last two books I borrowed were To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I've been meaning to read the former ever since I went to the Man Booker reading last year and I heard Joshua Ferris read the opening of this novel. In terms of the latter, I'm a huge Kazuo Ishiguro fan – I just love his writing. Despite the negative reviews this book has received (mostly due to critics not taking fantasy seriously – but that's another story), I'm still looking forward to this.
I guess this is why I've changed this blog's name. As adorable a name as Feed Me Books Now is, it's not the right name for this blog. I came up with the name when I was 13 years old, back when the tone and content of this blog were considerably different. And so I've decided to rename this corner of the internet Rustled Pages – and, at this moment, this seems entirely the right name. I can't quite explain why I love this new name, but I'll endeavour to do so. I guess, in all simplicity, this is a blog written purely because of a reader's love for books. And, for me, the rustling of a book's pages is a sound intrinsically associated with all the years I've spent devoted to reading.