Have I ever been this excited about a reading challenge? No, I have not. I have the longest of lists of short stories that I want to read by a bunch of Classic and Modern Classic writers and this challenge is going to force them higher up my reading list. From Edgar Allen Poe to Shirley Jackson to John Keats to Yūko Tsushima… I could go on and on. I want to read them all. Insert excited squee here. The aim is to read 52 short stories in 52 weeks and I kinda want to beat that number but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself just yet.
1. Cockcrow by Guy de Maupassant
If there was ever a big euphemism for sex in fiction it would be this short story.
2. Femme Fatale by Guy de Maupassant
How the poor and fragile male can’t handle female sexuality.
3. Hautot & Son by Guy de Maupassant
This one left me a little unsettled – not because anything untoward or bad happened. But the circumstances and the allusions Maupassant makes. A son carrying on in his fathers footsteps.
4. Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
I was definitely not prepared for just how chilling this short story would be. It was cold and ruthless. I loved it.
5. Scheherazade by Haruki Murakami
Murakami never fails to leave me in a state of confusion with about 50 questions spinning around in my head. This short story was no exception. There’s no real conclusion to this one but as ever Murakami does an excellent job of intertwining reality and fantasy and blurring the line between the two.
6. Kino by Haruki Murakami
I absolutely loved this. This was the type of story that made me fall in love with Murakami’s writing to begin with. The true meat of the story exists between the lines, and is one about the discovery of one’s self and understanding that only you can change your life. Delicately tinged with the supernatural, Murakami never fails to weave an interesting tale that leaves you wanting more.
7. The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson
I’m not sure I can even really put my thoughts into words for this one but I loved it. Evil can exist in the most mundane of situations and behind the most gentlest of smiles. Shirley Jackson has the excellent ability of highlighting just that.
8. A Death by Stephen King
I was expecting a great King-esque twist and I kinda didn’t get one. This fell a little short for me but I guess it was a more aubtle approach that King was going for.
9. Hunting Knife by Haruki Murakami
This short story tells the tale of a late-night meeting between two tourists, one of whom connects with the other by sharing a large, ornamental knife. This is probably the most straight-forward Murakami story I have read thus far, and also my least favourite.
10. While the Women are Sleeping by Javier Marias
A beautiful story exploring the difference between love and adoration/obsession. A man obsessively films his beautiful young girlfriend every day on the beach, while she preens in the mirror, so that in the event of her death he will have her last days on film.
11. Animals by Jen Campbell
This is most probably the strangest and most unsettling short story I have ever read. Set in a world where using animal hearts for transplant is commonplace, a man experiments on his wife, performing transplants with animal hearts. Highlights the issue of a woman’s right (or lack thereof) to choose what she does with her own body.
12. Jacob by Jen Campbell
A very forgettable story and after reading “Animals” this one just fell flat on its face. A boy named Jacob writes to a local weather woman asking her questions and talks about his sister. Yada yada yawn.
13. Plum Pie.Zombie Green.Yellow Bee.Purple Monster.” by Jen Campbell
This one was very odd and was the last one I bothered trying to read from this collection. I’m still not 100% sure what exactly was going on???? It is the story of a summer camp a group of kids go to where they grow plants in/on their body. Yeah, I don’t get it either.