Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Stories, stories, stories

I know I have been hammering on about the Sunlounger anthology quite a bit recently, but forgive me- it might be my only moment. However, more importantly,  it has highlighted that I had forgotten briefly how much I like short story anthologies. So this is about anthologies in general, and why I’m suggesting you should have some in your TBR pile.

As a form they are perfect for busy times when you really cannot afford for your brain to be wrapped up in a humdinger of a full length story. Like when summer holidays are imminent and school is at Defcon 5, or when you are plotting something of your own. It might just be me, but it is hard to lose yourself in your own thoughts when you are a slave to someone else’s. 

Anthologies are pick-up-and-put-downable. You don’t have to feel guilty about it. And let's be honest, if you don't like a story, you can just skip to the next without anyone noticing that you are cheating...

Genrewise, if you are new to a genre or want to extend your field of preferred writers, anthologies are fab for giving you a taster without the commitment to a whole book. Some writers will appeal and some might not. You cannot like everyone’s style. FACT. You’ll know not to seek their books out in future, but instead to go hunting for that author who you'd never heard of but who wowed you. 

Reading them as a collection, they bring something else to the table. I've just finished reading 21 Proms. As you can imagine all the stories were based on the theme of prom in all its guises. Reading all these stories as a batch showed how all these different writers tackled the theme in a vast variety of ways. They wrote from differing genres and with different POVs and tones. Across the book, you come to consider the choices they have made in constructing the story.

 If you write, it encourages you to try something new in your own writing. I just had a go at 2nd POV, which isn’t my norm, prompted by one of these stories. Using Sunlounger as an example, the collections shows a multitude of ideas based on women travelling. They are all so different. Some involve a love interest, some don’t; some are open ended, some complete; most are realistic, but some have a fantasy lilt. So many styles, all within the umbrella of Women’s fiction or Chciklit.

This isn’t just a one off. There have been various anthologies in my TBR lists in the few years;

21 Proms -ed. David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft
Losing It - ed. Keith Gray
Let it snow. (Three stories by three writers, to form one whole.) -John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle)
Steampunk! ed. Gavin J Grant
Naked City , Tales of Urban Fantasy – ed. Ellen Datlow
 The Curiosities -Maggie Stiefvater, Tess Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff)

If you are looking to add something different to you TBR pile, this would be my summer recommendation: Whether you are a writer or not, grab yourself an anthology, of the theme of your choice, and see the joy that a cluster of little things can bring.

Anyone got any to recommend? Please let me know through the comments box below.

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