Book Review: The Best American Short Stories (2005)

Yes, I know I am 11 years late. Very typical of me really. It was fate though. After having such a difficult time writing (a whole book seems so daunting!), my husband noted that I should write short stories for a while. Get some publishing under my belt that way, rather than jumping into the pool head first. I gave it some thought, and, after glossing over the antiquated book titles in my husbands’ office – I found this little gem; The Best American Short Stories. He had never read it, didn’t know it existed, and had no idea how it got there.

It was wonderful. Truly. The stories were quite diverse. Some happy, some depressing. I smiled at the end of some, cried after one. I didn’t identify with every story, but I knew that many others could. The emotion in each story was palpable.

I finished it in record time. I read it in bed, in the bath, while feeding the baby. I couldn’t get enough of the well written snap shots of others’ life experiences. A few of the stories were so mesmerizing because, they took such an innocuous, brief moment in time, a time that most people would gloss over, and created a really meaningful, strong piece out of it.

My favorite stories in the 2005 series is “First Four Measures”by Nathaniel Bellows, and “Hart and Boot” by Tim Pratt. They both spoke to me for different reasons. I loved meeting Pearl Hart in “Hart and Boot” – she reminded me of a spunky but clever character I happen to know, and it made me smile to know that the Pearl Hart I know personally may still have her happy ending.

My birthday is this week, and I’ve asked my husband to get me some of the newer versions. My birthday wish is that the recent editions are as good as 2005.

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We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

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