Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Best American Short Stories 1979 - Completed


The Last Page

I need to pat myself on the back. I’m showing some progress. It only took me 71 days to complete the BASS of 1979. That is a HUGE improvement over 1978 which took me 438 days (1 year 2 months 12 days).

At this rate, there is a chance that I could finish my quest sooner than anticipated. I need to be realistic though. Work, life and the fact that I am just generally not in the mood to read sometimes will hinder my progress.

We’ll see though. I just need to keep pushing forward.

A little review of the volume as a whole.

I think I came into this collection expecting the stories to reflect JCO’s writing. This was an obvious mistake that I realized I should have recognized earlier.

I did enjoy the collection. I have this feeling that I am a dated reader though. My tastes seem to lie in the present...or for stories that have been written within the last 19 years. I often refer to this period of time as my “awakening”. I entered college in 1990, and I became aware of literature. I became aware of it as something that I could enjoy engaging in – time spent with a book- rather than something that was being forced upon me. I also feel that the environment I was in may have forced me into retreating into worlds that contemporary literature provided. My mind was expanded during my years at Norwich, and after graduation, there was a brief period where I once again found solace within pages. I then took a break of several years and it wasn’t really until the “Sundays at the Laundromat” did I fall back in love with reading and more specifically with the short story.

I felt it necessary to include the brief rundown above to qualify in some way my feelings towards writing today versus the reading I am engaged in now. Is the stuff from the 70’s stale? I think there is some of that. I think that the scores I have applied to the stories reflect those that I feel are a bit more advanced than the others which seem to exist in their time.

There is an evolution is writing. I can see it. I can read it. I have never understood the labels that have been given to them, and I don’t know if they would even apply to the period that I am reading.

But once again, this is my page and my opinions. My readings, my thoughts, my lessons being learned.

I enjoyed this volume much more than the previous. I think that the speed in which I finished (not really that fast) indicates such.

So, finally I’ll say goodbye to the 70’s. Stepping into the 80’s and all the years and changes that happened in my life are sure to find spaces on these pages.

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