But my intentions, they were so very intent! I took pics and highlighted quotes in preparation and all. ....and shall continue to pretend that I will eventually work those up into future blogposts. So in the meantime, some short notes about shorts:
i.e. recent short story kick:
Diana Athill, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse --my first fictional Athill and definitely not my last. Uneven like all short story collections, but her prose is gorgeously limpid and unpretentious and her insights no less pointed for being gentle.
Sarah Hall, The Beautiful Indifference -- pretty much maintained my 50:50 experience with SH's novels. Half the stories left me cold (like The Electric Michaelangelo), the other half (including the title story) is still haunting me (like The Carhullan Army); she is never boring.
Stella Gibbons, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm -- like pretty much every non-Cold Comfort Gibbons I've read, fun and readable enough but fairly forgettable. The title story is of course the highlight, and it's got a few genuinely LOL gems -- truer to the spirit than Conference at Cold Comfort Farm, at any rate [which I also quite enjoyed, unlike the majority of the fandom :P]
Edith Wharton, Roman Fever and Other Stories -- I love Wharton and shorts show off her strengths (stings) to best advantage.
Giles Gordon and David Hughes ed., The Minerva Book of Short Stories I and Angela Carter ed., Wayward Girls and Wicked Women both collect stories from women writers. I much preferred Angela Carter's collection, dancing around the ideas of feminine subversion from about a hundred years mid C19th-mid C20th. There are a range of styles and genres but my favourite stories were all on the witchier/fabulist side: AC's own 'The Loves of Lady Purple', Leonora Carrington's 'The Debutante', Suniti Najimoshi's 'Three Feminist Fables' and Djuna Barnes' 'The Earth'. [Also, go check out Barnes' Book of Repulsive Women if unfamiliar :D]
More shorts, a play and some poems
Richard Bean, England People Very Nice -- revisiting a play I barely sat through a few years back. Turns out? Still dreck.
Good Evening Mrs Craven, The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter Downes -- I can't help liking MPD despite her oh so cushy middle class cosiness. These were nice; her journalism offers a bit more kick.
Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party and Other Stories -- more kick still, and overall my favourite of all these collections. Read it online here.
Longer but still short stories
Julia Strachey, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding -- one of those slight but HIGHLY PORTENSHUS volumes that reinforce all my emperor's new clothes biases about literary fiction.
Firebrand, by Ankaret Wells is a frivolous romp of an adventure-romance (with airships!), set in the Brontë's deliciously lurid fantasyland of Angria. Like Wells' earlier science fantasies (Requite series), its clever, knowing games with gender and genre leave this geeky feminist at least with a helpless, utterly charmed grin on my face....
Buy it with 20% off from lulu with code SPARK until March 8th or from amazon (.com or .co.uk)