Ep 127; Short Stories & Are Too Many Books Published Every Year?

Welcome to the latest episode of The Readers, this week Thomas and Simon talk about short stories and whether too many books get published every year. Oh and Simon just drops into the conversation that he has read a book featuring boats AND talking horses that he loved…

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Short Stories () Simon has not always been the biggest fan of short stories, apart from those featuring Mr Sherlock Holmes, however it seems he has now got the bug and so wanted to talk to Thomas about them. They talk about collections of stories they have loved, collections they have meant to read and how some short stories can be as powerful as a 500 page novel.


Too Many Books Being Published? () Since Simon has both read for Fiction Uncovered and also since he found out how many books were published in both the UK and US in 2012 and 2013 (the number has gone up) he has been feeling that too many books get published every year. Thomas thinks the opposite, they discuss, possibly have tantrums and try and find out who is right? Whose side are you on?

Next time on the Readers () Thomas and Simon will be back in two weeks with more book based banter… or maybe it will be Simon and Gavin?

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8 thoughts on “Ep 127; Short Stories & Are Too Many Books Published Every Year?

  1. Some short story collections:
    Mark Anthony Jarman’s “My White Planet,” “19 Knives” or “Knife Party at the Hotel Europa”
    Mary Gaitskill’s “Bad Behavior”
    Michael Collin’s “The Feminists Go Swimming”
    Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
    Eden Robinson’s “Trap Lines”
    Lynn Coady’s “Play the Monster Blind”
    Ray Bradbury’s “An Illustrated Man”

    I have a tendency to carpet bomb with recommendations.

  2. This was my favourite show so far guys! I am a big fan of the short story. I love them for many reasons. One is that it’s nice to be able to finish a whole story in one sitting. Although I don’t shy away from long novels, sometimes I like how, in a short story, the writer is, sort of, forced to get to the point.
    I do tend to skip around within some collections, but I agree that reading them chronologically can give you an interesting perspective of the author’s overall world view… Especially in the case of H. P. Lovecraft. (I know he’s not for everyone, but there are a handful of real gems)
    Within short stories, particularly the “Weird Tale” continues to hold my fascination. I squeed when Thomas mentioned The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant! I LOVE that story! It’s one of my favourites and I look forward to hearing what Simon thinks of it.
    Another favourite of Maupassant’s stories worth reading is The Diary of a Madman. It is truly one of the most disturbing and haunting short stories I have ever read.
    I’ve loved Poe since grade school.. (I know, so cliche) The Tale Tell Heart being a masterpiece of a short story. Hey, it’s a classic for a reason.
    I’m thrilled that the popularity of short stories is making a bit of a comeback recently.
    I’m with Simon on the curated collections.. Not for me.
    I prefer to look at an author’s whole body of work.. or even a decent selection of greatest hits.
    Anyhoo, great episode! Thanks!

  3. A short story collection that I’d recommend is “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout. It’s a hybrid, like Simon mentioned on the podcast. Olive Kitteridge is a character in each story, but in some she’s the main character and others she’s a minor character.

  4. My final comment on Simon’s opinion about the number of books published each year is to say that Simon appears to want everyone to “publish responsibly!”

  5. I’m in the ‘more the merrier’ camp as far as publishing books are concerned. No matter how much garbage is published, I think the great books will still find their audience.

  6. I really enjoy the podcast so thank you, Simon & Thomas. Simon, I think you’d enjoy Helen Simpson’s short stories. Susan Hill mentioned HS on her blog some years ago & I’ve read several of her collections now which are terrific. If you’d like a taste, her story Festival of the Immortals (set at a literary festival) is available here,

  7. Listened to the podcast yesterday while making dinner, thinking how lovely to have so many choices…in books and life. Then this morning, comes this.
    A new word for you and all book banterers~

    n. A person’s collection of unread books.

    I like the concept of the antilibrary, mostly because it justifies my habit of incessantly acquiring new books while lacking the time to read them all. There’s something very comforting about owning stacks of books — particularly non-fiction — and having them immediately on hand, should you want to know something about (say) Hitler, inequality, cats or economics.
    —Hazel Phillips, “The Importance of the Antilibrary — Converting Unknowns Unknowns Into Known Unknowns,” Baldwin Boyle Groups, January 12, 2015
    Never too many unread books for my #AntiLibrary. #RetailTherapy #Procrastination — at Barnes & Noble 86th Street…
    —Sean Cusack, “Never too many…,” Twitter, May 12, 2014
    I wasn’t asked, but here is a sample of my antilibrary:
    —“My Antilibrary [Updated],” Purpleslog, May 2, 2008
    [A] private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.
    —Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan, Random House, April 17, 2007
    Filed Under
    books and magazines
    Some Related Words
    binge-read · shelfie · unread bestseller · Washington read · well-booked
    View the Full Entry Online
    Posted on: June 30, 2015

  8. If you like “The Lottery”, have you eve read “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin? I quite liked it. It is similar to “The Lottery”.
    I have only just started listening to podcasts and am catching up on all of yours! LOVE LOVE LOVE you guys!

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