Discovering New Stories, New Writers, and a Computer Glitch or Two Too

Short story: Here’s a link to a great list of recommended reads: I love collected lists that tout great reads. It’s like those little handwritten shelf notes written by thoughtful people who work in really good bookstores. Only it’s online. And the best part is you can click on the link and the little blue “here” and read them instantly or not.

Longer version: A while ago I signed up for an aggregator newsletter at a site called Stumble Upon. You can tell it what you’re interested in. Then, every once in a while something that leads you on a merry chase through the never, never land of reading interesting stuff instead of marching down your to-do list pops up in your email. So today a piece entitled “14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time It Takes to Eat Lunch” showed up. I love some of these writers. I think Margaret Atwood’s short fiction is BRILLIANT, more brilliant than her novels really. And Lydia Davis and John Updike and Sandra Cisneros and Ray Bradbury. How often do those people show up in one place? And even though I’ve read some things by most of this gang of fourteen here was a list of stories I hadn’t read. And happy day, I could, or so I thought, have instant access to them.

I followed directions and clicked on the little blue “here” to read for free. And nothing happened. Then the smarmy Firefox (which I don’t ever use anymore, but some people do, apparently) showed up to say somebody’s Adobe Flash was outdated and the requested thing was being blocked. Okay.

So it’s from somewhere, this story. Stumble Upon found it, and they give credit where credit is due,  I went there and you can too. (See link above.) The same lovely blue “here” was there. I clicked and was sent to–wait for it–Google Books, where I could buy Lydia Davis’s collected stories.

I may well buy Lydia Davis’s collected stories because decades ago in a class Bob Gluck, a brilliant writer and teacher who introduced me to so many writers I didn’t know, put a Lydia Davis story in his reader for a seminar on writing experimental short fiction. And I’d forgotten about her. I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I went into the closet that’s becoming my study and dug through a few boxes I could find it. Or I could order the collected short stories online or better yet see if my favorite bookstore has it in stock.

What I can’t do, with it or any of the other thirteen stories, is click the button and read it here now. So there are some glitches in our instant gratification culture. Maybe it’s because, although Stumble Upon found this article and put it in my inbox today, it was actually written in 2014, I think. And the woman who wrote it has a blog on WordPress, but she hasn’t written anything in it since 2013. Oh dear, I hope she’s okay!

But, I digress. . . What I wanted to say is here’s a great list of short stories I’m not familiar with by readers I love. And one of my great joys in life is being introduced to new writers or different things by writers I know. So I wanted to share this with you. And I am. You have the list. Maybe you’ll be able to click and read. And, if you do, please tell me how you did it.


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