This blogpost requires a little clarification at the start. It was originally intended to be published in late January and it seems I missed the publish button. I can of course fix this today but some parts of the blog are out of date and I’ll add a clarification at the end.
One of my reading highlights for 2018 was We Were Strangers, a collection of short stories based on each song from Joy Division’s classic album Unknown Pleasures, Although I’d read and liked a few short story collections in the past, Alexei Sayle’s Barcelona Plates and The Dog Catcher and Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margeret Thatcher come to mind, short stories were never a continous part of the reading habits, I’m planning to change that this year. After looking at the bookshelf and piling up my short story books I think I’ve got a nice pile to start with.
Before I even start on the collection there’s one slim book which I’m very excited to read. The title, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, By Someone Who Was There, is a joy in itself. That the book was written by Jessie Greengrass only adds to my excitement. Candidate, her short story in We Were Strangers, was pretty close to my favourite pieces last year and I can’t wait to read more of her work.
Australian authors feature prominently as well with collection from Jennifer Down, Gerald Murnane, and David Malouf. Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points, winner of last year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, is another book which I’m looking forward to reading. A reading year wouldn’t be complete without a re-reading of previous years favourites and my collections from Alexei Sayle and Hilary Mantel won’t just be getting dusted off for a photo.
Crime is of course never far away for me and I’ll be dipping into Bloody Scotland, a collection of short stories from some great Tartan Noir authors, and Noirville, a collection published by Fahrenheit Press in the UK, throughout the year. Rounding off the crime reading list is a collection of short stories from Raymond Chandler.
If you’ve looked at the photo above you may have noticed I’ve slipped a non-fiction book into the pile. Ashleigh Young’s Can We Tolerate This was part of a prize pack from Giramondo Publishing which I won last year. In recent times I’ve challenged myself as a reader and essays will be part of my challenge this year. I think Can We Tolerate This will be a very good place to start.
The early March addition. I have finally finished Black Inc’s Best Summer Stories and although not all of the stories, like many things in life, spoke to me, I read them all and I hope it isn’t a one off publication.