I needed to read this for a class I was taking in college. However, apart from the class, the stories were all dark, slow, and depressing. While, I can look past that I wish the character development was more complex and there would have been lots of different moods of short stories not just dark ones. I did like that it including lots of genres of short stories since thats pretty uncommon to find in one book. But, since I read a lot, I was hoping that this book would contain more short stories than ones I have read in the past, but it contained many of the same ones I had already read before. I ended up buying a different short story anthology and loving that one much better.
Over the years I've read a boatload of short stories. I can't say may judgement is always right the first time. Some stories entertain me wonderfully only to leave me dissatisfied in the aftermath. Other stories mystify or disappoint me when I first read them only to leave me thinking I've discovered on of the greatest short stories ever at some later sitting. I've read the "Best American Short Stories" over the years and for at least half of them it's a question of whether I can push myself through to the end. None of the stories in this collection is that way. They grip me from the first and leave me thinking about them long after I've finished. Some I've read when they were first released, others in collections and many I was unfamiliar with. Some of these stories have led me to seek out the author unfamiliar to me and seek out more of his work. I recommend this collection highly.
This book was required for an upper level honors class that I took in high school. I actually found that this book held my interest and contained a great deal of varying stories that really grabbed my attention. Since it is an anthology, it exposed me to a lot of literature during a single term. This book seemed to make it extremely easy to build a course around it as we read around one to three short fiction stories at a time per assignment. I would definitely recommend this book to both students and professors. The best part is that it came at a very reasonable cost.
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