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Stories 146 - 151

Trying to catch up.  I've done lots of reading, just not a lot of posting.

This short batch from fairly recent issues of The New Yorker (most of these are still on the magazine's website):

146: Full Glass by John Updike (May 26, 2008 issue):  I have a very hit-or-miss relationship with John Updike stories.  This one was more of a hit.  A retired man reminisced about the times in his life when he's felt "full" and overbrimmingly attached to life on an emotional level.  It's a bit about what we remember from life when we're getting near the end.

147:  Yurt by Sarah Shun-Lein Bynum (July 21, 2008 issue).  This one is, I think, about becoming part of a community (in this case, a group of middle school teachers) and how emotionally incestuous some small communities can be, especially when someone decides to leave the community and is replaced by someone of a different temperament.

148: Thirteen Hundred Rats by T. Choraghessen Boyle (July 7-14, 2008 double issue).  If Stephen King were editing next year's "Best American Short Stories" volume, I think this would be a shoe-in.  As it is, I'm sure it'll make the short list no matter who is editing.  It's a moody rumination on how we can pull ourselves out of touch with our neighbors and not realize how bad things have gotten for them.  Really intriguing, fast moving story.

149: Deep-Holes by Alice Munro (June 10, 2008 issue).  It's another story about family dynamics, as well as being another story (like the "Carmen Elcira" story I reviewed in the previous post) that covers an entire life in vignettes.  One small event at a family picnic has few immediate but several drastic long-term effects on a family.  When I look at a page and verbally tell one of the characters what an asshole he's become, I'm pretty sure that means the story grabbed me.

150: Them Old Cowboy Songs by Annie Proulx (May 5, 2008 issue).  We know Annie Proulx writes convincingly about the American West no matter what era she's writing about.  This one is about a teenaged married couple attempting to build their own homestead in 1885, and about the community they leave behind to do it.  Be warned:  this one takes some dark and distressing turns.

* * * * *

And speaking of Mr. King, there's

151. Stationary Bike by Stephen King (read on audio cd by Ron McLarty).  I listened to this one driving between Memphis and Nashville.  Figured as a short novella, it fit the community.  As is usual for a King story, a common household object instigates some dark goings on.  In this case, King is commenting on what we will do to ourselves in the name of Health, and how quickly a hobby can become an obsession.  Health and hobbies are good things, but can be taken to the extreme.


A Story A Day Keeps Boredom Away

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