Friday, December 16, 2005

Sad Ladies Give Good Pen

Last night I finished We are the Stories We Write: The Best Short Stories by North American Women Since 1945 again for the first time. The collections spans 1946 to 1987. I can't remember where I found this book, possibly from a great trash score which netted some delightfully lame records and lots of feminist studies books, or from a bookswap. Did you give me this book?

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this anthology. I skipped the intro by editor Wendy Martin (a lesson on the opposition that women writers have faced from the day the first picked up a pen), and dove into the stories. I will read the intro, but later, on the toilet.

My favorite stories were:
Janus by Ann Beattie
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates (surprise!)
An Interest in Life by Grace Paley
Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason
The Blackguard by Mary McCarthy

I had read a few of the other stories in other collections, but I'll no doubt be unable to find the books I first read them in (stupid New York deleting my dreams of a well-appointed jhome library). I haven't read many of these women before, but their names echo through thrift store memories and other people's houses, and I feel like I should have. Each story presents a real sense of place; this book is excellent for the settings alone.

Strangely, the feeling I was left with when finishing this book was of travelling away from a dry, dusty place, where I was once loved, but now silently resented. I'm sure my current attempt to read L.A. Confidential will cut that shit short.

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