November 2017 favorites

November 2017

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Offertory’ by Amy Hempel
  2. ‘A Summer Tragedy’ by Arna Bontemps
  3. ‘Who’s Passing For Who?’ by Langston Hughes
  4. ‘He Also Loved’ by Claude McKay
  5. ‘There Was Once’ by Margaret Atwood
  6. ‘The Cut-Glass Bowl’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  7. ‘The Cousins’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  8. ‘Until The Girl Died’ by Anne Enright
  9. ‘And/Or’ by Sterling Brown
  10. ‘Hunting The Deceitful Turkey’ by Mark Twain
  11. ‘The Jockey’ by Carson McCullers
  12. ‘Little Man’ by Michael Cunningham
  13. ‘Love Song, For A Moog Synthesizer’ by John Updike

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‘A Summer Tragedy’ by Arna Bontemps

Bontemps, Arna 1933

A Summer Tragedy by Arna Bontemps, 1933 Read the rest of this entry »


February 2015 favorites

February2015

February 2015

The February stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Death In The Woods’ by Sherwood Anderson
  2. ‘Cheap In August’ by Graham Greene
  3. ‘Debarking’ by Lorrie Moore
  4. ‘The Juniper Tree’ by Lorrie Moore
  5. ‘Flight’ by John O’Hara
  6. ‘To Build A Fire’ by Jack London
  7. ‘Harvey’s Dream’ by Stephen King
  8. ‘The Keyhole Eye’ by John Stewart Carter
  9. ‘The First Flower’ by Augusta Wallace Lyons
  10. ‘Subject To Search’ by Lorrie Moore
  11. ‘Thank You For Having Me’ by Lorrie Moore
  12. ‘Foes’ by Lorrie Moore
  13. ‘Spring In Fialta’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  14. ‘Talk To The Music’ by Arna Bontemps
  15. ‘The Contest For Aaron Gold’ by Philip Roth
  16. ‘The Old Army Game’ by George Garrett
  17. ‘Alma’ by Junot Diaz
  18. ‘Children Are Bored On Sunday’ by Jean Stafford
  19. ‘A Long Day’s Dying’ by William Eastlake
  20. ‘To The Wilderness I Wander’ by Frank Butler
  21. ‘Mammon And The Archer’ by O. Henry

‘Talk To The Music’ by Arna Bontemps

Bontemps, Arna 1971

Talk To The Music by Arna Bontemps, 1971

The magic trick:

The single paragraph describing Storyville

It is only one paragraph, but it’s a remarkable description of the Storyville part of New Orleans. It is the part of town where Mayme Dupree sings. The part of town where the blues live. The part of town where the real-world struggle of adult southern black life exists. The part of town where our young narrator, Norman, longs to grow up. One paragraph sums it up brilliantly (especially the part about desire). And that’s quite a trick on Bontemps’s part.

The selection:

The lights were coming on in Storyville as we reached the district, and there was a good bit of going and coming in the streets. Saloons were hitting it up, and in some the tinkle of glasses dissolved into a background of ragtime piano thumping. But the overall mood, as I sensed it, was grim, and furtive shadows moved along the street. Can desire be anything but sad? I wondered as the carriage pulled up beside an ornate hitching post. I jumped out and waited for Mayme to put her foot on a large square-cut steppingstone.