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Tuesday, May 25, 2004



One of my Russian professors, citing one of the stories on Kephart's list (Chekhov's Dama s sobachkoi, variously translated as Lady with Small Dog, Lady with Lapdog, or Lady with Pet Dog): "In two and a half pages, Chekhov said everything Tolstoy said in eight hundred pages of Anna Karenina."

So, skip Anna, read Anton, and all is well.


love the new banner!

Jerome du Bois

I love lists like these. First thing tomorrow I have to get the 2003 BASS.

Glad to see my two favorite Carvers, to which I would add only "Feathers" and his last, "The Errand," about Chekhov's death.

Another favorite: "The Prophet from Jupiter," by Tony Earley, in the 1994 BASS. His extended explanation in the back is also wonderful, and includes this little gem:

The lucky day for me as a writer came when a friend, a profoundly religious man and great lover of fresh vegetables, said, "You know, in the last days Christians won't be able to get corn." For him this was a matter of some concern. For me it was a gift. Those words, I knew, belonged in the mouth of the Prophet from Jupiter.


TPB, Esq.

Thanks, Kathleen.

Jerome, definitely, go get the Best American Short Stories. I'm committed, now, to reading three of the "Best American's" each year: the Best American Short Stories, the Best American Travel Writing, and the Best American Essays.

PJM, I like that line about Chekhov. I'd only take exception with the notion of not reading Anna Karenina. As much as I prefer the short form, that's a beautiful novel.


"The Tell-Tale Heart" is one of my least favorite stories by Poe. I always prefered "The Masque of the Red Death." I thought it was more meaningful I guess. I'm also amused Steinbeck didn't make the list. I don't have a taste for him, but I'm sure he's decent.

I still have to read Anna Karenina.

TPB, Esq.

I'm guessing Steinbeck didn't make the list because he wasn't really a short story writer. His best stuff - East of Eden and The Winter of Our Discontent - are about 800 pages and 400 pages long, respectively.

Masque of the Red Death is brilliant; I can imagine Poe sitting in NYC, where he wrote that, and thinking of the Astors and the Morgans in the nobility of Venice.


My biggest issue with Kephardt's list was also that she did not list anthology sources. The average reader to whom the list is probably geared (i.e. those who haven't read the stories on the list)probably don't have many of these stories. I know my blog audience--and it is quite diverse--but there are a good number of people I know who are just too busy to read and don't have easy access to these stories. It's a shame and it makes such lists somewhat useless. I haven't had the time to investigate, but I wonder how many of these stories could be found on-line?

TPB, Esq.

Not many, I'm guessing. Since many of these stories are recent, their copyrights are still valid. The rights issues associated with putting stories online are pretty varied (this is probably more an issue for Kevin Heller of I'm going to see if I can annotate this list, providing sources, where I can. I'd appreciate all the help I get.


I thought of Steinbeck only because I remember having to read "The Pearl," but now that I think about it, it's very possible it could have been excerpted. I don't remember, but I do recall that it was still a depressing read. The man did like to write. ;-)


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