Best American Short Stories 2007
Best American Short Stories 2007
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  • ISBN-13: 9780618713479
  • ISBN: 0618713476
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin



Introduction The American short story is alive and well. Do you like the sound of that? Me too. I only wish it were actually true. The art form is still alive - that I can testify to; I read hundreds of stories between December 2005 (when the first issues of '06 periodicals came out) and January 2007, and a great many of them were good stories. Some were very good. And some - you will find them in this book - seemed to touch greatness. Or so I felt, and in most cases Heidi Pitlor, my excellent coeditor, felt so too. But well? That's a different story. I came by my hundreds - which now overflow several cardboard boxes known collectively as THE STASH - in a number of different ways. A few were recommended by writers and personal friends. A few more I downloaded from the Internet. Large batches were sent to me on a regular basis by the excellent Ms. Pitlor, probably the only person in America who read more short stories than I did in 2006 (in addition to reading all those stories, The Amazing Heidi also published a novel and gave birth to twins: a productive year by anyone's standards). But I've never been content to stay on the reservation, and so I also read a great many stories in magazines I bought myself, at bookstores and newsstands in Florida and Maine, the two places where I spend most of the year. I want to begin by telling you about a typical short-story-hunting expedition at my favorite Sarasota mega-bookstore. Bear with me; there's a point to this. I go in because it's just about time for the new issues of Tin House and Zoetrope: All-Story, two Best American mainstays over the years. I don't expect a new Glimmer Train, but it wouldn't surprise me to find one. There will certainly be a new issue of The New Yorker - that's the fabled automatic - and perhaps Harper's Magazine. No need to check out Atlantic Monthly; its editors now settle for publishing their own selections of fiction once a year and criticizing everyone else's the rest of the time. Jokes about eunuchs in the bordello come to mind, but I will suppress them. (And besides, the one fiction issue that Atlantic does publish is richly represented here.) So into the bookstore I go, and what do I see first? A table filled with best-selling hardcover fiction at prices ranging from 20 to 40 percent off. James Patterson is represented, as is Danielle Steel, as is your faithful correspondent. Most of this stuff is disposable, but it's right up front, where it hits you in the eye as soon as you come in, and why? Because money talks and bullshit walks. These are the moneymakers and rent payers; these are the glamour ponies. Bullshit - in this case that would be me - walks past the bestsellers, past trade paperbacks with titles like Who Stole My Chicken?, The Get-Rich Secret, and Be a Big Cheese Now, past the mysteries, past the auto repair manuals, past the remaindered coffee-table books (looking sad and thumbed-through with their red discount priced stickers). I arrive at the Wall of Magazines, which is next door to the children's section. Over there, Story Time is in full swing. I sort of expect to hear "Once upon a time there was a poor little girl who wanted to be a pop singer," but Goldilocks is still dealing with the Three Bears rather than prepping for American Idol. At least this year. Meanwhile, I stare at the racks of magazines, and the racks of magazines stare eagerly back. Celebrities in gowns and tuxes, models in lo- rise jeans, luxy stereo equipment, talk-show hosts with can't-miss diet plans - they all scream Buy me, buy me! Take me home and I'll change [read more]

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