Book of the Week #2

Leah, New Hampshire: The Collected Stories of Thomas Williams, introduction by John Irving. (NY: William Morrow, 1992)

Thomas Williams taught at UNH for most of his career and published 8 novels in his lifetime. This collection of his short stories was published posthumously. Novelist Ann Joslin Williams is his daughter. (This makes 2 father daughter book-of-the-week pairs to-date.)

In this excerpt, the author tells us about the place where these stories occur:

"Leah is an imaginary town in the State of New Hampshire, a state that can be cruel, especially to its poor, or sick, or old. In its public, or collective stance, it can ast as a skinflint and a buffoon among its neighbors. Its people, however, like most Americans, can be decent and generous if, for a moment, they forget dogma, forget 'conservatism,' and sanctimony, and the myths of an imaginary history. ... Right now, at one o'clock in the afternoon, I see the mountain, the lake, the wild brook in the woods, the October light that is nearly level as it crosses the valley. The famous colors have gone, and the old golden ones are going. Then, in a week or so, the hills will be the color of gray branches tinges by purplish winter buds, wiht green-black pyramids here and there meaning spruce or white pine, balsam fir or hemlock. The names of the trees are still known in Leah. In the fall the deer are the color of the spaces between the trees." (from the Author's Note)

I selected a short story collection this week because Ann, at Books on the Nightstand (BOTN), has declared 2013 to be the "Year of the Short Story." (I love that book bloggers have that level of authority in the world!) During the year BOTN will be having a read-along of a short story each month; posting a weekly roundup of the stories they are reading (Ann has challenged herself to read a short story every day); and doing monthly features on publications that feature short fiction. If you love short stories, or if you feel like it is an area where you would like to expand your reading, this project is a great place to connect with other readers. I am planning to try and keep up with the monthly read-alongs. I don't often read short stories, but it is a great literary form that I want to read more of.

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