Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Cheerleader for the Short Story

November 16, 2008

This is my first blog entry. I retired two years ago after 40 years as a university professor of literature at California State University, Long Beach. My special interest is the short story as a literary genre. I have published five books on the short story and over 400 articles and reviews on the form. A colleague recently suggested to me that since I knew so much about the short story I might consider starting a blog. So here goes.

I have always been bothered by the fact that people would rather read novels than short stories. It seems counter-intuitive. After all, since everyone is so busy nowadays, you would think folks would prefer the short term time investment in a short story rather than the novel over the long haul. Not so. Why is that?

I think it is because that short stories are more apt to be like poems than novels. That is, short story writers choose their words carefully and construct their stories economically. The result is that readers have to work harder to read short stories than they do novels. Reading a novel just takes time. Reading a short story takes concentration and close attention to language.

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