Category Archives: Short Stories/Essays

How To Breathe Underwater

This collection of stories by Julie Orringer sounds as if it’s going to be miserable. Here we have girls — mostly teenage girls, some younger — going through a familiar collection of life’s cruelties, fears, and humiliations: displacement, addiction, illness, … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 1 Comment

Plausible Prejudices

Joseph Epstein is an essayist, short story writer, and editor who worked for years at The American Scholar and is a long-time contributor to The New Criterion, Hudson Review, and Commentary. He’s written biographies, as well as books on gossip, … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 23 Comments

The Empathy Exams

Why do so many of our favorite stories involve extreme suffering? What’s the value for us in watching others’ pain? I wonder this about myself sometimes. Jude the Obscure is, after all, among my favorite books, and I enjoy reading … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 10 Comments

A Sad Heart at the Supermarket

Over the past few years, I’ve made it a point to read as much of Randall Jarrell’s poetry criticism as I can. He was a very good poet himself (although maybe not absolutely top-tier), and he was, maybe, the most … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

Home Cooking (and a little brief introspection)

Shelf Love has been around since 2008, and until this year it was never difficult for me to post whatever I wanted to about what I was reading. Teresa and I have both always taken the view that we do … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Memoir, Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 30 Comments

Tell It to a Stranger

The short stories by ElizabethBerridge explore the many facets of suffering that come from years of war. Families are fractured, not just through death but through difference of opinion and attitude. And homes are destroyed by bombs while time and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 4 Comments

This isn’t the sort of thing that happens to someone like you

As soon as I read Teresa’s review of Jon McGregor’s book of short stories, This isn’t the sort of thing that happens to someone like you, it was on my TBR list. This is exactly the kind of thing I … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 4 Comments

Bad Feminist

In the essay, “Bad Feminist: Take Two,” Roxane Gay writes I am failing as a woman. I am failing as a feminist. To freely accept the feminist label would not be fair to good feminists. If I am, indeed, a … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 20 Comments

Black Juice

After I’ve had a bad experience with an author, it’s rare that I’ll return to read more. The world is so full of a number of things, it takes a lot of persuasion to convince me that I just read … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays, Speculative Fiction | 5 Comments

The Love of a Good Woman

I don’t know exactly what I expected from my first experience reading Alice Munro’s short stories. I knew that she’s considered a master of the form, winning the Nobel prize in 2013. But for some reason, I’d slotted her stories … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 16 Comments