Category Archives: Short Stories/Essays

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes

Mollie Panter-Downes is probably best known for her long-running “Letter from London” column in The New Yorker. But her writing also included novels, poetry, and short stories, with most of her short works also being published in The New Yorker. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 5 Comments

Tenth of December

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about short stories is the way they give authors room to play with an idea without having to fully flesh it out or offer a full-fledged plot. Sometimes just a glimpse of … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays, Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

January Essays: The Deal Me in Challenge

As I mentioned earlier this month, I decided to make my way through The Art of the Personal Essay, edited by Phillip Lopate, by participating in the Deal Me in Challenge. I’ve assigned each essayist in the book a playing … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 3 Comments

Man v Nature

The characters in these stories by Diane Cook are placed in situations where they have to consider the essentials of life and death and what lengths they’ll go to to survive—or just to obtain the thing they consider essential. For … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 2 Comments

Deal Me In Essayist Challenge

Almost a year ago, I posted about my troubles reading the excellent essay collection The Art of the Personal Essay edited by Philip Lopate. Many of the essays were enjoyable, but I was having trouble fitting them into my reading … Continue reading

Posted in Short Stories/Essays | 11 Comments

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