“Bumper Crop”


Without fail it’s my favorite book club meeting each year:  “Short Story Month!”  We’ve been doing this every July now, starting with 2008.  Each of our nine members picks a short story for the members to read.  Most of them pick a ‘famous’ story that’s available in the public domain and thus on the internet, while a couple share an actual copy or copied pages from a book.  I love the variety and the change of pace from our normal meetings.  And there are always a few previously unknown gems discovered (at least by me, anyway.)

This time around, we even have a couple repeat stories.  With some member turnover since inception, a couple stories that have been picked before were picked again (well, one was a short story picked during our “Ghost Story Month” – another favorite meeting of mine), but we decided to just read them again anyway.  Some members hadn’t read them the first time, or weren’t part of the club the first time, and heck, they’re just darn good stories too.

So far, we’ve heard from all but one member (come on, Carla! 🙂 ), and here’s what we’ve got so far:

F. Scott Fitzgerald – “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz”

Kate Chopin – “A Shameful Affair”

Ernest Lawrence Thayer – “Casey at the Bat”

Jack London – “A Piece of Steak”

Rudyard Kipling – “Rikki Tikki Tavi”

Ambrose Bierce – “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

Alice Hoffman – “The Conjurer’s Handbook”

A.M. Burrage – “Smee”

I consider this a bumper crop of stories.  Yeah, yeah, I know Casey at the Bat is a poem (the member who picked that one is a chronic troublemaker…  🙂 ).  Also the member who selected An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge described it as “a dark story that keeps you hanging until the end.”  If you’ve read that story before, you may appreciate the humor in that description…  Chopin, Thayer, and Hoffman are all new authors for the club, whereas for some of the others we’ve read novels, and some are making their second appearance in Short Story Month.

What about you?  Have you read any of these stories?  Have you ever participated in a book club that read short stories (either every now and then, or exclusively)?  I’d love to hear about it…



  1. Alex said,

    June 30, 2011 at 4:25 am

    What did you chose?

    Haven’t read any and in general I don’t read many short-stories, but this year I really enjoyed a selection of Chekhov’s, selected and read by Stephen Fry.


    • Jay said,

      June 30, 2011 at 5:43 am

      Mine was the Jack London story, which I remember reading back in high school but not since.

      I love Chekov’s stories. We read The Black Monk for one of our previous short story months. It was also my picks, and is one of my all-time favorite short stories.


  2. Dale Barthauer said,

    June 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I’m curious as to how ‘Owl Creek’ will hold up on a second reading. My guess is it will.


  3. Megan said,

    July 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve read that specific Chopin story, but I love her writing. What did you think of it?


    • Jay said,

      July 7, 2011 at 5:46 am

      Hi Megan,
      I actually haven’t read it yet. (we meet the 28th of this month) I’ve read some other Chopin stories in the past and enjoyed them, though, so I’m looking forward to exploring this one.

      I’ll be posting about all of them once I’m done.



  4. JaneGS said,

    July 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I think short story month is a great book club idea! I read Diamond as Big as the Ritz forever ago when I was in a serious Fitzgerald phase, but I don’t remember much about it.

    I bought the Ambrose Bierce collection just so I could read Owl, but haven’t yet. I’ve heard it’s terrific.

    My family is into baseball, so I have read Casey many times to the kids when they were young. If you want a real treat, try to catch Garrison Keillor deliver Casey at the Bat (Road Trip), which is his parody based on the the pov of the other team. It’s wonderful–here’s a link to the text: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_case7.shtml


    • Jay said,

      July 7, 2011 at 5:50 am

      Hi Jane,
      Thanks for sharing the garrison Keillor link. I’ll pass that on to my fellow book club members.

      I haven’t read A Diamond as Big as the Ritz before, but we read Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for our first short story month. Liked it much better than the movie.

      Ambrose Bierce has become one of my favorites. He has a “nice, macabre” (?) side to his writing.



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