Monday, February 17, 2014

A renewed appreciation for short stories

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie
Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie

A collection of new and previously published stories by one of my very favorite authors.

Favorite "new to me" story:  "The Search Engine," about a college student who loves books and her quest to find a poet

Favorite "old friend" story:  "The Approximate Size of my Favorite Tumor" about a man and woman struggling to come to terms with a medical diagnosis

Quotes that stood out to me:
I felt pale and lost, like an American explorer in the wilderness.

Corliss had never once considered the fate of library books.  She'd never wondered how many books go unread.  She loved books.  How could she not worry about the unread?  She felt like a disorganized scholar, an inconsiderate lover, an abusive mother, and a cowardly soldier.

Her mother was the unofficial historian of the urban Spokane Indians.  Corliss figured "historian" and "pathological liar" meant the same thing in all cultures and countries.

My father could sing beautifully.  I wondered if it was proper for a man to sing a healing song for himself.  I wondered if my father needed help with the song.  I hadn't sung for many years, not like that, but I joined him.  I knew this song would not bring back my father's feet.  This song would not repair my father's bladder, kidneys, longs, and heart.  This song would not prevent my father from drinking a bottle of vodka as soon as he could sit up in bed.  This song would not defeat death.  No, I thought, this song is temporary, bu right now, temporary is good enough.

This book reminded me of:
The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  There is so much heartache and love and sweet sadness and hurts so good-ness and fighting in the face of futility and the inevitable in these stories.

Also, this:

Not this:


  1. How odd that quote about unread books. It was something that I'd been thinking about too re recently reading "The war of Don Emmanuel's nether part"s after it had sat unread on my shelves for years. It must be the zeitgeist....

  2. OMG, I love a short story, and I've never read Alexie. For shame!!!

  3. It's been TOO LONG since I've read a book by Sherman Alexie. I keep thinking that one day I'll get into short stories. Maybe?

  4. Like Andi, I sit here in shame that I've never read Alexie. Seems I should.

  5. Anonymous2/17/2014

    Ugh, I can't bear short story collections. I am the worst that way! I've got this short story collection by an American Indian horror writer, and I'm hoping to trick myself into enjoying it by reading one story a night (or so), rather than a bunch of them at once. The plan is on indefinite hiatus because the first story was so upsetting and I can't stop thinking about it, and now I'm all shaking my fist at short stories even though the obvious culprit is the genre. :p

  6. Alexie is amazing. Excellent short story writing is so impressive. This Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky is another excellent collection. - Elle

    Also, ugh Johnny Depp. Remember when he thought 21 Jump Street was artistically beneath him?

  7. Yes, I need to read more Sherman Alexie. I've read only one of his and I keep meaning to read more but I haven't got around to another of his.

  8. I loved "The Search Engines". I wanted to copy out half the story in quotes.


I read every comment posted on this blog, even if it sometimes takes me a while to respond. Thank you for taking the time and effort to comment here! Unless you are spamming me, in which case, thanks for nothing.