Friday, March 14, 2008

Literary snacks

On a real pedestrian level, collections of short stories, novellas and essays are great because you don't have to commit to a 300-page book. You can read a story here and there, whenever it fits into your schedule, and if you don't like one story you can quickly skip ahead to the next. On a higher level, writers often rise to greatness when they must convey their ideas in a brief span of pages. So here are a few new offerings for the reader on the go:
The Ends of the Earth: an anthology of the finest writing on the Arctic and the Antarctic, edited by Elizabeth Kolbert and Francis Spufford. The selections include the writings of explorers, scientists and novelists whose imaginations were captured by the poles. From the Antarctic exploration diaries of Shackleton and Amundsen to Elizabeth Kolbert's discussion of the effects of global warming on Shishmaref, this book offers a little something for everyone.
Sovereign Bones: new Native American writing, edited by Eric Gansworth, gathers essays from Native American poets and writers as they muse about their identities as writers and as Native Americans. They talk about how their writing reflects themselves and their culture, as well as the way they are viewed by others.
Wolf Woman Bay, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg is a collection of ten crime and mystery novellas. The authors of these gripping stories include Ed McBain, Joyce Carol Oates, Sharyn McCrumb and Carole Nelson Douglas. If you are a fan of crime fiction, you will enjoy this anthology.

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