Here’s another collection to put on your bookshelf. Jim Shepard selected these stories along with Lauren Groff and Edith Pearlman. Jim also contributes an essay on the story he admires most. Buy the volume from Amazon or Powell’s.
The short story has had its moment of glory this year with the wonderful Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. Jim, a master of the short story himself, had this to say in a Washington Post article:
“I imagine fiction writers everywhere today are celebrating the Nobel Committee having gotten it exactly right. There’s probably no one alive who’s better at the craft of the short story, or who has done more to revolutionize the use of time in that form, the result often being a 20-page story that demonstrates the breadth and scope of a novel.”
Click here to read the full article. And we’re sure that lovers of short stories are still celebrating Alice Munro’s win, and hoping the short story continues its time in the spotlight.
You should check out this “BooksbyHeart” tumblr by Joe Fassler, in which “Writers share their dearest literary quotations: lines they’ve committed to memory, taped up by their desks, tattooed on their biceps, triple-starred and underlined.”
Here is a scanned page from Jim Shepard’s teaching copy of “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” According to Joe, “Wow. It’s visually stunning, but if you squint at the notes there’s some great pearls of wisdom about the story.”
Jim Shepard, the J. Leland Miller Professor of American History, Literature, and Eloquence, presents “The Percheron in the Tunnel.” Delivered July 16, 2012, as part of the Williams Thinking lecture series
“Most of the literature about which I care passionately has a distinct ethical dimension; most — given its project of showing us how we live, in emotional and ethical terms — is concerned in some way with the issue of how to live.”
Read the rest of the interview here.
Jim is featured in the new issue of One Story magazine. This is truly a wonderful, wonderful literary publication and well worth a subscription.
Read the post about the new issue here.
Here is an excerpt from the story:
Fair and very cold. This morning, ice in our bedroom for the first time all winter, and in the kitchen, the water froze on the potatoes as soon as they were washed. Landscapes of frost on the window-panes.
With no pride and little hope and only occasional and uncertain intervals of happiness, we begin the new year. Let me at least learn to be uncomplaining and unselfish. Let me feel gratitude for what I have: some strength, some sense of purpose, some capacity for progress. Some esteem, some respect, and some affection. Yet I cannot say I am improved in any manner, unless it be preferable to be wider in sensation and experience.
My husband has since our acquisition of this farm kept a diary to help him see the year whole, and plan and space his work. In his memorandum book he numbers each field and charges to each the manure, labor, seed &c and then credits each with each crop. This way he knows what each crop and field pays from year to year. He asked me as of last spring once we lost our Nellie to keep in addition a list in a notebook of matters that might otherwise go overlooked, from tools leant out to bills outstanding. But there is no record in these dull and simple pages of the most passionate circumstances of our seasons past, no record of our emotions or fears, our greatest joys or most piercing sorrows.
Jim Shepard at Malaprop’s bookstore and cafe on Sunday, May 1, 2011.
Jim Shepard reading at Broadway books in Portland, Oregon, in May. I was there!