I know you. You think you don’t like to read short stories. You’re not sure why, since you haven’t ever really read a collection of short stories penned by only one author, just the various stories you were assigned in school. But you’re pretty sure you don’t like them.
I’m a huge fan of short stories. I love their compactness, their conciseness, their ability to slay you with just a sentence, a phrase, a word. If I were in charge, the New York Times would have a bestseller list just for short story collections.
I want to issue you a challenge. This summer, in addition to your usual beach read of choice — mystery, romance, biography, bestseller — mix it up a little. Make a librarian happy and try a short story collection. Specifically, try Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Birds of a Lesser Paradise.
I loved so many things about these stories. I liked that many of the tales are set here in North Carolina. Bergman is a native and it shows. She chooses just the right details to make you not only see, but feel and taste North Carolina. The overarching theme of how we relate to each other within families resonated with me, especially the stories centered on parent/child relationships. The emphasis on nature and how people experience it is also used to great effect. But what I liked best about this collection is that each one is memorable. I cannot choose a favorite. I recommend you read them all.