1:09pm

Wed May 18, 2011
Monkey See

Celebrating National Short Story Month: A Few (Short) Clips From The Archives

May is National Short Story Month — don't worry if you forgot; it is impossible to remember all of our self-imposed celebrations (for example, today is the official Do The Dishes Day...but you can conveniently forget that now). But now you know!

Short stories are one of fiction's most vital and necessary exports, though often they are not read with the frequency or fervor of longer novels. Stories are seen as gateway writing: get a story published in a venerable literary magazine, get a book deal. Publish a debut book of short stories, and a novel may not be far away. Many readers (and writers) still see novels as the great accomplishment, with stories as an appetizer. And no one will doubt that The Great Gatsby is a superior work of art to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Fitzgerald's primary gift to the world. But I'd still take one Fitzgerald short story over several other authors' full-length books to an island.

As people start to want shorter, more digestible bits of fiction delivered to their iPhones and Kindles, the short story may actually be making cultural headway in a new way. And those writers who have spent their lives devoted to the short form — to crafting moments filled with dramatic tension that have high-stakes and end swiftly — are poised to experience a kind of revival (or at least a girl can dream they are). With iPhone apps like Storyville and concepts like the Library of America's "Story of the Week" or the New Yorker's short fiction podcast, old stories are slowly becoming new again.

We decided, in honor of the month, to dig up some of our favorite NPR interviews with and pieces on writers of the short form. In some of these cases, the authors are discussing their longer work, but we've provided suggestions for story collections to check out should you be inspired to celebrate NSSM right along with us. Enjoy!

1) Lorrie Moore

Collection suggestions: Self-Help, Birds of America, Like Life

2) Tobias Wolff

Collection suggestion: Our Story Begins

3) John Updike

Collection suggestions: The Early Stories, My Father's Tears and Other Stories

4) Alice Munro

Collection suggestions: Too Much Happiness, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

5) Lydia Davis

Collection suggestion: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

6) Deborah Eisenberg

Collection suggestion: The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg

7) William Trevor

Collection suggestions: Selected Stories, After Rain

8) Mavis Gallant

Collection suggestions: Paris Stories, The Cost of Living

9) Aimee Bender

Collection suggestion: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

10) Mary Gaitskill

Collection suggestions: Don't Cry, Bad Behavior

11) Jhumpa Lahiri

Collection suggestions: The Interpreter of Maladies

12) Nam Le

Collection Suggestion: The Boat

13) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Collection suggestion: The Thing Around Your Neck

14) Junot Diaz

Collection suggestion: Drown

15) Flannery O'Connor

Collection suggestion: Everything That Rises Must Converge Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.