Booking Through Thursday: Collections


Do you prefer to read collections that are all of works by the same author or collections by different writers? Consistency or variety?

This is last week’s question, but there isn’t one for today yet, so I’m going with this one.

A collection of writing by a single author can still have variety, so I think that’s kind of a weak attempt at a follow-up question. It’s like listening to several songs on an album of music by a single artist. You don’t expect every song to sound the same, but you also don’t want each song to be so discrete that you can’t identify them as being performed by the same artist.

I do enjoy short stories, though. I don’t often read collections, but I have a tiny soft spot for collections of short stories on a single theme.

I did a capstone project in my college honors program that was a collection of short stories with common elements: someone standing on a table and shouting, a character named Anne, and so on. In the process, I read a number of collections on a theme. (Best research ever.) One was out of print but owned by my college library (Mr. Fothergill’s Plot), and another caught my eye but was not in the scope of materials I could access (The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road).

In doing all that reading, I realized that, although I prefer to write short stories because I have trouble with endings, I prefer to read longer formats. Nice, finite series are cool.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

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