When I was looking for something to read on my way out to GLBA, I blinked up at the Best American Short Stories 2007 collection for a moment. Edited by Stephen King, how could I go wrong?
But I already had two books in my hands - Neuromancer and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The latter came highly recommended here, and since three of her favorite books - The Stand, The Time Traveler's Wife, and The Handmaid's Tale - also make my own top ten list,** I passed up King's choices for The Road. I wasn't disappointed.
King's piece in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review touches upon short stories in the present day, and how it's getting harder and harder to find them, or at least to find them easily accessible when you're poking about in a bookstore. Magazines that carry great fiction have been relegated to lower and lower shelves as flashier celebrity-filled pages demand more space.
It's something to think on, for when Books That Don't Suck opens its doors. Our magazine shelves at my old store had three sections. You could probably take a look at what was displayed where to see the interests of the employees - Fangoria and Zoetrope were in places of reverence, in the top two sections, while fashion magazines and things like Teen Beat hung out on the bottom shelves.
I know a hypothetical magazine section in a hypothetical bookstore doesn't do much for the state of short fiction collections right now, but this is definitely something I'll keep in mind in future days.
And I have to go pick up a copy of the Best American Short Stories 2007, sooner rather than later.
**The other three I just haven't gotten around to yet, but I loved Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, so we'll call it three and a half.