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The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction

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This brief edition of the most widely adopted book of its kind offers all of the editorial features of the longer book with about half the stories and writer commentaries in a shorter, less expensive format.


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This brief edition of the most widely adopted book of its kind offers all of the editorial features of the longer book with about half the stories and writer commentaries in a shorter, less expensive format.

30 review for The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lenora Good

    At almost 1800 pages, this is not a book to read in bed, unless you are a weightlifter as well as a reader, and have exceptionally strong wrists. The pages are thin, but it still weighs a ton! And that's exactly what it is—a ton of good reading. Part One of the book is a collection of short stories arranged alphabetically by author. I started them all and finished most of them. It is a great collection of stories by authors as varied as Salman Rushdie, Flannery O'Connor, and Leslie Marmon Silko. At almost 1800 pages, this is not a book to read in bed, unless you are a weightlifter as well as a reader, and have exceptionally strong wrists. The pages are thin, but it still weighs a ton! And that's exactly what it is—a ton of good reading. Part One of the book is a collection of short stories arranged alphabetically by author. I started them all and finished most of them. It is a great collection of stories by authors as varied as Salman Rushdie, Flannery O'Connor, and Leslie Marmon Silko. Part Two is a collection of commentaries by and or about the authors. I did not read all of them, but since it is my book, I shall probably go back to them in the future. This book is, I am sure, a textbook used in various colleges, and perhaps even high schools. Don't let that be off-putting. It is a marvelous collection, and if you aren't sure if you like an author, it's a good way to find out. Some authors I like better than others. We're all like that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lizgreen79

    This is a great choice for an intro to lit class. I used it for my Short Story Writing class this fall with great results. It has an excellent far-reaching selection of "canonical," "multi-cultural" and "marginal/experimental" texts and the latest edition even includes a section on graphic novels in the back. Tried and true. I also look forward to dipping into it here and there for years to come and would be happy to teach with it again. This is a great choice for an intro to lit class. I used it for my Short Story Writing class this fall with great results. It has an excellent far-reaching selection of "canonical," "multi-cultural" and "marginal/experimental" texts and the latest edition even includes a section on graphic novels in the back. Tried and true. I also look forward to dipping into it here and there for years to come and would be happy to teach with it again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Finishing this 1600-page book has been quite an accomplishment for me. Worthy of a small happy dance. I started reading the first story at the beginning of the year, and I thought I would be able to read all 113 stories in six months. I miscalculated by a few months, but I am glad I did get through the entire collection, skipping only a few stories. This textbook is intended for English majors and future writers, not for casual readers. I bought it at a library book sale because I like short sto Finishing this 1600-page book has been quite an accomplishment for me. Worthy of a small happy dance. I started reading the first story at the beginning of the year, and I thought I would be able to read all 113 stories in six months. I miscalculated by a few months, but I am glad I did get through the entire collection, skipping only a few stories. This textbook is intended for English majors and future writers, not for casual readers. I bought it at a library book sale because I like short stories. I also like that the second part of the book contains a collection of essays written by the authors whose short stories are contained in the first section. (A true bonus, in my perspective. I would have loved a text book like this.) Note to the English majors, the appendices include a history of short stories and a guide to writing about short stories. The stories are organized alphabetically by author's last name, starting with Chinua Achebe and ending with Richard Wright. I give the editor Ann Charters five stars for providing a varied compilation of works from different time periods that represent a variety of nationalities, cultures, and perspectives. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe, and "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad are probably standards in many textbooks. Kudos to Ann for including Chinua Achebe's critical analysis "An Image of Africa: Conrad's Heart of Darkness," which handled the racist content in Conrad's story. Although I wasn't a fan of every story, I appreciated the effort to gather these stories all in one place. The stories that I still think about include: Alice Adams' "The Oasis" - impressive story by an author who was new to me Woody Allen's "The Kugelmass Episode" - the main character is transported into the book Madame Bovary and has an affair Emma Bovary; it was funnier than I expected John Barth's "Lost in the Funhouse" - haunting D. H. Lawrence's "The Rocking Horse Winner" - creepy, disturbing Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" - very disturbing; the foreshadowing is there, but I was still surprised at the ending Fay Weldon's "Weekend" - captured a mother's daily internal struggle perfectly Tobias Wolff "Hunter's in the snow" - a surprise at every turn I recommend this book to English majors and short story superfans.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Martin

    I had to purchase this for my first college English class and really loved the variety of stories and authors. The class I used this text for was a huge factor in why I chose to major in English. It's a great book to have on your shelf. I find myself turning back to it all the time to reread some of my favorite stories and to get acquainted with the style of authors I'm curious about of stories that are referenced in academic articles. It's a great way for someone who is just starting out on the I had to purchase this for my first college English class and really loved the variety of stories and authors. The class I used this text for was a huge factor in why I chose to major in English. It's a great book to have on your shelf. I find myself turning back to it all the time to reread some of my favorite stories and to get acquainted with the style of authors I'm curious about of stories that are referenced in academic articles. It's a great way for someone who is just starting out on their literary journey and are not sure what they enjoy reading to get a taste of different styles in much smaller doses.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jose Antonio Moch

    Great for college students. It gives pointers from the very same writers about how to read and write short stories. Their comments about their own work or that of others is really enlightening. It is also very helpful for students since it teaches in one section how to write essays. The only thing that I didn't like (and that's the reason I didn't give it five stars), was because it doesn't include some great short story writers like O'Henry, Capote and Henry James among many others. Great for college students. It gives pointers from the very same writers about how to read and write short stories. Their comments about their own work or that of others is really enlightening. It is also very helpful for students since it teaches in one section how to write essays. The only thing that I didn't like (and that's the reason I didn't give it five stars), was because it doesn't include some great short story writers like O'Henry, Capote and Henry James among many others.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This was one of my university text books. I used it in combination with my Norton's and Fiction 100 book. This book contains Faulkner's supernatural stories, "The Rockinghorse Winner" and "A Rose For Emily". This was one of my university text books. I used it in combination with my Norton's and Fiction 100 book. This book contains Faulkner's supernatural stories, "The Rockinghorse Winner" and "A Rose For Emily".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clare Azzopardi

    a perfect book for those who want to know more about the short story ...

  8. 4 out of 5

    V.L. Cooke

    Amazing selection of classic stories

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    (Note: this review is for the ninth edition) I was in a survey of fiction class this semester that used this book and I couldn't be happier with it. I decided to buy it (rather than rent it) as soon as I noticed the cover was a drawing by Adrian Tomine. Soon enough I realized that Ann Charters managed to include five graphic stories in this anthology among all the other great pieces. This is the most exciting anthology I've seen in college and it blows Norton and Longman's out of the water in my (Note: this review is for the ninth edition) I was in a survey of fiction class this semester that used this book and I couldn't be happier with it. I decided to buy it (rather than rent it) as soon as I noticed the cover was a drawing by Adrian Tomine. Soon enough I realized that Ann Charters managed to include five graphic stories in this anthology among all the other great pieces. This is the most exciting anthology I've seen in college and it blows Norton and Longman's out of the water in my opinion. Lots got a wide range of stories, plenty of commentary works, and the best part is that the majority of the pieces in here are written by writers of fiction. There are pieces of criticism by critics but most are short and present specific arguments for discussion in the classroom. Until I find something better, I'll have this in mind for when it's my turn to teach some lit classes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Mayer

    I read Charters when I started reading up on Kerouac and his crew; it didn't dawn on me until later that she had also edited my undergraduate short story writing textbook. I ended up dropping the course but kept the book. This is one of the best anthologies out there with hardly a stinker in the bunch (over 1000 pages of stories). Some of my favorite authors and their best short stories are here: Raymond Carter, Angela Carter, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O'Connor with commentary both by these au I read Charters when I started reading up on Kerouac and his crew; it didn't dawn on me until later that she had also edited my undergraduate short story writing textbook. I ended up dropping the course but kept the book. This is one of the best anthologies out there with hardly a stinker in the bunch (over 1000 pages of stories). Some of my favorite authors and their best short stories are here: Raymond Carter, Angela Carter, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O'Connor with commentary both by these authors and on these authors. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Where are you going, where have you been?" manage to creep me out every time I read them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    kelley

    I read this book because It's been a long time since I was in school and needed a refresher course on how to write a short story. This is my son's college text book. I found it helpful and informative with just two short chapters on what elements are found in a short story. The rest of the 1069 pages of this book are short story selections and notes about the authors. I did not read the entire book. But I did read a number of the stories. It's been kind of fun reading a little story here and the I read this book because It's been a long time since I was in school and needed a refresher course on how to write a short story. This is my son's college text book. I found it helpful and informative with just two short chapters on what elements are found in a short story. The rest of the 1069 pages of this book are short story selections and notes about the authors. I did not read the entire book. But I did read a number of the stories. It's been kind of fun reading a little story here and there instead of a novel. I think I'll leave this book sitting by my chair, so when I feel like reading but don't have time to spend with a novel--I'll read another story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    In the way of textbooks this one is really incredible. It has a truly great collection of short stories, and yes, there are fewer than the full edition, but it is almost more essential as a result. They have narrowed it down to the most key and often used. Every story I have read from this so far has been really gifted writing. The supplemental materials in the book are also at times interesting. Mostly, I really just recommend the book for the quality of short stories collected herein.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This was the text for my English Literature class at BYU. Financial circumstances caused me to sell it and regret it for years. I found a different edition that is missing a few of the stories I loved, like The Catbird Seat and The Things They Carried, but it has The Yellow Wallpaper, Young Goodman Brown,and A Good Man Is Hard To Find. This is a great collection of short stories and commentary on those stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I have read many of these short stories before, but my favorite this time around was James Joyce's "The Dead." I cant believe after all these years of education, I had never read this short story before. It was amazing. I also liked the commentary at the end of the book that included critiques of works within the book, essays by authors, writing/reading advice and so much more. I have read many of these short stories before, but my favorite this time around was James Joyce's "The Dead." I cant believe after all these years of education, I had never read this short story before. It was amazing. I also liked the commentary at the end of the book that included critiques of works within the book, essays by authors, writing/reading advice and so much more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    I didn't read the book cover to cover. One rarely does in a text book situation. There are so many wonderful short stories in the book. Some I had read and some I hadn't. I especially love the profiles on each author and how they discussed a bit about their writing process and style. This is a book I'll keep instead of selling back because you'll never find so many great stories in one place! I didn't read the book cover to cover. One rarely does in a text book situation. There are so many wonderful short stories in the book. Some I had read and some I hadn't. I especially love the profiles on each author and how they discussed a bit about their writing process and style. This is a book I'll keep instead of selling back because you'll never find so many great stories in one place!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This was one of the books that I had to read for my Contemporary Literature class. This was my first experience reading contemporary short fiction and to be quite honest...I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated I would. Short fiction is definitely written for a certain audience and I'm not sure if I will continue reading short fiction after this book, but it wasn't a horrible read. This was one of the books that I had to read for my Contemporary Literature class. This was my first experience reading contemporary short fiction and to be quite honest...I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated I would. Short fiction is definitely written for a certain audience and I'm not sure if I will continue reading short fiction after this book, but it wasn't a horrible read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toshio

    Been using the newest edition of this for a class I'm TA'ing. It's one of the most comprehensive collections I've seen and the essays and criticism in the back are engaging and illuminating. But boy, it's heavy. The best thing was it was free! Too bad I spilled tamagoyaki on it... Been using the newest edition of this for a class I'm TA'ing. It's one of the most comprehensive collections I've seen and the essays and criticism in the back are engaging and illuminating. But boy, it's heavy. The best thing was it was free! Too bad I spilled tamagoyaki on it...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    I did not read all the stories as this was for school, but I enjoyed the selection of stories and authors avalible. The biggest problem I had was Ann Charters appendices which had less information than my high school text books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cherine Hakani

    It is only the story... that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. The story is our escort; without it, we are blind. Does the blind man own his escort? No, neither do we the story; rather, it is the story that owns us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maki

    My favourite book that I read in College for English class. I loved all of the short stories in this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    I used this to supplement a lecturecsrried on short fiction from the Great Courses.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Bitts

    It was my textbook. I read many stories in it, but not all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay Amari

    So many cool, and interesting stories in this anthology, some one might never cross in an average fiction rummage. There are classic tales, and new stories too, from different cultures, which might give the reader some impetus to explore how other people think and feel about the world. The type is sharp on nice white pages and there are a few "alternative" storytelling forms that add interest to the edition. So many cool, and interesting stories in this anthology, some one might never cross in an average fiction rummage. There are classic tales, and new stories too, from different cultures, which might give the reader some impetus to explore how other people think and feel about the world. The type is sharp on nice white pages and there are a few "alternative" storytelling forms that add interest to the edition.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I had the second edition when I was an English major at the University of Iowa. I don’t know how the selection of stories in the current edition compares, but I loved having the second edition in my library.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    Required textbook for a course

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I read a good chunk of this for my English class this semester. It is full of short stories and commentaries on them. I enjoyed reading some of them, some of them were fine, and I really didn't like some of them. About par for a textbook, I guess. I read a good chunk of this for my English class this semester. It is full of short stories and commentaries on them. I enjoyed reading some of them, some of them were fine, and I really didn't like some of them. About par for a textbook, I guess.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dacie

    This is a wonderful collection of short stories and writers' commentaries. We only delved into a handful during the course of my Literature class, but there are over one hundred traditional, classic, and new short stories to enjoy. This is a great book to have on hand! This is a wonderful collection of short stories and writers' commentaries. We only delved into a handful during the course of my Literature class, but there are over one hundred traditional, classic, and new short stories to enjoy. This is a great book to have on hand!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I took a short story class and even though the class wasn't amazing I really enjoy this book. I haven't read all the stories of course but I discovered a lot of great authors and have found a lot of good books threw this book I took a short story class and even though the class wasn't amazing I really enjoy this book. I haven't read all the stories of course but I discovered a lot of great authors and have found a lot of good books threw this book

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    So far, my favorites are Woody Allen's "Kugelmass Episode," Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," and Lorrie Moore's "How to Become a Writer." Allen and Moore's pieces are hilarious, and Marquez's is as brilliant as his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude." So far, my favorites are Woody Allen's "Kugelmass Episode," Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," and Lorrie Moore's "How to Become a Writer." Allen and Moore's pieces are hilarious, and Marquez's is as brilliant as his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    text for my short story writing class... it's a really good anthology, includes old guys like hemingway and faulkner and awesome female writers like margaret atwood and jhumpa lahiri, so far my new fav writer is sherwood anderson text for my short story writing class... it's a really good anthology, includes old guys like hemingway and faulkner and awesome female writers like margaret atwood and jhumpa lahiri, so far my new fav writer is sherwood anderson

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