Monday, December 21, 2009

Story Collections Poised for Comeback?

Our friends at Publisher's Marketplace, who like to track such things, have an update on the growing popularity of short-story anthologies. Though such collections traditionally sell poorly, 2009 enjoyed a variety of critically acclaimed anthology releases.

For starters, Entertainment Weekly recently picked Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders as their top work of fiction for the year. And New York Magazine's list of top-ten picks (below) puts Lydia Davis's collection on top.

On PM's own compilation list, pulling together over twenty of the best of the Best of 2009 lists, four of the top 10 fiction titles are story collections. Drawing on the additional lists published since PM's tabulation, Daniyal Mueenuddin moved into a tie for third place; Lydia Davis's The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, took sole possession of fourth place; Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness, remained in the top 10, and Wells Tower's story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, also joined the list.

Among the runners-up receiving at least some "best of the year" votes are Maile Meloy's collection, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.

Then there was Oprah Winfrey's first book club selection in almost a year--yes, stories, by Uwem Akpan. In May, short-story master Alice Munro won the third Man International Booker prize. And at the November National Book Award ceremonies, for the 60th anniversary "best of the NBA" fiction, four of the six nominees were story collections, with The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor taking the prize.

Here is the New York Magazine list:

1. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, by Lydia Davis (FSG)
2. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, by Eric W. Sanderson (Abrams)
3. The Book of Night Women, Marlon James (Riverhead)
4. Lowboy, John Wray (FSG)
5. Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist, by Thomas Levenson (Houghton Mifflin)
6. This Is How, by M.J. Hyland (Black Cat)
7. Imperial, by William T. Vollmann (Viking)
8. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower (FSG)
9. The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy, by Bill Simmons (Ballantine / ESPN)
10. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)


Copyright 2009 AmSAW

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