As the month winds to a close over Memorial Day weekend and summer officially begins, we’ll also be wrapping up our celebration of May as Short Story Month. Inspired by The Emerging Writers Network and their unparalleled coverage off all things story-related each May, as well as The Poetry Book Giveaway For National Poetry Month, we decided to launch The Collection Giveaway Project (warm thanks to Erika Dreifus of The Practicing Writer for suggesting our site as a home for this promotion).
The goal is a simple one: to get readers talking about their favorite stories and story collections. So all month we’ve been publishing interviews and reviews and essays with a special eye toward the art of the short form. We’ve also been publishing blog posts about several story collections that we’re going to give away free to readers on Monday, May 31. And we’re happy to report that The Practicing Writer and The Replacement Blog have joined us in offering free collections to their readers, as well.
To be eligible for any of these free books, all you have to do is click on that book’s title link (below) and leave a note in the comment field of the original post about one of your favorite story collections.
What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, by Laura van den Berg. Jeremiah Chamberlin writes: “The stories in this collection feel ‘of a family,’ for lack of a better phrase. Not because most involve elusive creatures and foreign locales, or because exploring and discovery are central themes in all, but because collectively the stories seem to be working toward answering the same question: How can things disappear from our lives so quickly? Whether a husband, a father, one’s health, or happiness, the world these characters inhabit has the potential to change in an instant. And there is little left to do other than sort through, sort out, and move on.”
Short People, by Joshua Furst. Lee Thomas writes: “We all had one. It’s one of those universals of human experience, more constant than love or rage or betrayal or grace. I’m talking about a childhood. Still, it’s impressively difficult to capture on the page, pitch the right tone, allow the perfect amount of insight and innocence, or describe the overblown drama of what it feels like to be a kid. From the opening story of his collection, Short People, Joshua Furst nails it. That first story, ‘The Age of Exploration,’ follows the ramblings of Jason and Billy, best friends, both age six. Most of us can remember things that happened when we were six. But Furst reminds you what it’s like to be six – what it feels like to discover the world.”
The Southern Cross, by Skip Horack. Celeste Ng writes: “I am often skeptical of reviews by people who know the author: sometimes they’re a bit too chummy, like Sarah Palin praising Glenn Beck. (Ew. Just—ew.) So let me start off by saying that I do know Skip Horack, but only slightly. We met at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in 2009…I hadn’t read any of Skip’s work before the conference, but I made a note to myself to pick up his collection, The Southern Cross, as soon as I got home. Set in the Gulf Coast in 2005—the year of Hurricane Katrina—the collection is timely and relevant in the way the very best fiction is.
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, by Robin Black. Anne Stameshkin writes: “Before I recommend or send any book to one of FWR’s reviewers, I always read a sample story or two, a chapter, or maybe the first fifteen pages. If I fall in love, I order a copy of the book for myself. But sometimes there’s a novel or collection that demands to be read immediately. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This made me forget I had a job, a website, friends, a boyfriend waiting for me to pick him up, dinner burning on the stove. And even after finishing this book (and sending it off to the reviewer), I couldn’t resist buying two more copies–one to keep and one to share as part of Short Story Month 2010: The Giveaway Project.”
Who I Was Supposed to Be, by Susan Perabo. Erika Dreifus (of The Practicing Writer) writes: “One of the bright lights that sustained me through my MFA program was my friendship with Susan Perabo, a gifted teacher (her ‘large group’ workshops and craft seminars were among my very favorites) and equally gifted writer. I read Susan’s debut collection, Who I Was Supposed to Be, very soon after meeting the author at my first residency in May 2001. And then I reread it, bought it for friends’ birthdays, etc. I even mentioned it right here on the blog three years ago. And now I’ll buy a copy for one of you.”
The Pale of Settlement, by Margot Singer. Erika Dreifus (of The Practicing Writer) writes: “This is another book I have mentioned here before. (I’ve also written about it for Kenyon Review Online.) Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction, and the Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, The Pale of Settlement is also another book that I’ve been unable to stop recommending to others.”
If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home, by John Jodzio. The Editor of The Replacement Blog writes: “What better way to celebrate short stories than by giving away a free, signed copy of John Jodzio’s If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home? Metro Magazine recently put it at #1 on their May survival kit, calling it ‘a sad, weird, masterfully drawn short story collection.'”
And finally, Lucy Blue at Before There Were Children, is giving away a copy of Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle. In her self-described “rave” of this collection, Blue writes: “I couldn’t put it down. […] I would think about the stories and the characters long after the story was over. I couldn’t wait to crack it open and read the next one to see where it would take me […] and even kept the book past its due date at the library to have the boyfriend read it as well.”
The Collection Giveaway Project contest ends at 12:01am on May 31.
Winners will be contacted by Fiction Writers Review, The Practicing Writer, The Replacement Blog, and Lucy Blue. Results of the drawings will be posted shortly thereafter.
For any other bloggers, authors, or publishers who would like to join in on the fun, here are directions to participate. Feel free to leave a comment below that directs readers to your site.