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Good morning, readers and book lovers! We have no contributing diarist this morning, so we’ll have an open forum instead. But before we begin with today’s burning question, please allow me to point out that October contains four Fridays and this is the second of them. We need diaries for the other two!  I happen to know that at least one regular visitor is working on something splendid when time permits; alas, when work or real life beckons, writing must be relegated to the back burner.

But everyone else--swallow those energy pills, throw the TV out the window, and unhook the wi-fi connection so you can write a diary about a book that changed your life!  Here’s how:

In the first paragraph, all you need to do  is introduce the title of the book and the author, and mention the circumstances in which you encountered it—did you buy it, borrow it, or receive it as a gift? How old were you? Were you at school still or working?

In the second paragraph, you could provide a quote from the book, or briefly describe the contents, or tell something about the author. If it’s a classic and has been reproduced on line as part of The Gutenberg Project, you could provide a link. Or if there’s an entry in Wikipedia about it, you could link to that.

In the third paragraph, you would state how reading the book changed your life—by making you aware of politics, or history, or seeing the world beyond your own cosmos of home, family, friends, and school, or thinking about things in a new way.

You will need to add at least three tags to the bottom of your diary:  Readers and Book Lovers, R&BLers, and Books That Changed My Life. Feel free to add more, according to your subject.

So which book changed YOUR life? The Story of "O"? REALLY? Oh, wait, no, perhaps you really meant The Adventures of Moll Flanders. You can talk about any book, even The Care and Feeding of Dragons.

Please kosmail me and tell me you’ll do a diary in October or November so this series won’t fall flat on its face!

This morning we’re feeling rather restrained, gastronomically speaking, so we have low-fat blueberry muffins made with organic blueberries, organic applesauce instead of fat, grated orange peel, whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, and very little maple sugar. You have a choice of butter, apple butter, or yumalicious lemon marmalade made by the dear old Trappist monks in New York State.  You’ll find pumpkin-spiced coffee in the urn, with half-and-half and demerara sugar nearby.

So tuck in and let’s consider: what’s your favorite short story or collection of short stories? What a delightful question to ponder!  Think of all the writers who’ve written short stories: Shirley Jackson, Somerset Maugham, J. D. Salinger, just for starters.

When I thought of my own favorite, two immediate contenders leapt to mind:  “The Star”  
by Arthur C. Clarke or almost anything by Saki.  

If you haven’t read “The Star,” you’ve got a treat coming. The first time I read it I felt sucker-punched; the second, third, and fourth times, deeply moved.

Or what about Saki? His collected short stories are like a box of chocolates: you read one and think, “Ooh, that was nice, I’ll just try one more,” so you read another, and then another, and before you realize it half the morning’s gone. In our house the nightstand in the guest bedroom contains a copy of his collected works. Picking a favorite was a little like untying the Gordian knot—how is it to be accomplished?  Should one choose the sinister “Sredni Vashtar” or the equally sinister “Gabriel-Ernest?” Or should the choice be “The Schwartz-Metterklume Method,” “Tobermory,” or “The Open Window?”

Finally I chose “Quail Seed because it hits so many of my hot buttons—mystery, tradecraft, food, and English village life. It’s thoroughly entertaining.

But enough of this “selfie” chitchat.  What about YOU?  Which short story or collection of short stories causes you to chortle with delight or experience a frisson of terror?  Tell us!

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
2:00 PM What's on Your E-Reader? Caedy
2:00 PM Bibliophile's Wish List Caedy
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
alternate Mondays
2:00 PM Political Books Susan from 29
Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery michelewln, Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
alternate Thursdays 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 8:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht; first one each month by ArkDem14
Fri 10:00 PM Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable shortfinals
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 12:00 PM You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews pwoodford
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Fri Oct 11, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.


When you reach for fiction, do you choose a novel or a short story?

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