Short Stories and the
SLATE Book Club

9780374202392_4fb99This month the Slate Audio Book Club discusses Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample), a book that got a lot of attention very quickly last fall and landed on a majority of the best books lists.

As we reported Entertainment Weekly, O magazine, and The New Yorker we all on board the bandwagon celebrating this under appreciated author’s 400+ page short story collection.

Now Slate critics Christina Cauterucci, Mark Harris, and Katy Waldman take on both the stories and the concept of short story collections themselves.

The most interesting parts of their conversation center on various ways to read short stories. They suggest reading this collection from beginning to end and not skipping around.

Another high note is the way they discuss Berlin ability to put readers right into the heart of the moment. At one point the panelists note that all the stories drop readers directly into the middle of the tale, without the least bit of warmup. At another they discuss Berlin’s economy as a writer, saying that she excels at implication and is masterful about noting what is just outside the reader’s line of sight.

All three enjoyed the collection and recommend it to readers.

Next month the club will discuss Better Living Through Criticism. (PRH/Penguin, Feb. 9), by the NYT‘s film critic A.O. Scott, a book currently receiving wide-spread attention, including reviews in the Atlantic, Slate, and, of course, the New York Times.

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