1. Read the weekly short story in the New Yorker.
2. Subscribe to two literary journals and read the short stories from them. I chose Tin House because it originally published most of the stories I liked best from Best American Short Stories 2010 (BASS 2010), and Glimmer Train because they publish many emerging writers who go on to place in BASS or win other awards.
3. Commit to a monthly reading program of at least ten stories from a particular author whose collected works I own, or from an anthology that I already own, as follows. I’ll put the bibliography on line when it’s complete – but that may take a while. Even with modern bibliography-generating software, I find writing bibliography entries to be exceptionally tedious.
May: Anton Chekhov, in the original Russian.
June: Flannery O’Connor.
July: New Stories from the South 2010 (ed. Amy Hempel).
August: Leo Tolstoy, in the original Russian.
September: Eudora Welty.
October: 50 Great American Short Stories (ed. Milton Crane). Because many of these have not been reprinted since their initial publication, there should be little to no overlap with anything else I’m reading.
November: A Treasury of Sea Stories (comp. Gordon C. Aymar).
December: Ernest Hemingway.
- Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Times, in the original Russian. The book is a “story cycle” of five stories, all relating to Russian military operations in the Caucasus early in the 19th century. “Taman’” – possibly dumbed-down for new readers of Russian – was the first short story I ever read in Russian.
2. Tim O’Brien.
February: John Cheever.
March: Katherine Mansfield.
April: Bobbie Ann Mason, Fay Weldon, Italo Calvino. There is no way I can tackle Italo Calvino stories early in the program.