Nancy Corbett

Book Reviews

Reading is a big part of being a writer. I always have a full stack of books waiting for me to read.

This year, I took an adventure through many short story collections. I began with the wonderful collection, Olive Kitteridge. I wonder if this book has opened a door or if it's just the first instance in recent times I've noticed of a collection of linked short stories like this. Sherwood Anderson started the whole thing as a U.S. storyteller long ago. But this looked new to me.

I loved the varying degree of Olive's presence throughout the collection and the idea of the extended influence of a single person. I also loved being fed the story of this woman in small pieces. The book is simply brilliant.

I went on to read Barb Johnson's debut collection after meeting her at the AROHO retreat for women writers last summer. Barb was at the retreat as the recipient of the $50,000 award offered by the Room of Her Own Foundation. When she got up to read from her collection, she was reading to some of the women who had competed with her for that award. By the time she was done, everyone in the room applauded her. Her collection is fresh and exciting and full of surprises as well as opportunities for us to recognize ourselves.

The rest of this list covers many other adventures this year. I read Willa Cather for the first time. Death Comes for the Archbishop took my breath away. I became acquianted with the magic of Alice Munro. Murakami came in early this year and dazzled me with Kafka on the Shore.

Lots and lots of adventures. I haven't written reviews this year and the only galley I scored after the summer was Barb Johnson's. My focus shifted to a new project. I'm applying to MFA programs to go back to school. The application process has taken up most of my time. Hopefully, someone will have me.

So, come in, poke around and send me an email if you have something you want to tell me.


"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams..." Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Books This Year:

Francine Prose
Hunters and Gatherers
Blue Angel

Willa Cather
Death Comes for the Archbishop

Mary Gaitskill
Bad Behavior

Anna Quindlen
One True Thing

Alice Walker
In Search of Our Mother's Garden

Zora Nealy Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Barb Johnson
More of This World or Maybe Another

Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge

Alice Munro
Friend of My Youth
View from Castle Rock
Open Secrets

Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's

Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat Pray Love

Edward Abbey
Desert Solitaire

Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore

Beverly Cleary
Beezus and Ramona

Janet Burroway
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

Christopher Vogler
The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

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