Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Musing on Anthologies

As I was glancing briefly at some reviews of “An Apple for the Creature,” a new anthology I just received yesterday, I was really surprised…maybe even a bit shocked…at how many people said they bought the book for Ilona Andrews’ contribution, and they had no intention of reading anything else in the collection.  Well…why ever not?  You have the book.  You’ve read the story you were most interested in.  What could possibly be wrong with checking out the other stories?  *scratching my head, here*  I don’t get it.

I absolutely love to read anthologies.  And here’s why:

1.  The stories are quick reads, each one perfect for when you may have only 15 minutes to sit down with a book between the other chores of the day.

2.  They usually offer stories by the best or most popular writers in the field being represented.

3.  They give you a chance to check out the writing style of authors you’ve never read, without investing money or time into a whole book.

What could be better?  While I also often buy these books because a favorite of mine has a story in them, Ilona Andrews included, I sure don’t plan to skip finding out if there are any other good stories in the collection.  I think of an anthology as a big, ol’  literary buffet table which allows me to sample lots and lots of stuff, while only paying for one meal.  And I have often discovered writers that I later went on to enjoy in many, many future books.  Jim Butcher, for instance.  I first read about Harry Dresden in a short story collection called “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding.”  I was intrigued by the Dresden Files concept, bought the first book in the series, “Storm Front,” and proceeded to read and enjoy every other Dresden book.  I might never have discovered what turned out to be probably my very favorite Urban Fantasy series if I hadn’t read that first short story.

I’m not suggesting anyone else would necessarily like the same stories I do, but in a collection of popular writers, there’s surely going to be a couple that grab your attention.  And if you’ve already bought the book in order to read the entry by your favorite writer, why wouldn’t you check out the others, just to see who else you might actually enjoy?  You paid for all of the stories, after all.  I say read ’em, and maybe discover interesting characters you just have to know more about.

That’s my opinion, anyway.  I could be wrong………………..what do YOU think?

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4 thoughts on “Musing on Anthologies

  1. I like anthologies too — I like getting exposure to writers that I normally might not come across and I am a fan of the short story, too.

    One thing though is that if the topic is fairly narrow, I tend to read them in bits over time so that the theme doesn’t get tired.


  2. Hi, Steve! Thanks for stopping by. I often read anthologies in bits, too. I use them as “palate cleansers” in between larger volumes. Sometimes, when I finish with one book, I’m still in that world for a few days. A good short story is a fine way to make the transition to the next novel in my To Be Read basket. And I agree totally about discovering new authors via anthologies. That’s the best reason of all to read them.

    And also like you, I really appreciate a well-written short story. For awhile, it seemed like it was becoming a lost art, but lately, the short story seems to be making a comeback, and that’s a great thing, in my book. Pun intended.


  3. Hi!
    In my case, i normally end up buying an anthology, because of a specific author’s work.
    Normally if it wasn´t for” that ” author, i probably wouldn’t even be familiar with that book.
    But, that doesn’t mean i don’t read the other stories. I do. And on occasion, i’ve come to appreciate even more so the works of those authors with whom i wasn’t familiar with, than the stories for which i bought them.

    In fact, thanks to some anthologies that i’ve read, i’ve come to “discover” some authors who are now amongst my favorites.


  4. Exactly, Susana! You are drawn to an anthology because one of your favorite authors has a story in it. But then, once you’ve read that, you have such a great opportunity to sample the work of other authors you might never discover otherwise. It’s such a good deal, I can’t imagine just reading the one story and putting the book away.

    Good to see you posting tonight! Thanks for stopping by.


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