No, I Don’t Own These. Yet. (Also, I miss Daria): A Top Ten List

Daria Wasting Life
If you can relate to Daria, read these.

Seriously though, I enjoy short stories, Jordan Catalano, flannel, and a healthy dose of cynicism… And I can’t wait to own the following – and given this week’s top ten topic (Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet) – I thought this was the perfect week to share this potential gift list:

10. Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories by Karen Russell. “Within these pages, a community of girls held captive in a Japanese silk factory slowly transmute into human silkworms and plot revolution; a group of boys stumble upon a mutilated scarecrow that bears an uncanny resemblance to a missing classmate that they used to torment; a family’s disastrous quest for land in the American West has grave consequences; and in the marvelous title story, two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove try to slake their thirst for blood and come to terms with their immortal relationship.”

09. The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake by Breece D’J Pancake. “Breece D’J Pancake cut short a promising career when he took his own life at the age twenty-six. Published posthumously, this is a collection of stories that depict the world of Pancake’s native rural West Virginia.”

08. I Hate To See the Evening Sun Go Down by William Gay. “William Gay expertly sets these conflicted characters against lush backcountry scenery and defies our moral logic as we grow to love them for the weight of their human errors.”

07. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: Stories by Raymond Carver. “With this, his first collection of stories, Raymond Carver breathed new life into the American short story. Carver shows us the humor and tragedy that dwell in the hearts of ordinary people; his stories are the classics of our time.”

06. Cathedral by Raymond Carver. “”A dozen stories that overflow with the danger, excitement, mystery and possibility of life…Carver is a writer of astonishing compassion and honesty…his eye set only on describing and revealing the world as he sees it. His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart.”–Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World”

05. Night Shift by Stephen King. Night Shift—Stephen King’s first collection of stories—is an early showcase of the depths that King’s wicked imagination could plumb.” 

04. Poachers: Stories by Tom Franklin. This terrain isn’t pretty, isn’t for the weak of heart, but in these deperate, lost people, Franklin somehow finds the moments of grace that make them what they so abundantly are: human.”

03. Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work: Stories by Jason Brown. In these tales of forbidden love, runaway children, patrimony, alcohol, class, inheritance, and survival, Brown’s elegant prose emits both quiet despair and a poignant sense of hope and redemption. These vivid accounts of troubled lives combine the powerful family drama of Andre Dubus and Russell Banks, the dark wit of Denis Johnson, the lost souls of Charles D’Ambrosio, and the New England gothic of Nathaniel Hawthorne. “

02. Women & Other Animals: Stories Paperback by Bonnie Jo Campbell. “The stories in this prizewinning debut collection encompass train wrecks, circus acts, river journeys, transspecies transmogrification, and growing up and growing old around the small towns of Michigan.”

01. The Outlaw Album: Stories Paperback by Daniel Woodrell. Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal behavior in this wrenching collection of stories. Desperation-both material and psychological–motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the killing of his wife’s pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider’s house is set on fire by an angry neighbor. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories–between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms-which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life. And, as ever, “the music coming from Woodrell’s banjo cannot be confused with the sounds of any other writer” (Donald Harington, Atlanta Journal Constitution).”

What books would you like to own?


26 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Own These. Yet. (Also, I miss Daria): A Top Ten List

  1. I loved Vampires in the Lemon Grove but I don’t own it. I do own the Outlaw Album and it is fantastic. Daniel Woodrell is one of my favorites. I’ve been getting into short stories lately so I’ll have t check out some other titles on your list.


  2. I miss Daria too!
    Like many others, I had not even heard of Breece D’J Pancake, until the gang at Literary Disco talked about him earlier this summer. A sad story for sure.

    Not that you need books added to this list but, George Saunders – Tenth of December, and Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank are two very good short story collections.


      1. Literary Disco is a fabulous podcast. I believe they come out every two weeks. I highly recommend a listen. Very informative, funny, excellent exposure to different books. They are not afraid to tackle anything. They have covered everything from Sweet valley High and the Hardy Boys, to Huck Finn , poetry, and Finnegans Wake.


    1. I’ve read some of the stories in Night Shift, but I don’t own the collection as a whole and would love to. It’s necessary, as is William Gay.


  3. Rory, I’m currently reading Breece’s Trilobites and other short stories. Really good stuff!

    Since someone’s already mentioned a Karen, I’d suggest (yes, I know that’s not what you’re asking!) Karen Blixen’s beautiful short story, ‘The Young Man with the Carnation’ and Cheever’s ‘The Swimmer’ (nearly as good as the film).




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