Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

Continuing along with how I set up my December reading (since it lead me to some unexpected places) here are the essays and short stories I plan to read in January. It won’t be one a day, but three a week.

Suggestions are always welcome; I discovered several writers and pieces last month that way so if anyone has a recommendation, I’d love it.

Week 1 Margaret Atwood – “Significant Moments in the Life of my Mother” (from Bluebeard’s Egg)
Clarice Lispector – “Daydream and Drunkenness of a Young Lady” (from Complete Stories)
Gretel Ehrlich – “Spring” (essay, from Antaeus, 1986)
Week 2 Valerie Trueblood – “Finding” (from Search Party)
Jane Hirschfield – “The Myriad Leaves of Words” (from Nine Gates)
Guy Davenport – “The Geography of the Imagination” (from the same)
Week 3 Isak Dinesen – “Sorrow-acre” (from Winter’s Tales)
Joan Didion – “On Keeping a Notebook” (from Slouching Toward Bethlehem)
Lucia Berlin – “Emergency Room Notebook” (from A Manual for Cleaning Women)
Week 4 Phillip Lopate – “Against Joie de Vivre” (From Ploughshares, 1987
Jamaica Kincaid – “The Circling Hand” (From Annie John)
Jean Stafford – “In the zoo” (From Bad Characters)
Week 5  Clarice Lispector – “Love” (from Complete Stories)
 Eudora Welty – “Petrified Man” (from A Curtain of Green)
 Jane Hirshfield – “Poetry & the Mind of Indirection” (from Nine Gates)

6 Responses to “January essays/short stories”

  1. orientikate

    You are very organised!!! I’m curious to know which medium you read in most and how you decide how to bundle the works on your list?

    • Michelle

      I’m not usually so organized at all. I used to make very detailed reading plans but stopped doing that a few years ago. I’m trying it out again, just with essays and short stories because it was nice in December to read such diverse pieces and see where it all lead me.

      I read almost always on paper, and these lists are coming from several volumes of Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays that I’ve had sitting around for a few years. Also several Complete Stories collections for various authors, and I’m picking the pieces that look interesting from it all. A nice way to read from some books that have been sitting unread on my shelves.

  2. roughghosts

    I like the idea of breaking up—and reflecting upon—stories and essays from larger collections, singularly or in small groups. I hope to try this myself, but I’m likely to be more random in my approach. 🙂

    • Michelle

      It’s a first for me, and I do find I enjoy breaking up the longer collections instead of trying to read it all in one sitting. So far it’s been fun to choose randomly from different books I have lying around and see if any of the pieces start talking to each other…

    • Michelle

      Oh such a good idea. I read her essay collection A Plea for Eros a few years back and really enjoyed it. I have her The Shaking Woman on my shelf as well – non-fiction but not essays, I believe.

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