when the weather turns cold, i always seem to seek out books with a bit more substance. in the summer, i’m looking for light and fun, but when i’m stuck inside, drinking cup after cup of tea, i want something a bit more serious.
delicate edible birds, by lauren groff, is one of the few short story collections i’ve read in recent memory that i’ve loved enough to recommend (another notable being nell freudenberger’s lucky girls, one of my all-time favorites). in general, i love the long, twisting and involved plots of novels, and always find myself wanting more from short stories. but one benefit that makes me love a shorter tale is that they’re perfect for those of us (like me) who are notoriously reading 2 or 3 books at a time. sometimes, not having to remember where i left off is a relief!
so, i’m picky (shocking, i know). for a story collection to really grab me, i need both thoughtful plot and remarkable writing. delicate edible birds provides both. the strength in groff’s collection really is her writing – the stories are creative and thoughtful, but don’t deliver jaw-dropping or heart-wrenching plots. but in every piece, i found myself drawn to her characters, wanting to know more…and for me, that’s what makes a short story rise above. whether it’s a high school swimming star and her small town’s brush with chinese prostitution, or a social circle’s overwhelming curiosity about the wife of their dictator, the strength of the characters in these stories will keep you coming back long after you’ve finished that emily giffin novel.
if you’re in the market for a great new read, grab the book here. if you’re so inclined, the author is out on her book tour this very moment (she’ll be in my ‘hood tomorrow, in fact). check out her scheduled appearances – something tells me she’s a pretty fascinating person.