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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Speaking of Short Stories . . .

I just finished another McSweeney's collection, the rather lengthily titled Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out (heh, the url is shorter than the title). It is a collection of young adult short stories from many authors, some quite prominent, and proceeds go to 826NYC, a non-profit tutoring center in NYC. Standouts were "Small Country" by Nick Hornby, "Grimble" by Clement Freud, "Sunbird" by Neil Gaiman (also found in his collection Fragile Things), and "The Sixth Burough" by Jonathan Safran Foer. Kelly Link's "Monster," which I had read in her collection Pretty Monsters, was incredibly creepy -- so creepy I refused to reread it in this volume.

This being McSweeney's, I was not at all surprised to find an unusual element to the form of the book. In this case, the dust jacket unfolds to show a short story started by Lemony Snicket, with space to write in one's own ending and instructions to fold the dust jacket into an envelope to mail to McSweeney's. Supposedly the best entry was to receive publication in another book and some goodies, but I can't find any more information about it (the book came out in 2005).

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