From Library Journal
Thirty-five well-known authors introduce their favorite stories in this treasure trove of short fiction. For the reader this is a double delight. The introductions clarify the stories and provide rare insights into the minds of writers and the ways in which they read literature. Many of the stories are classics like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens and "The Dead" by James Joyce. Others are not as famous: Edward P. Jones introduces "The Flowers," Alice Walker's story encompassing both the loss of childhood and the oppression of a race. Amy Tan tells the reader why "Pie Dance" by Molly Giles is a perfectly crafted story. For Francine Prose, Isaac Babel has created a masterpiece of art in "Guy de Maupassant," while T. Coraghessan Boyle's favorite story is Donald Barthelme's "The School." A list of biographies of the authors completes the volume. Recommended for general collections.Stephanie Furtsch, Purchase Free Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Writers are passionate readers because literature is an ongoing dialogue. And you can learn a lot about writers by knowing what they love to read. Editors Hansen and Shepard decided to ask some of their favorite American writers to identify stories that fell into their you've-got-to-read-this category. The end result is an anthology of terrific tales introduced by essays that open windows onto the creative process of 35 top fiction writers. Each story is introduced by the writer who was inspired, intimidated, or moved to extreme emotion on reading it. Here's some examples: John Irving chose "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens; Mary Gordon selected "The Dead" by James Joyce; Oscar Hijuelos acknowledged his debt to Jorge Luis Borges' "The Aleph"; Lorrie Moore was stunned by John Updike's "Packed Dirt, Churchgoing, a Dying Cat, a Traded Car"; Joyce Carol Oates picked Kafka's unforgettable "In the Penal Colony"; and Louise Erdrich couldn't get over Robert Stone's "Helping." This is almost a two-for-one deal for story-lovers: a glimpse into the reading minds of one set of popular and talented authors, together with a selection of outstanding stories by their mentors and peers. Donna Seaman