Every year or so in April I try to get to a bookstore and buy some books on or around April 23rd to celebrate book and lover’s day. It is just another reason to go out and buy books at local shops, and it is usually a nice semi-warm day filled with books, maybe some brunch, and, if someone goes with me, a nice little bit of conversation.
Having Covid this year I didn’t get a chance to go out and get some books. I lay in bed and coughed a whole bunch instead. Then, when I was feeling able to move around and think I decided to do a little book shopping on my own bookshelves.
I can always find at least something to read around the house when I look, and I found a bunch of stuff to read, some of which I’m hoping to write about in the next couple of weeks. The big thing I realized while going through some of my books is how many collections of short stories I own.
It is really a lot.
When I was younger I wanted to write novels and short stories and poetry and be surrounded by books and stories all the time. I still want that, but I’m much much more afraid of trying than ever before in my life. I sit to write anything and I freak the hell out thinking about all the ways I suck.
Looming panic attack aside, I started thinking about all these short story collections. The group I have the most of is the O Henry Awards. I have an insane amount of these award winner collections. I used to pick them up all the time, and while I don’t have a full set going all 100 years back, I have a pretty healthy amount.
What I know about O Henry, and the awards, is pretty limited. Since I’m not in school anymore, and I’m not teaching anymore, I’m going to assign some O Henry research to myself to help fill my time and mind. I’m going to learn about O Henry first, then I’m going to start going through these short stories.
Things I already know before I start this process. O Henry was a pen name for William Porter. O Henry wrote stories kind of with a moral, and kind of with a twist. I know one of his most famous stories, The Gift of the Magi, follows that moral and twist blueprint. The awards were named for his memory, so O Henry never received an O Henry. It isn’t much, but it is a place to start.