Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
I don’t read many collections of short stories, but I have twice since I started blogging. Each time I begin to write a review, I’m confronted by a dilemma. How do you review a collection with a lot of short stories? Do you review each separately? Or do you try to review them all together?
Personally, I’ve come down on the side of reviewing the book as a whole. In order to convey useful information about specific stories, I look for themes connecting the stories I liked or the stories I didn’t. That allows me to say something more useful that just “some were better than others”. At the same time, I avoid writing excessively long reviews just because the collection had a lot of short stories. If I’m completely honest, the reviews that do go story by story are ones I almost always skim or skip, unless there are just a few stories. The reviews I love are those that either focus on a few favorites and a few least favorites or those I’ve decided to emulate, that focus on larger themes and the feel of the collection as a whole.
How do you review short story collections? When you’re reading someone else’s review of a short story collection, what format do you prefer?