I enjoy short stories. Why? Well, many are the times I just want to read something at the end of the day, something that I can enjoy in its small completeness. Sometimes I just want to take a break from writing, and I know if I get involved in a novel I’ll keep finding excuses to put off getting back to work so I can read on (I guess I’m just a weak person in that way!).
Another thing is that each collection of short stories, whether a themed anthology or collection of a single author’s work, is a bit like a sampler from a well known candy company. So many shapes, textures, tastes – such delight! Sure, you may pick one (either a candy or a story) that really isn’t to your taste, but someone else may find that very choice exquisite. And you can always move on to the next with anticipation and a bit of suspense. Where will this one take me? Is there some small lesson, some insight into the human condition to expand my horizons? Or is it just a merry little lark to make me smile, or a small adventure to thrill me?
With Our Eyes Open: Book A Break Anthology 2017 edited by Curtis Bausse is a themed collection of 34 stories. The theme is “a journey” and each author treats it in very different ways, both emotionally and culturally (authors are from all over the world). In some there is the sadness of life, in others the joy of discovery of beautiful things in life often overlooked or forgotten, and still others deal with either the fear or the exhilaration of change. A few are comedic, and a couple bizarre. The thirty-four authors range from award winners to new talents with a resultant range of writing maturity. Don’t get me wrong though, each story is well written. Some are superb. A few I found quite memorable, and a couple I thought a bit mundane. Like I said, a sampler.
Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed With Our Eyes Open. I could list my favorite few (or least favorites for that matter) and my reasons, but I’d rather leave the exploration up to you. Travelling the road, or making the journey as these authors would have it, is well worth the time. This is the type of book you can keep by your bed, and when you have those few minutes pick a story to read. All are short, no more than about six to ten pages, but each, like that piece of candy with an interesting filling, leaves you with something to chew on after the superficial coating is gone. And when it’s gone, the taste lingers – and makes you want more.