300 short stories:: story 218

story: “The Faery Handbag”

author: Kelly Link

year: 2005

where: afterwork at work

note: There is a free copy of this story online via Small Beer Press!

a line: “If you called the faery handbag by its right name, it would be something like “orzipanikanikcz,” which means the “bag of skin where the world lives,” only Zofia never spelled that word the same way twice. She said you had to spell it a little differently each time. You never wanted to spell it exactly the right way, because that would be dangerous.’”

extra line: “The thing about Zofia and libraries is that she’s always losing library books. She says that she hasn’t lost them, and in fact that they aren’t even overdue, really. It’s just that even one week inside the faery handbag is a lot longer in library-world time.”

theme(s): Death, Magic

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300 short stories:: story 199

story: “Ulrikke”

author: Jorge Luis Borges

year: 1975

where: home on the range

note: I like chance meetings.

a line: “The pronouncement was an attempt at wit, and I sensed this wasn’t the first time she’d voiced it. I later learned that it was not like her—but what we say is not always like us.”

300 short stories:: story 187

story: “Five Questions for the Snake Charmer”

author: C Pam Zhang

year: 2019

where: read on my phone

note: something short and not sweet

a line: “Pinned under that false gold, he’ll look as much the good Chinese boy as I am the bad Chinese girl, the kind who makes a public spectacle out of alcoholism as if she’s white and blonde and carefree and doesn’t drag a whole race’s reputation behind her.”

300 short stories:: story 186

story: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: midday and golden

note: I love Murakami’s introduction to this collection. He writes, “My short stories are like soft shadows I’ve set out in the world, faint footprints I’ve left behind.”

a line: “My cousin lived nearby, but I was just over a decade older than him and we had never been what you’d call close.”

300 short stories:: story 179

story: “Meals for Mourners/兄弟”

author: K Ming Chang

year: 2019

where: around the house

note: from the Nashville Review 

a line: “She wears her scarves even in the shower: checkered wool ones, polka-dotted cotton ones, infinity scarves in colors that scratch at your eyes, yellow and green and pink. Mama always says the best way to hide something is to draw attention to it.