300 short stories: story 282

story: “To Reach Japan”

author: Alice Munro

year: 2012

where: Starbucks, Festival City

note: I picked up this book for only 39 dirhams–Dear Life–and the writing is so good, so much denser than what I’ve been reading, books by younger contemporary female writers, mostly. Her style (as well as the font) reminds me of the Maeve Binchy books of my childhood.

a line:  “In the decade that they had already entered but that she at least had not taken much notice of, there was going to be a lot of attention paid to this sort of thing. Being there was to mean something it didn’t use to mean.”

theme(s): Adultery, feminism, marriage, writing life, mothers and daughters, trains


300 short stories: story 280

story: “The Locker Room”

author: Ottessa Moshfegh

year: 2016

where: Somewhere in Dubai

note: The ending is a stunner.

a line:  “But I never did try very hard to please my mother. In fact, I never tried hard to please anybody at all after that day in the locked room. Now I only try hard to please myself. That is all that matters here. That is the secret thing I found.”

theme(s): Young love, individuality, angst, mothers and daughters

300 short stories: story 275

story: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1966

where: Casa

note: Damon and I also watched Smooth Talk, the 1985 movie based on the short story. Much debate ensued.

a line:  “But all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music and the humid night air of July.”

theme(s): Dating, Mothers and daughters, Sexuality, Vanity

300 short stories: story 270

story: “Light as a Feather”

author: Karen Shepard

year: 2017

where: Abu Dhabi

note: First weekend back from the USA

a line:  “Their story bored her. Their infertility bored her. It was the same as a million other people’s, some of whom she’d met in waiting rooms, all eying each other, as if there were only so many babies and the criteria for getting one hadn’t been made clear.”

theme(s): Miscarriage, dementia, mothers and daughters, marriage

300 short stories: story 267

story: “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”

author: Laura van den Berg

year: 2010

where: Reed College

note: I have been time-sharing under a rock; this is my first read by the author, though I’ve known her existence for a long time now. I was fortunate to hear her read last night at Tin House.

a line:  “Madagascar was not the first expedition on which I had accompanied my mother.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, adventure, separation, loss, survival, aging