Thursday, October 11, 2007

Selected Shorts

Last night I went to "Selected Shorts," this time featuring selections from the new "Best American Short Stories." Stephen King, the guest editor, introduced the stories. It was the first one I went to that was completely sold out. I bought my ticket a couple of weeks ago and could only get a seat in the very back row, so my image of Stephen King is a very small blurry man who looks older and skinnier than I'd expect. At least I could see him - shortly after he opened, a tall man came and sat in the empty seat in front of me, forcing me to crane my head from one side to the other to see anything or anyone on stage. Hey, it's a reading, I guess seeing is overrated.

The stories were good and the readers (Joanna Gleason and Judith Ivey) really talented. But both were really long; the second went on so long I think I may have dozed off for a few seconds at one point. I glanced at it in the subway on the way home (having brought with me my copy of the book, in vain hope that King would appear in the crowd for autographs) and the story isn't that long. I think it's Ivey's drawling delivery, which is quite lyrical and lovely, but seemingly slowed the pace of the evening. Isaiah Sheffer tried to give his usual farewells and acknowledgements at the close, but the crowd was already standing and exiting. This is a polite Upper West Side literary crowd, but one with an apparent curfew.


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