Sunday, February 21, 2016

Classic Short Stories (and Poetry)

Selected Shorts: Edith Wharton
Publisher: Symphony Space
How did I get this book? borrowed from library

Selected Shorts: Poe!
Publisher: Symphony Space
How did I get this book? borrowed from library

I've been wanting to revive my Classics Club participation, so at the beginning of the year, I rewrote my list focusing mostly on children's classics. Those are still the classics I'm most excited about, especially now that I am a parent, but I've also been meaning to branch out and try more short stories and poetry. So when I was looking for audiobooks to borrow from the library in early January, I thought I'd try listening to some. And I'm glad I did! I am not the best at analyzing or interpreting literature and short forms are no exception, but listening is its own unique experience and it really worked for me.

I think I liked the Edith Wharton stories far better on audio than I would have reading them in print because the performances really enhanced the work. There were multiple narrators and the stories were read before a live audience. The audience wasn't intrusive, but sometimes their reactions reinforced my understanding of what I was hearing. Wharton is known as a keen observer of society and most of her observations are not flattering, but she is oh so good at it. I don't think I will continue on with her longer works, but these four stories (Mrs. Manstey's View, Roman Fever, The Reckoning, and Xingu) were a great introduction to give me a feel for her work.

I was a bit more familiar with Edgar Allen Poe before listening to this collection and his work is just as dark and creepy as I remember from high school. The stories (The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Black Cat) could be a little hard for me to stomach at times, but I think that is just a sign that horror is really not my genre -- classic or not. The poems (The Raven, The Bells, and Annabel Lee) were so rhythmic that I found myself often getting lost in the words, but not necessarily understanding what was being said! I listened to some of them twice to really figure out what was going on and even pulled out my print collection a couple times for reference. I definitely don't think I will be seeking out more Poe, but I do think this was a great introduction to some of his most famous works.

Classics Club #8


  1. I am a big fan of Poe! :D I can see why it may be a little hard to follow via audio. I think I will stick to reading them when I get in the mood. I am not a huge horror fan, but there is just something about Poe that draws to me, but only when I am in the mood.

    1. Yea, they are definitely mood reads! I can't take a lot at once, but maybe I'm poke my nose back in next time I need a creepy read.


I'd love to hear what you think :)