To Make a Long Story Short: The Weird

Do you dream of visiting fantastical cities made of mirror reflections or populated by the dead (Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities)? Can you conceive of a library that contains every possible combination of letters in every possible order (Jorge Luis Borges’ Ficciones)? Are the trapped figures in the wallpaper moving (Charlotte Perkins Gilmans’ The Yellow Wallpaper)? What are your feelings about Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fanfiction (Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties)? Do moving tattoos make your skin crawl or entice you to settle in for a story (Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man)? In short (apologies, pun intended), you may be interested in “the weird”, and you’ll be delighted to discover the strange and unusual in the Denver Public Library’s Adult Short Story Core Collection!  

DPL has chosen 50 Short Story Collections (one of many Core Collections at DPL!) that represent the breadth and diversity of our contemporary world. Part of that breadth is the uncanny, the odd, and the unusual that might bring an ironic smile to your face or just slightly disturb your sensibilities. The weird will transport you to new places, and you’ll experience new things. For some alligator wrestling, visit the ghostly swamps of the Florida Everglades in St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell. “Speech Sounds” found in Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild asks what it would be like in a civilization where humankind can no longer communicate with reading, writing, or speaking. Has a birthday wish ever come true for you? Haruki Murakami’s “Birthday Girl” in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman will have you wondering if you really wanted it to…

The stories in this core collection stretch possibility to nearly the impossible. The title story of Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie has origami animals coming to life. In Helen Oyeyemi’s "Is Your Blood As Red As This?", from What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, you’ll attend a puppet school alongside a ghost and a “wooden devil” (Whatever that is! Sounds weird to me!). If you want to go all out, just dive into the The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, the quintessential collection of all things bizarre. Let’s get weird!

Also, check out this post highlighting the Core Collection Short Story Classics.

A guest blog by DPL librarian and Core Collection Team member Lily K.

Written by Becker on December 3, 2019