When I ask this I am referring to a collection of short stories by multiple authors. I don’t personally read a lot of short story collections, in fact, the only one that comes to mind is Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, which you can read my review for here if you haven’t already and would like to. Using this as an example I marked down my overall rating based on enjoying some of the stories more than others. Is that fair to do? I think so, because when I reflect on a book I look at it as a whole, and that applies to short stories also. But then I remember that the original authors didn’t write their stories with the intention of being part of this collection which makes it a little more confusing.
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Anyway, that aside, the point is that some of the stories I really enjoyed and others I wished were not included. I can’t deny that this did bring me some disappointment when I closed the book at the end. This didn’t mean that I disliked the book, far from it. I would definitely read it again, but only the ones that I enjoyed, I’ll be skipping the others.
Is it possible to enjoy every story in a collection when the authors differ? I don’t think it is. Reading is so personal after all and we like what we like mostly. For example, I’m a huge fan of thrillers but there have been plenty that I have read and hated, and that can come down to the writing style of the author. There have been times where I have found myself thinking I would have enjoyed that one if it was written by somebody else.
Overall however, I do like how a collection with multiple authors can expose a reader to a writer that they perhaps wouldn’t discover otherwise. To use Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories as an example again, it was through this that I discovered the work of Rosemary Timperley, a writer I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise but one who I now think is wonderful! Equally I came across one or two who I can safely say have not made it to my list of authors to look into further. Perhaps this is the solution to avoiding disappointment, by feeling grateful for the exposure to multiple writers whether I enjoyed their work or not.
So, back to the question: is a collection of short stories by multiple authors bound to bring disappointment? I think yes it is. I think it is inevitable that there will be some stories that aren’t enjoyable and that is disappointing. Nobody picks up a book not caring if they will enjoy it, a book is chosen because the reader wants to at least like it but ideally love it.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you read any collections by multiple authors where you have loved every story? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!