Good Bones and Simple Murders, by Margaret Atwood. Pub 1994 (from material 1982-1994).
An interesting if uneven collection of pieces, the material verges from short story to elegiac poem, covering science fiction, historical fiction and anthropomorphic portrayal. All with a healthy dose of strident feminism and a sprinkle of environmental guilt. While I usually like reading Margaret Atwood, I prefer her longer fiction where I have a chance to get to know characters and perhaps an unfamiliar world, without feeling like I’ve done something wrong. These brief pieces read all at once left me feeling scolded and unaccountably ashamed.
I did enjoy the format – the varying styles, the small format book, the brevity (the longest is 14 pages) of each item. There are other books like this that I’ve enjoyed (see Sum, by David Eagleman) that have the same format, and Atwood has at least one other book (The Tent) which uses the same formula.
As the review linked above said, “…readers will enjoy dipping into them selectively; a sustained reading may call up an excess of bile.” A good warning I wish I’d had before starting.
8. A book by a female author
18. A book of short stories
19. A book you can finish in a day (but I wouldn’t recommend it)