Tea or Books? #29: short stories (yes or no?) and Bricks and Mortar vs Princes in the Land

Two more Persephones in this episode – Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton and Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan – along with a discussion of short stories: which writers we like and don’t like, and whether or not we’d race towards short stories in a bookshop.


Tea or Books logoAs always, we’d love to know your choices – and any topics or books you’d like us to cover in future episodes.

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Here are the (many!) books and authors we discuss in this episode:

H.G. Wells and His Family (as I have known them) by M.M. Meyer
Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Memoir by Cicely Greig
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
Death in the Tunnel by Miles Burton
The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton
The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
The Golden Age by Martin Edwards
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Terms and Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Graham
Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edgar Allan Poe
Agatha Christie
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Katherine Mansfield – ‘At the Bay’, ‘Prelude’, ‘Miss Brill’, ‘Bliss’, ‘The Garden Party’
The Closed Door and other stories by Dorothy Whipple
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Elizabeth Taylor
The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
The Love-Child by Edith Olivier
Richard Yates
William Maxwell
‘A Christmas Memory’ by Truman Capote
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
‘The Landlady’ by Roald Dahl
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
‘After You, My Dear Alphonse’ by Shirley Jackson
Daphne du Maurier
A Table Near the Band and other stories by A.A. Milne
The Birthday Party and other stories by A.A. Milne
A.L. Kennedy
The Montana Stories
Tea With Mr Rochester
by Frances Towers
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Tell it to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge
The Woman Novelist and other stories by Diana Gardner
Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan
Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton
Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge
High Table by Joanna Cannan
Parson Austen’s Daughter by Helen Ashton
Return to Cheltenham by Helen Ashton
Greengates by R.C. Sherriff
Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple
The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark

4 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #29: short stories (yes or no?) and Bricks and Mortar vs Princes in the Land

  • November 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    How about linked short stories? Could you discuss those sometime?

  • November 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I do love short stories, but I too need to be in the mood. And the problem I have is feeling the need to read the whole lot in one go. I read a quote on someone’s blog recently from Mavis Gallant advising not to read short stories like they were the chapters of a book but instead to take them one at a time – which I must try to do!

    Anthony Berkeley is wonderful and very much unjustly neglected – looking forward to the Poisoned Chocolates Case a lot! And I loved “The Women Novelist…” which was unexpectedly good – worth getting past your uncertainty about short stories!

  • December 5, 2016 at 4:01 am

    When I take a book with an inviting cover from the shelf and then realize it’s short stories, I put it back like a hot coal, annoyed at being seduced by its dust jacket. Why? Don’t know! My husband loves short stories and has tried to determine the cause of my dislike for them. No luck.
    I hope it doesn’t mean anything horrible – if so, don’t tell me. :)

  • December 18, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I have a love/hate thing with short stories — sometimes they start out great and then I just get frustrated because I want them to turn into a whole novel. I have had good luck with Persephone’s short story collections, though — I loved Mollie Panter-Downes’ two collection; also Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky which were just brilliant (I’ve also loved all her novels that I’ve read so far); plus Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill, The Woman Novelist and Other Stories by Diana Gardner; and Dorothy Whipple’s collection — really hoping to get the new Whipple short stories in my Christmas stocking!

    Other short story writers I love: Edith Wharton, Roald, Dahl, Saki –short AND hilarious (my favorite is “The Storyteller,” which is just WICKEDLY FUNNY); Eudora Welty is also good (try “Why I Live at the P.O.”)

    And I’m loving your podcasts! I’m nearly caught up with them and then I’ll either have to start again at the beginning or just wait patiently!


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