It’s wonderful the way the Short Story Club selections–and our conversations about them–spontaneously find common themes. We expected that chill in the air, that frostbitten sense of both comfort and entrapment. What chilled us even more was the way that themes of burial and death slid in under the snow–a blanketing silence, a premature burial, snow as both a literal cause and figurative omen of loss and parting. Fortunately, hilarity lightened the somber mood with tales of snowblowers and families gone mad in their snowed-under state.
While we can’t capture the companionship we felt, buried in our world of imagined snow, we offer you the list of our selections that night:
L. B. Taylor Jr., “Tragic Teardrops in the Snow,” in the author’s collection Ghosts of Virginia’s Tidewater (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011, ISBN 9781609492267).
Ronald Paxton, “Shenandoah Christmas.” (Though this story is not yet collected, the author’s first novel, Winter Songs, has just been released by World Castle Publishing, 2012, ISBN 9781938961526).
Robert Olen Butler, “Snow,” in the author’s collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories (New York: H. Holt, 1992, ISBN 9780805019865).
Robert Service, The Cremation of Sam McGee (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1987, ISBN 0688069037). A copy is located in the children’s nonfiction collection at the Willow Oaks Branch of Hampton Public Library, j811 Se69c, barcode 33245003225507.
A trio of hilarious snowy tales, following the perspectives of a man, a woman, and a child facing snow days:
1. J. G. Fabiano, “A Man and His Snowblower versus the Rest of the World,”
2. Kathy Stevenson, “Snow Days,” NewsWorks, Feb. 3, 2011
3. David Sedaris, “Let It Snow,” available in two of the author’s collections at Hampton Public Library:
Print: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (New York: Little, Brown, 2004, ISBN 0316143464), located in nonfiction at 817 Se27d, with copies at the Main Library (barcode 33245006152732) and the Northampton and Willow Oaks branches
Ebook: Holidays on Ice (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2009, ISBN 9780316158510), available to HPL patrons through OverDrive in EPUB and Kindle formats.
The evening concluded with one last tale, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen” into Japanese culture and history:
Kara Dalky, “The Lady of the Ice Garden,” in The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1, ed. Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, Jeffrey D. Smith (San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2005, ISBN 1892391198). The Main Library holds a copy in the Science Fiction Short Story section, SC J231t, barcode 33245006542684.