I used to be a voracious reader of short stories. Now I generally only consume this genre with the annual New Stories from the South collection, which Randy present to me on my birthday each year. (At this point, Dr. H. is singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof in his head--please don't sing out loud in your office, honey!) I don't know why I don't seek out short story collections more often. The short story is an amazing art form and exceedingly difficult to produce well. When I was in graduate school, I had a short-story workshop for one semester with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley. It was pure torture. She was probably laughing her head off at my feeble attempts to incorporate all the elements of a short story into my pathetic slices of life. (More likely, she was scoffing in a dismissive sort of way.) I sure am glad I only had to take that for one semester! But anyway, I am always determined to read more short stories after finishing this annual collection. It's good for my brain to venture outside of my favored novels every now and then!