Friday, January 29, 2016

a story a day brings Santa to my yard

2015 Short Story Advent Calendar
- compiled by Michael Hingston

This is a brilliant idea for an advent calendar, for those of us who would rather read than choke down some cheap dollar store chocolate. The brainchild of Edmonton author Michael Hingston, the 2015 Short Story Advent Calendar is a collection of 24 stories and one bonus novella, featuring Canadian and international authors. Many of the stories have never been published before and they were all handpicked by Hingston for inclusion into this compendium.

The advent calendar aspect (besides the concept of reading one story per day) comes from the fact that each story is individually sealed, with no identifying marks as to the title or even the author. So each day brings a literary surprise.

The cover of each booklet was designed by graphic artist Natalie Olsen and features simply a number which corresponds with the day of the month on which you are meant to read the story. But look carefully and you will find that the number is drawn in such a way as to give you a hint about what happens in the story. I found myself observing a little ritual of pouring over the cover, speculating about its contents, before carefully unsealing that day's story.

The stories come nestled in a solid cardboard box, reminiscent of the ones that hold the question cards in Trivial Pursuit or Cards Against Humanity, and the package looks quite attractive sitting on your coffee table or under your Christmas tree, waiting for you to read the next one.

I found it hard to find time to sit down and read first thing every morning and started falling behind. Eventually, though, I realized that late afternoon worked better for me, and that had the added bonus of letting me swap the accompanying cup of coffee for a wee snort of Christmas port. Port and short stories are my new favourite combination.

I loved both the concept and the beautiful design of the 2015 Short Story Advent Calendar and I hope that 2016 brings another edition.


John Mutford said...

I love the idea, for sure. I assume that overall the stories Hingston picked were also favourable to you or you'd have been less enthusiastic. Any standouts?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hingston did a great job, John, and I liked that there were a couple of Christmas-themed stories, but not an overabundance, Christmas being best doled out in manageable portions.
A few of the stories I found most memorable were:
Lee Henderson's "Bison Burgers"
Russell Smith's "Racoons"
Hannah Pittard's "The Story of Patricia"
Spencer Gordon's "Jobbers"
Szuzsi Gartner's "Laplanders"

Erik Donald France said...


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Right? Why didn't I think of this, Erik?