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My Story That I Like Best by Ray Long

My Story That I Like Best

by Ray Long (Editor)

Other authors: Irvin S. Cobb (Contributor), James Oliver Curwood (Contributor), Edna Ferber (Contributor), Peter B. Kyne (Contributor), Meredith Nicholson (Contributor)1 more, H. C. Witwer (Contributor)

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Cosmopolitan (1924), Hardcover, 253 pages
  trinapurcell | Nov 16, 2012 |
There is an interesting affectation about any book which is based upon authors identifying and commenting on their own favorite stories – that is, the stories they have written that they like best. As this book publication date (1924) proves, it is something that has provided interest to authors, editors, and readers for some time.

In my experience of reading these types of collections (they attract me; I don’t know why), they tend to be uneven. It seems to be the combination of the editors not always having the best authors at hand (not all authors want to play this game) and authors themselves not always picking their best work. But then, they are not asked to pick their best (and even when asked to pick their best they don’t always do it); what it really represents is there favorite. And favorite is not always based on best written.

And so this collection seems to suffer from similar unevenness. But it also suffers because it has not aged well. Short story styles of the early 20th century (populist short story styles) do not always translate well to today. Great writing can transcend. But, as already indicated, this is not best, just favorite.

The best pieces are the bookends – Edna Ferber’s story (“The Gay Old Dog”) of a man who sacrifices his own lifestyle for his mother and sisters comes close to falling into sentimentalism, but pulls beyond that trap to become a decent story. H. C. Witwer’s “Money to Burn” still holds its humor 80 years later (a harder achievement than just keeping a short story relevant) as it tells the story of a “modern” woman’s attempts to help her friends – some with money, some without. But there is a definite arch in the book between these two stories – a negative arch – that makes the middle two stories almost unreadable (maudlin and predictable) and leaves the reaming pair of stories (that’s 2 and 4 if you’re keeping track) in the category of “Okay, but was it really worth the time”.

Again, if you enjoy the concept of reading stories like this to learn what the authors think of their own work, then this is a perfectly fine collection to read. However, if you are reading for other purposes, then this is probably a waste. ( )
  figre | Jun 21, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Long, RayEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cobb, Irvin S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curwood, James OliverContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferber, EdnaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kyne, Peter B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nicholson, MeredithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Witwer, H. C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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