I love Wordsworth Editions, and when I saw a brand new copy of this doorstop-sized book (it comes in at over 1400 pages) in Brighton for just £3, I could not resist it. It contains some marvellous authors – Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, etc. – and I hoped it would lead me on to some more fabulous books to read, as these collections so often do. I really like the way in which an author biography has been included before their tales in this book, as it gives a great insight into the context – for example, the reasons as to how they became famous authors, and what inspired them to write.
I decided to start reading at the very beginning of November, and it took me almost an entire month to get through. At first, I aimed to read one or two stories each night, or when time allowed, but on some days I found I did not pick it up at all, and on others I read five or six tales in one go. I found Classic Short Stories to be a great collection on the whole, but it did feel a little imbalanced in that some authors were given several stories, and some only one.
My favourite stories were as follows: ‘The Box Office Girl’ and ‘The Umbrella’ by Arnold Bennett; ‘The Black Cottage’ by Wilkie Collins; ‘The Little Regiment’ by Stephen Crane; ‘Alicia’s Diary’ by Thomas Hardy; ‘The Real Thing’ by Henry James; ‘The Prussian Officer’ and ‘The Blind Man’ by D.H. Lawrence; and ‘The Legacy’, ‘Kew Gardens’, ‘The Mark on the Wall’, ‘The Shooting Party’ and ‘Together and Apart’ by Virginia Woolf.