At the bookstore the other day, I picked up Esquire's Big Book of Fiction for five dollars. Five dollars! This thing is an 800-page monster just waiting for the right reader. But where to start? I think a lot of people would scan the author names. For me, though, it's all about the titles. I love titles. I think my favorite title of all time is from Joyce Carol Oates: Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart.
Regardless of who the author might be, would you rather turn to a story called, "Behold the Husband in His Perfect Agony" or "Cutting Losses"? Come on! No contest.
How about "Monhegan Light" or "Incarnations of Burned Children"? Tell the truth, ya big liar.
Now choose between "Marry the One Who Gets There First: Outtakes from the Sheidegger-Krupnik Wedding Album" and "Downstream." Duh.
Here's a trickier one. Are you more intrigued by: "A Jewish Patient Begins His Analysis" or "The Widow Ching—Pirate"?
I'm not saying that the titles indicate which story I will enjoy more, mind you, just which ones I will read first. In case you were wondering. And now I'm wondering about you. If you have a favorite or two or three (any genre welcome), I would like to know what it/they is/are. Enjoy/your week/end.