09 March 2011

I need more anthologies

I was listening to an episode of the Bookrageous podcast from Oct 2010 today and it took me back to my childhood reading. They were talking about Houghton Mifflin's Best American anthology series. Collections played a big part in my reading life when I was younger but I haven't picked one up in years. I don't think I was even aware that current ones were being published.

When I was a kid, my library had volumes of collected plays. I can't remember the exact titles but they were something along the lines of "Best Broadway Musicals of 1966" or "Best Short Plays of 1970". Before touring companies came to Charlotte, the closest I got to a Broadway experience was checking out one of these books and reading the play while listening to the cast album. As far as books in my home, my mother used to buy the Reader's Digest Condensed Books. We only had a few volumes but I read them over and over.

My fondest memory of anthologies is of a gift from one of my maternal aunts. It was a giant book entitled The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children's Literature. (If you ever run across it at a book sale, I had the edition with the giant butterfly on the cover.) It had poetry, short stories, and excerpts of children's novels. I didn't realize until much later that it was meant as a resource for teachers. Oh, how I enjoyed that book! I owned it right up until my senior year in high school and then somehow lost it.

This trip down memory lane makes me realize that I should have more anthologies on my shelf at home. I don't buy a lot of fiction, but I think that anthologies might be worth the investment. Lately I've noticed that my reluctant readers, ABM and C2, will read something short. I found C2 reading sections of a home remedy book I have on the shelf, and ABM read several of the tiny chapters in the Jennifer Love Hewitt book. They won't seek out this stuff on their own so, as family media curator, it is my job to bring it to them.

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