Your typical “Best of” list seem to run at least 10 entries and are put out by people who read widely, and with a critical eye. In 2015 I read more widely, and with a more critical eye. I read stories recommended by others, stories by writers whose work I enjoy and stories featured in “White Whale” publications where I aspire to be published.
There are a lot of really talented people writing really good stories. Sometimes I found myself wallowing. Why bother? I am no where near as talented. Thing is … I need to write and I want to write as well as they do. The only way there is to read, write and improve at both. Self-pity has no place in that process.
Rather than ring off 10 stories that I learned a lot from, I started making a list of stories that I enjoyed as a reader and respect-the-hell-out-of as a writer. They all show creativity, precision and relevance in a way that is deeply affecting. Go read them.
|EVEN IN THIS SKIN by A.C. Wise||Shimmer|
|HUNGRY DAUGHTERS OF STARVING MOTHERS by Alyssa Wong||Nightmare Magazine|
|FABULOUS BEASTS by Priya Sharma||Tor.com|
|THE THREE RESURRECTIONS OF JESSICA CHURCHILL by Kelly Robson||Clarkesworld|
|THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS by Rebecca Jones-Howe||Cease, Cows|
Notice anything interesting?
All 5 are written by women, including women of varying skin tone and varying orientations. This was not intentional. I didn’t make a plan for 2015 to read more work by any particular group.
This list is an organic result of reading what people I respect promoted and recommended in 2015.
I certainly have stories to make the list longer, but I’m going to stop at the point where I recognized the pattern. A point I wouldn’t have stopped at if the top 5 were all written by straight white men.
Diversity in my reading may not be perfect, but it’s getting better.