Source : The New Indian Express
With an exciting collection of short stories, The Best of Tall Tales takes a peep into the real lives of people. Editor Michael Burns talks about the charm, challenges and the character of the book.
With an exciting collection of short stories, The Best of Tall Tales takes a peep into the real lives of people. Editor Michael Burns talks about the charm, challenges and the character of the book.“Considering our busy lives, short stories are always a great thing. On the train, on your break, or before bed. These are the places you can enjoy the stories. The subplots and secondary characters that a novel might have been stripped away, leaving you one on one with another human being, the main character.
There’s a great social experiment where two strangers just look into each other’s eyes for five minutes. It’s a profoundly moving yet simple experience. Short stories do the same thing. They are windows into one other person’s soul,” says Burns.
The stories are specific but also universal, he shares. “There is so much that we share as a species and I don’t mean specific experiences. I mean the fundamental search for meaning and acceptance. Those existential journeys, laid bare, are what this book highlights. With a few belly laughs along the way.”The biggest challenge for him was selecting the stories. “We have over 260 of them and I’d say that 150 of those are worthy of being in this book.”
All the stories are real, he shares. “The reason I say 99 per cent is because sometimes we change the name of a person in a story so that they aren’t singled out. That’s the only thing that’s changed and it’s a very reasonable concession I think,” he says, adding, “Sometimes people ask us why we do only true, personal, non-fiction stories. The answer is very simple. In other words, real life is so much more bizarre than anything anyone could possibly make up. It’s full of incredible stories already. All we have to do is notice them.”
In an era of instant gratification, where does he see the future of books and the culture of reading? “JK Rowling single-handedly saved reading, so I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about the future. Will there always be some people who opt for the drugs that are TV and social media as their primary consumption methods? Of course. But there are also eight billion people and counting. If human history has taught us anything, it’s that our species and storytelling are intimately connected. One cannot exist without the other.”