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‘Fiction on a Stick’: short, tasty stories by Minnesotans

I’ve never understood why short-story anthologies aren’t more popular. Short stories can be consumed quickly — perfect for these harried times. Anthologies collect the cream of the crop, so the writing is generally excellent. They are usually paperback editions, so they’re portable and affordable. By nature they allow you to “meet” the new writers who are packaged along with the familiar.

And they are lovely read aloud. (Which reminds me: Why doesn’t MPR carry the Selected Shorts program anymore? Is it a space issue? May I recommend some programs to dump in its place?)

Anyhow, here’s what you should pick up to read on the plane: “Fiction on a Stick: Stories by Writers from Minnesota.” I was sucked in by the first story, a spellbinding folktale retold by Sun Yung Shin. The collection offers a State Fair-like sampling of different flavors, topics and voices — thus the goofy title theme. Familiar names such as Ann Bauer and Sarah Stonich are here, along with writers who haven’t been widely published — yet.

Meet a few of them live at Micawbers in St. Paul next week, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20.

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