Reading Matters

Joyce Carol Oates says Beams’s collection ‘wickedly sharp-eyed’

If I were put to the absolute test, I might say that short stories are my favorites – they last longer than a poem but they’re not as cumberson as novels can sometimes be.

And, they’re perfect for reading aloud.

I am eager to dive into Clare Beams’s debut short story collection, “We Show What We Have Learned,” about which Joyce Carol Oates says this:

“As if by a rare sort of magic, Alice Munro and Shirley Jackson had conspired together to imagine a female/feminist voice for the 21st century that is wickedly sharp-eyed, wholly unpredictable, and wholly engaging.”

That’s a glowing mouthful.

Beams has had invidiual stories published in Ecotone, the Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry and “The Best American Nonrequired Reading.” She publishes blogs for Ploughshares and lives in Pittsburgh.

Lookout Books at UNC Wilmington -- an impressive press -- publishes Beams’ collection.

Beams will give a free reading at 6 p.m. Thursday at Main Street Books, 126 S. Main St., in Davidson