Although it’s not likely to get as much attention as the Oscar race or the Golden Globes, the Library of America has just celebrated an awards event of its own that might attract a little applause from readers.
We’re talking about the LOA’s Top 10 List of the most popular “Stories of the Week” from 2013, its recap of the superstars in its regular online feature for the publisher’s fan base.
Founded in 1979, the Library of America is a nonprofit publisher that produces definitive editions of the works of the nation’s classic writers. Its signature product line – elegant, hand-stitched volumes covered in distinctive, black-and-white dust jackets – has become a fixture of literary class.
In its more than three decades of operation, LOA has published landmark anthologies of literary luminaries as varied as Mark Twain, Ring Lardner, and James Baldwin – in short, the pantheon of American literature.
But in recent years, LOA has been making a special effort to broaden its audience of readers with an aggressive online outreach. That effort includes “Story of the Week,” a free feature in which e-mail subscribers sample a story or essay from an LOA author every seven days.
Recently, LOA released its most popular “Story of the Week” features from the past 12 months, and an eclectic list it is.
Among the honorees are Kate Chopin, whose short story “Athenaise” chronicles a newly married woman who seeks her brother’s help in escaping her unhappy union; Eudora Welty’s “Petrified Man,” a darkly comic tale involving a traveling sideshow; and “Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln,” in which Frederick Douglass recalls the Great Emancipator.
The No. 1 “Story of the Week” for 2013 was “John Inglefield’s Thanksgiving,” a curious holiday narrative by Nathaniel Hawthorne in which an unexpected guest brings a few surprises to the household of a village blacksmith.
Readers can check out a complete list of LOA’s Top 10 “Stories of the Week” here.
Readers can subscribe to “Story of the Week” here.
Danny Heitman, a columnist for The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana, is the author of “A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House.”