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Mini Review: The Short Stories of Langston Hughes


What It’s About

The Short Stories of Langston Hughes

Sometimes called the Poet Laureate of Black America, Langston Hughes was also an accomplished writer of fiction, with a novel and several collections of stories to his credit. This collection brings together nearly 50 of Hughes’s best stories. Many are drawn from three earlier collections, but some are between book covers for the first time. Of special note for anyone interested in Hughes’s development as a writer are three stories written when Hughes was a high school student in Cleveland. 


The Mini Review

Back in one of my previous library jobs, I had to do some research and pull together resources during Black History month. I chose to focus on the Harlem Renaissance and that was the first time I came across Langston Hughes (that I can remember). His poetry was enchanting and moving. I also loved listening to recordings of him reciting his poetry. Then one day, I saw The Short Stories of Langston Hughes on sale and decided to give it a chance.

My favorite part of reading his short stories are that I felt like each story allowed me to experience a slice of life of a wide range of Black characters. Each character was unique in terms of age, gender, socioeconomic status, location, and experiences. Hughes’s writing style was enjoyable and a different experience compared to reading his poetry. The themes of the stories were also varied that included jealousy, love, friendship, hardship, music, art, grief, and much more.

Short stories are nice way to mix up reading habits. Hughes’s stories helped me get out of a little reading slump. I am about halfway through the book and will stop there for now. I’m back in the mood to read a novel. I will definitely continue reading the rest of the collection when the mood strikes!

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

Extra Stuff

Here are a few of the Harlem Renaissance resources that I came across while doing the research project I mentioned earlier. Enjoy!

Library of CongressWilliam Gottlieb Collection – photographs of the Golden Age of Jazz

Poetry FoundationThe Harlem Renaissance Collection – poems from various authors broken up into important periods of the movement

National Gallery of ArtHarlem Renaissance – history and image set of art from the Harlem Renaissance


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