When Tim O’Brien’s short story collection about Vietnam “The Things They Carried” appeared in 1990, it was the end of a journey that started with select stories being printed in Esquire and its title work being selected for the 1987 anthology of Best American Short Stories. Another journey started afterwards. It went on to sell more than 2 million copies worldwide; nearly won a Pulitzer; and found its way onto the reading list of high schools across the country. It’s considered one of the best works of Vietnam-war fiction out there. So it was only a matter of time that our Public Library would choose it for their annual “Santa Barbara Reads” program. The surprise is that they have now teamed up with Speaking of Stories to turn some of their stories into a special event this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
It wasn’t originally a part of Maggie Mixsell’s “Speaking of” series when they announced this season. But the library reached out to Ms. Mixsell’s business partner, Center Stage Theater’s Teri Ball, and it sounded like a good match. Ms. Mixsell, having put on the series for half of the two-decades-long run, knows a good short story when she reads one.