Short on time but love to read? SHORT STORIES!!
I have to admit, I am one of the few in my circle of reading friends who enjoy short stories. Yes they are short. You don’t get that feeling of great accomplishment like when you read a chunkster nearing 500 pages. Yes, you might get invested in the plot line and the characters and then it ends. Not many neat and tidy endings unfortunately. Yes, at times they read more as poetry or in some case use fantasy (like in Stone Mattress and A Different Bed Every Time) and leave you feeling confused and inept as a reader. Sometimes they have titles like Women in Bed and you recommend them to a book group and the book group thinks they will be reading something entirely different and wonder what the heck you were thinking. (I enjoyed it by the way!)
All of the negatives against short stories are somewhat true. But I have been reading short stories since I could read. You all have too. Fairy Tales and Fables are in the short story family. It wasn’t until high school that I really got into them even more. I clearly remember reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Poe, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “A Good Man is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor and freaking out a bit. I loved them sooo much. In such a short amount of time, I was sucked in and left breathless at the end. The photo above has my very small collection of short stories but the top two I’ve held onto since my high school/college days. Stay tuned for my Tuesday post where I share my wish list for Christmas books and all the short stories I’d love to get from dear Old St. Nick.
So I still haven’t convinced you to give them a try? I’ve listed some great sites out there that offer FREE short stories to read. One site (American Literature) even has a “short story of the day”, which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. These are the ones I like the most:
Right now I’m reading these collections and must say I am very impressed so far.
That’s the beauty of short stories, you can read one and walk away to do something else. You can read another book at the same time and not get confused. They are like an episode of your favorite sitcom but without a reoccurring theme or characters. OK, they are a bit different, but you get the point. Heck, I’ve been working on the The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor for years and love coming back to it to find a new story to read. I don’t feel pressure to finish the book and can keep them on the nightstand and around the house and open one for a quick satisfying read. The best part to me is getting to sample an author’s writing range. Some collections can have similar themes and tone with stories linking to one another. Other collections read more as essays or vignettes dealing with whatever that author’s mind is creating on the page. I just love them and happy to be back discovering new short story writers.