When a Novel is Just Too Much: Short Story Recommendations
After several exciting years of following Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, I decided to volunteer to create a "warm up" post this season; my short story recommendations appeared on the Readathon blog earlier this week, but I thought I'd share them here, as well, for those of you who might be interested.
Trying to pin down exactly when I fell in love with short stories has proven difficult; for me, they fill a very specific reading need. The spring edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon begins tomorrow (find your start time here) and this might be the perfect opportunity for you to fall in love, if you haven’t already!
When life seems especially chaotic and full of distractions (so, every day?), short story collections allow me that satisfying feeling of starting and finishing something in a limited amount of time; they also make for great palate cleansers between books, when moving from one genre to another, or on days when you just need a quick break. During the Readathon, I like to have a couple of collections at the ready so that I can shift gears and not get burned out on longer reads. Here are a few of my favorites!
Tenth of December by George Saunders - If you are familiar with his work (most recently, Lincoln in the Bardo), you know that his writing is always unique and electrifying; this collection is a powerful combination of insightful observations, hilarious prose and unsettling subject matter.
The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora - If you are a fan of somewhat dark, borderline "weird" tales that take place in the most unsuspecting environments (suburbia, for example), then you MUST read this collection. I can guarantee that there will be times when you finish one of these stories and you find yourself leaning back in your seat, saying, "Whoa." I mean that in the best way possible.
Why They Run the Way They Do by Susan Perabo - To say that I was moved by this collection would be a monumental understatement; several days after finishing, I was still thinking about a couple of the stories and I'd really like to go back and reread the entire collection. Magnificent writing on the triumphs and tragedies of daily life, a collection of stories with plenty of intelligent humor thrown in to keep it from becoming gloomy.
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson - A Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, his ruminations on post-Katrina New Orleans are most powerful, and eye-opening
I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley - Urban life in the context of one who can’t quite get it right, Crosley’s stories are both relatable and hilarious; I highly recommend her work and can hardly wait to read her new collection, Look Alive Out There (it's in my Readathon stack!).
It Looked Different on the Model by Laurie Notaro - Stories from her own life, especially one about “Ambien Laurie,” that I guarantee will have you laughing out loud; this one will help you get through those tough, waning hours of the readathon or any moment when you need a break from the stress of daily life!
Do you read short stories? Share some of your favorites!