Reading is so personal. You can read the most amazing book and then lend it to a friend only to find that they never pick it up. And vice versa.
But that's just fine. The writer Doris lessing is credited with saying:
“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. ”
With this lovely thought from Dorris in mind, I have created a small list of short stories to share with you in the hope that you may find one or two that suit you well!
With all good wishes for the Summer,
Soul Food, Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds, Collected by Neil Astley.
This is a really lovely poetry anthology made up of mainly spiritual, mindful, devotional, philosophical and mystical poems drawn from round the world in many ages.
Checkhov, The Lottery Ticket
What would you do if you won the lotto? Would you trade in your partner for a life of travel 'in the society of light, careless women who live in the present.' Would you trust your nearest and dearest not to nab the money? Or, is your life quite lovely already without the win? This is a fab short story which encourages people to consider the riches right under their feet. ( Read it online for free here)
Doris lessing, Through the tunnel (Here)
A single mum and son go on holiday and he explores his independence by making new friends and swimming through a large hole in a reef. It's quite touching, especially for parents or anyone who has ever ventured off on holiday as a young person and come back as a grown up.
Audrey Niffenengger, Moths Of The New World
An amazing fantasy tale about books that come to life. Totally wonderful and very imaginative.
( Read it online for free here)
O'Henry, Schools And Schools
A great tale of youth, family, being in relationship and navigating love triangles. O'Henry has a really funny tone of writing. I love this little excerpt below:
"For a quarter of a minute Barbara looked at Nevada with a strange steadfastness; and then a smile so small that it widened her mouth only the sixteenth part of an inch, and narrowed her eyes no more than a twentieth, flashed like an inspired thought across her face.
Since the beginning no woman has been a mystery to another woman. Swift as light travels, each penetrates the heart and mind of another, sifts her sister's words of their cunningest disguises, reads her most hidden desires, and plucks the sophistry from her wiliest talk like hairs from a comb, twiddling them sardonically between her thumb and fingers before letting them float away on the breezes of fundamental doubt."
(Read it online for free here)
Phillip. K . Dick, Orpheus With Clay Feet
Taken from a collection of sci-fi short stories, this one is all about a time travel. It asks: if you could go back in time and influence someone prominent - who would it be, and what would be the wider consequences?
It's not necessarily a heavy read, but I did find it to be a bit dense and wordy. But it's worth it! Phill also wrote the Minority Report, Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, which have all been turned into modern films.
Joanne Harris, Jiggs And Reels
Joanne Harris is a modern writer. She is well known for her book Chocolat, which was turned into a film staring Johnny Depp. This book of short stories is easy to read and fun. There is a nice review here. Short stories from this book that have gone down well in our reading group are: The Ugly Sister, Breakfast At Tescos, and Tea With The Birds.