The most overused excuse from friends when asked why they don’t read… and honestly, it’s bullshit.
Look, I’m not saying spend your days reading Crime and Punishment, because that’s a brick of literature that would take anyone hours upon hours to get through, I just want my friends to realize that not all great literature has to be long and tedious. Here I’ve compiled a list of ten short stories, which are splendid reads, that you can easily get through during lunch time or your next coffee break. Included on the list are even some of my favorite authors of all time. And the best part about it is that they are all online for your reading pleasure (links included below). Get off Facebook and check out these short-short-stories, you won’t regret it.
1. Happy Endings by Margret Atwood – Different stories, different options, all with the same ending creeping up and biting you with sass. “So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun.”
2. The School by Donald Barthelme – Ah, more death, and lots of it. From the planted trees to the classroom puppy, death follows the narrator, a schoolteacher who says what he can to make it all seem unrelated.
3. The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury – The age-old question: what would you do the last night of the world? Bradbury leaves us with such a calm and serene look into a family’s last night. But really, I can’t tell if it leaves me calm or creeped out, either way, it’s a very interesting read.
4. Reunion by John Cheever – A reunion between son and father, 3-years removed, gone terribly wrong. The experience alone, without commentary, shows how an hour meeting can taint the son’s approach forever.
5. The Looking Glass by Anton Chekhov – Nellie looks into the mirror and sees a future event that startles her and puts her at a frenzy to save her husband’s life. Olden times sure were shitty.
6. The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin – What a nice way of looking at marriage, eh? Chopin loves feminist themes, and although I think she goes a little too far in this one, it does give an unsettling look into the prison that marriage can be.
7. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula Le Guin – One of the longer stories on this list (and still not long at all), Le Guin delves into the thought that some things might be more important that being happy.
8. Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway – “I feel fine,” those three little words uttered by any girl mean so much more than just three little words. This simple conversation, filled with desperation, is all about that elephant in the room.
9. Adams by George Saunders – An overprotective father, a neighbor who gets “wonked” over-and-over, and the unreliable narrator who makes you question who is in the right and who is the crazy one. This one is fun, typical Saunders.
10. Pygmalion by John Updike – They say every sentence should tell something, should move the story forward in some way, and Updike has a way of perfectly doing so in this short story. Pygmalion also has a way of making us think of past relationships, of who changed for whom, or who molded whom.
Click each title for link to the story. Enjoy.
– Nahuel F.A.