Short on time?

Even though summer is generally thought of as a time of leisure, many of us are still super busy and may not have time to indulge in novels for our recreational reading. When I feel myself running low on free time, I’ll switch over to short story collections until life slows down again.


Some assorted favorites:

McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon– a fiction anthology with an innovative, simple concept: the stories are driven by adventurous plots and narrative action, in contrast to the current trend toward stories that are “plotless and sparkling with epiphanic dew,” as Chabon writes in his introduction.*

Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King– Fourteen stories, most of them gems, featuring an array of literary approaches, plus an opinionated intro from King about the “(Almost) Lost Art” of the short story…No one does it better.*

Voodoo Heart by Scott Snyder– Suffused with sly humor, sympathy and high spirits, the stories in Voodoo Heart are giddy with the thrill of discovering what can be done with words, what you can make happen on the page. The result is as irreducible and rewarding as making playing cards disappear or pulling gold coins out of thin air.*

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 edited by Dave Eggers– 2002 was the inaugural year of this new Best American series by Houghton. The stories in this anthology are culled for readers between 15 and 25, but it’s a strong, interesting collection of voices that doesn’t condescend to its “young adult” audience.

The Best American Comics 2006 edited by Harvey Pekar– The idea of Houghton Mifflin’s distinguished Best American series turning to the comics would once have seemed unlikely, but the powerful narratives in this collection prove why it’s a good idea. Editors Pekar (American Splendor) and Moore (Punk Planet magazine) concentrate on the graphic equivalents of literary fiction and essays, and the best results are haunting.*

In addition to these titles, there are always the classic favorites: Anton Chekhov, Raymond Carver, Fyodor Dostoevsky, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Baldwin…but, I figured it might be more fun to mention some lighter and potentially unfamiliar titles that are perfect for the summertime.


Batgirl was a librarian!~Tricia is the youth librarian at OWL and loves books, movies, knitting, blogging, Motown, Puccini operas and learning how to be a better cook.

*These synopses were taken from Publisher’s Weekly reviews.  I’ve read all of these titles and heartily endorse them, but with Summer Reading in full swing I decided to use the concise, clever comments of reviewers to aid me in finishing this post in a timely manner.  =)

2 thoughts on “Short on time?

  1. I second your endorsement of The Best American Nonrequired Reading. It has a wonderfully eclectic selection. I also have McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, though I haven’t been able to get very far. Some of the stories are a bit darker and deal with more serious material than I’d thought. It is, however, refreshing to see the short story written in such a way again.
    And King’s Everything’s Eventual is especially relevant this summer, isn’t it? Isn’t the short story “1408” – the short story on which the movie is based – included in the collection?

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