The Compulsive Reader: Reading Rants: Short Story Love

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reading Rants: Short Story Love

I love short stories. I was totally the geeky kid in English class that paged through the gigantic textbook each year, peeking at all of the short stories listed, hoping that we got to read every single one. And as I got older, I definitely learned to appreciate the authors of short stories--they have to tell their story in a fraction of the amount of words it takes to make up a novel. I think that good short story writers are some of the most talented there are.

However...honestly, how many of you reading this blog post right now buy anthologies on a regular basis? Certainly there are some very interesting and worthwhile anthologies out there (Love is Hell, Zombies vs. Unicorns, The Poison Eaters), and they're great books to buy if you want to get a sampler for authors whose book you think you might want to read. But when it comes to spending the $10-$20 on a brand new book, I'm more likely to go for a full-length novel than for a collection of short stories, some of which I may not like at all.

Which is why I think that short stories and e-publishing might have a long, wonderful future together. Have you ever seen an anthology that contains a short story by an author you really love and wanted to read just that story without having to buy the entire book? Well...what if short stories were available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders in digital format? For a dollar or two, you could download short stories by your favorite authors or try a new author without having to spend a ton of money or buy an entire anthology. Plus, I know tons of authors whose works I love and have written short stories that are scattered about here and there in hard to find anthologies or online somewhere--Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, Tamora Pierce, Meg Cabot, and many more. I would totally download all of their short stories if they were available in a short story e-book format for my Kindle.

Some authors and publishers are already doing this, and I love it! Most recently, Carrie Ryan's short story "Hare Moon", which has appeared in a previous anthology, was made available for download about two weeks ago. It's set in the same world as her Forest of Hands and Teeth series, some years before the first book. When I went to Carrie's signing last March, she talked about and I was interested in reading it, but I never got around to grabbing that anthology it was in. I was able to download it and read it in about an hour, and it was lovely to return to that world again.

Similarly, Melissa Marr has a few short stories available for download that go along with her faerie series. They are "Old Habits" and "Stopping Time" (and if you haven't read her series, Wicked Lovely is available for only 99 cents right now). Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King, also has a short story available for $2.39, "Winter's Passage" that follows along with her series. Jenna Black's "Remedial Magic" is free, and is a bonus Faeriewalker story. Likewise, Shannon Delaney's "Beasts and BFFs" is a prequel story to 13 to Life and is free. And if you are a fan of Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series, download the prequel story "My Soul to Lose" for only $2!

There are tons of fun short stories out there that are related to some excellent books, and I hope you check them out! It's my hope that you all come to love short stories just as much as novels, because I think we're going to start seeing way more of them in future, especially with the introduction of Amazon's Kindle Singles and the popularity of inexpensive e-books among teen readers!

Do you have some favorite short stories? Tell me about them in the comments!


Tiffany said...

I used to do the same thing in English! I once read a short story by Tolstoy that was amazing...and have never been able to find it again. :( I'm loving some of these new anthologies: Kiss Me Deadly and Zombies v Unicorns were amazing.

Audrey said...

I love this post. I read a lot of anthologies, but check them out from the library. I just recently started downloading the short ebooks that are out there, including Hare Moon. Next anthology I want to read: Teeth.

The book girl said...

I loved Hare Moon and The Poison Eaters, but those are the only anthologies I've read. The other ones you mentioned look awesome though. Thanks for bringing my attention to them!

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Wrighty said...

I've always enjoyed short stories too. Besides reading my favorite authors, it's always a great way to sample some new ones. Thanks for the links. I look forward to reading them!