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Shorter Reads

Want to read a story with all the depth, questions and quality of a novel, written by highly skilled writers in about 5% of the space? Short stories can be heartbreaking, mysterious and incredibly detailed; for a perfectly formed, bite-sized smorgasbord of stories, browse our Short Story recommendations here.

Forgotten Fitzgerald Echoes of a Lost America

Forgotten Fitzgerald Echoes of a Lost America

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sarah Churchwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/11/2014

A whimsical dance through a different era, Sarah Churchwell offers us a beautiful collection of short stories from F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald died at the age of 44 believing he was out of vogue and out of time, however his stories still have the ability to engage today. Fascinating and evocative, these tales transport you to the early part of the twentieth century where war, recession, racial polices, and the gap between social classes were all challenging the American Dream. Fitzgerald is a skilful and engaging social commentator on this time and Sarah Churchwell has chosen a completely captivating range of his stories. 

ebook of the month
Six Stories and an Essay

Six Stories and an Essay

Author: Andrea Levy Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/10/2014

 None of my books is just about race, Levy has said. They're about people and history. Her novels have triumphantly given voice to the people and stories that might have slipped through the cracks in history. From Jamaican slave society in the nineteenth century, through post-war immigration into Britain, to the children of migrants growing up in '60s London, her books are acclaimed for skilful storytelling and vivid characters. And her unique voice, unflinching but filled with humour, compassion and wisdom, has made her one of the most significant and exciting contemporary authors. This collection opens with an essay about how writing has helped Andrea Levy to explore and understand her heritage. She explains the context of each piece within the chronology of her career and finishes with a new story, written to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. As with her novels, these stories are at once moving and honest, deft and humane, filled with insight, anger at injustice and her trademark lightness of touch.

ebook of the month
Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit and Other Stories

Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit and Other Stories

Author: P. G. Wodehouse Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/10/2014

A baker's dozen of P.G. Wodehouse's finest short stories.Aunts, engagements, misunderstandings and hangover cures; this delightful collection from 'the greatest chronicler of a certain kind of Englishness'. Julian Fellowes brings together a baker's dozen of P. G. Wodehouse's finest short stories. This beautiful edition includes tales related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of the Angler's Rest; the Oldest Member at the Golf Club; the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge and, of course, the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. Features: Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit (Very Good, Jeeves); One Touch of Nature (The Man With Two Left Feet); The Ordeal of Young Tuppy (Very Good, Jeeves); Ukridge's Dog College (Ukridge); The Story of William (Meet Mr Mulliner); Uncle Fred Flits By (Young Men in Spats); How's That, Umpire (Nothing Serious); Honeysuckle Cottage (Meet Mr Mulliner); The Spot of Art (Very Good, Jeeves); The Heel o Achilles (The Clicking of Cuthbert); Indian Summer of an Uncle (Very Good, Jeeves); Romance at Droitgate Spa (Eggs, Beans and Crumpets); and Sundered Hearts (The Clicking of Cuthbert).

The New Collected Short Stories

The New Collected Short Stories

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/10/2014

This edition brings together three of Jeffrey Archer's classic collections of short stories: To Cut a Long Story Short, Cat O' Nine Tales and And Thereby Hangs a Tale, showcasing the master storyteller's skill like never before. Every reader will have their own favourites: the choices run from love at first sight across the train tracks to the cleverest of confidence tricks, from the quirks of the legal profession - and those who are able to manipulate both sides of the Bar - to the creative financial talents of a member of Her Majesty's diplomatic service - but for a good cause. In 'Caste-Off', Jamwal and Nisha fall in love while waiting for a traffic light to turn green in Delhi, and in 'Don't Drink The Water', a company chairman tries to poison his wife while on a trip to St Petersburg - with unexpected consequences ...The stories held in these pages are irresistible: ingeniously plotted, with richly drawn characters and deliciously unexpected conclusions.

ebook of the month
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

Author: Hilary Mantel Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/09/2014

A brilliant - and rather transgressive - collection of short stories from the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies'. Hilary Mantel is one of Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed writers. In these ten bracingly subversive tales, all her gifts of characterisation and observation are fully engaged, summoning forth the horrors so often concealed behind everyday facades. Childhood cruelty is played out behind the bushes in 'Comma'; nurses clash in 'Harley Street' over something more than professional differences; and in the title story, staying in for the plumber turns into an ambiguous and potentially deadly waiting game. Whether set in a claustrophobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road in Greece, these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit. Displaying all of Mantel's unmistakable style and wit, they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powers.

ebook of the month
Rogues

Rogues

Author: George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/08/2014

Rogues is a meaty feast of a book, stuffed full of fabulous stories from some of the best authors around (George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman to name just a couple). This isn't just about science fiction and fantasy either, there’s some great mainstream contemporary works on show too. There are twenty one stories, proper weighty stories, full of content and some of the most interesting characters around. Once you start reading, it’s difficult to stop as the next story gives a siren call to dive straight in.  So…if you've always loved to hiss and boo at an irresistibly wicked and sometimes charming villain, this is the perfect book for you.

ebook of the month
Stone Mattress Nine Tales

Stone Mattress Nine Tales

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/08/2014

Atwood is able to subtly weave a sledgehammer of a story, here are nine tales with themes ranging from revenge to resignation, from grace to greed and all connected by the wheel of time and change. If you haven't read any of her previous works, this is the perfect place to start; a story might link in to another, one might be very short, another dipping a toe into a fantasy realm. You will undoubtedly have your favourite stories and characters, and that is part of the charm, the wit, the clever competent writing. This is also the perfect place to start if short stories are unchartered territory, as you will most definitely not feel short changed by this wonderful collection. 

There is a real skill in being able to conjure a whole life in just a few pages, to be able to leave a reader with an enduring feeling in just a short time. Here you will find lasting stories about life the universe and everything, from authors you already know as novelists and some that will be knew and welcome friends. We love a good short story, not just because they provide great reading in bite-size chunks - perfect for the trip to work, or a moment when you just want a small piece of brilliance in your life – but also because they are (if they are good) a perfect piece of art, capturing the human condition in a snapshot that stays with the reader for much longer than it took to write. As Graham Greene put it; “a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Dog.” From Chekhov to Julian Barnes via a whole host of other perfectionists, we have hand-picked the very best of short story collections for readers of all tastes.