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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.

Monsters in the Heart

Monsters in the Heart

Author: Stephen Volk Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2013

A giant ape... A heartless priest... A descent into depravity under London... An immortal hound... A baby thrown up by the sea... A Voodoo prayer... A legend made flesh in the eyes of a terrified child... Monsters come in all shapes and sizes... From human individuals with an evil streak or deeply aberrant nature, to those who are simply physically wrong. From beasts of the imagination to modern myths from the big screen... In these 15 stories representing the very best recent fiction by the writer of TV's GHOSTWATCH and AFTERLIFE and the acclaimed novella WHITSTABLE, you will meet all the things that made our childhoods terrifying - and bearable... "Others had Bobby Moore or Elvis. We had Christopher Lee and Quatermass. We had monsters in our hearts forever..." ... Containing two never-before-published stories.

Actors Anonymous

Actors Anonymous

Author: James Franco Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/10/2013

Inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, Actors Anonymous is a dark, genre-bending work that mixes memoir and pure invention in an audacious examination of celebrity, acting and the making of fiction. Actors Anonymous is unsettling, funny and personal - a series of stories told in many forms: a McDonald's drive-thru operator who spends his shift trying on accents; an ex-child star recalling a massive beachside bacchanal; hospital volunteers putting a camera in the hands of a patient obsessed with horror films; a vampire-flick starlet who discovers a cryptic book written by a famous actor, who may have killed his father and gone on the run. The book contains profound insights into the nature and purpose of acting. Franco mercilessly turns his 'James Franco' persona inside out while, at the same time, providing a fascinating meditation on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess. 'Hollywood has always been a private club,' he writes. 'I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, Look inside.' Franco's writing is vivid and disturbing, but what distinguishes his work is the great compassion he extends towards his characters, who he presents in all their raw humanity, while at the same time providing insight into their deeper selves.

ebook of the month
The Story Love, Loss & The Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories

The Story Love, Loss & The Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories

Author: Victoria Hislop Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Witty, heartbreaking, shocking, satirical: the short story can excite or sadden, entice or repulse. The one thing it can never be is dull. Now Victoria Hislop, passionate ambassador for the art of the short story, has collected 100 stories from her favourite women writers into one volume. Here are Man Booker Prize winners and Nobel Laureates, well-known feminists and famous wits, national treasures and rising stars. All handpicked by one of the nation's best-loved novelists, there's a story for every mood, mind-set and moment in life. Featuring an all star cast of authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, Penelope Fitzgerald, Miranda July, Doris Lessing, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro, Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf, The Story is the biggest and most beautiful collectino of women's short fictino in print today.

ebook of the month
Reality, Reality

Reality, Reality

Author: Jackie Kay Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/06/2013

The women of Reality, Reality are mesmerizing, whether in love or in solitude. Full of compassion, generosity, sorrow and joy, their fifteen unforgettable stories explore the power of the imagination to make things real, and celebrate, most of all, those who dare to dream.

ebook of the month

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.