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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.

Orsinia Malafrena, Orsinian Tales

Orsinia Malafrena, Orsinian Tales

Author: Ursula K. Le Guin Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/06/2017

Among the less-traveled mountains and plains of Central Europe, a little east of Austria perhaps and north of Slovenia, lies the old kingdom of Orsinia. A land of forests and quiet farmlands and towns, with its capital city Krasnoy on the broad Molsen River, Orsinia has always found itself, like all the countries of Europe, subject to forces beyond its borders. Yet, cast as they are in the shadow of tyrannies both Western and Eastern, the lives and dreams of its free people are no less important than the great arguments of Europe's emperors and dictators. Here then are those lives: in tales of romance and blood-lust, hope and fear, freedom and tyranny, passion and despair.

Bleaker House Chasing My Novel to the End of the World

Bleaker House Chasing My Novel to the End of the World

Author: Nell Stevens Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/2017

'My favourite debut of 2017 ...as funny as it is poignant' Lena Dunham When Nell Stevens was given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel, she was determined to rid herself of all distractions. So Nell decided to travel to Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands where she would write 2,500 words a day. But Bleaker House is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a young woman realising that the way to writing fiction doesn't necessarily lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nor does it lie in a daily ration of 1085 calories, no means of contacting the outside world and a slow descent towards something that feels worryingly like madness ...

ebook of the month
No Middle Name: Jack Reacher Story Collection The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories

No Middle Name: Jack Reacher Story Collection The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories

Author: Lee Child Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/05/2017

A brand-new novella, Too Much Time, is included, as are those previously only published in ebook form: Second Son, James Penney's New Identity, Guy Walks Into a Bar, Deep Down, High Heat, Not a Drill and Small Wars. Added to these is every other Reacher short story that Child has written: Everyone Talks, Maybe They Have a Tradition, No Room at the Motel and The Picture of the Lonely Diner. Read together, these twelve stories shed new light on Reacher's past, illuminating how he grew up and developed into the wandering avenger who has captured the imagination of millions around the world.

Men Without Women Stories

Men Without Women Stories

Author: Haruki Murakami Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/05/2017

I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.

ebook of the month
The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A dream house that is hiding something sinister; two women having lunch who share a husband; an old woman doing her weekly supermarket shop with a secret past that no one could guess; a couple who don't know each other at all even after fifteen years together; and, in the story from which this collection takes its name, a bird and a servant girl in ancient Pompeii who cannot converse, but share a perfect understanding.

ebook of the month
That's Your Lot

That's Your Lot

Author: Brian Limond aka Limmy Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/05/2017

Tom is in a soft play with his daughters. He's bored. He's so bored he can move things with his mind. A man fills up a mate's biscuit tin without ever telling him, to see what happens. Maggie's boyfriend Iain bought a curtain. It keeps attacking them. She wants it out the house. A man is sitting in his wheelie bin at two in the morning, and he wants to tell you why. Kenny's mate Scott is suicidal and ridden with guilt. Kenny takes him on holiday to Benidorm. It'll be some laugh.

ebook of the month
Reader, I Married Him

Reader, I Married Him

Author: Tracy Chevalier Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/04/2017

A collection of short stories celebrating Charlotte Bronte, published in the year of her bicentenary and stemming from the now immortal words from her great work Jane Eyre. The twenty-one stories in Reader, I Married Him - one of the most celebrated lines in fiction - are inspired by Jane Eyre and shaped by its perennially fascinating themes of love, compromise and self-determination. A bohemian wedding party takes an unexpected turn for the bride and her daughter; a family trip to a Texan waterpark prompts a life-changing decision; Grace Poole defends Bertha Mason and calls the general opinion of Jane Eyre into question. Mr Rochester reveals a long-kept secret in Reader, She Married Me , and The Mirror boldly imagines Jane's married life after the novel ends. A new mother encounters an old lover after her daily swim and inexplicably lies to him, and a fitness instructor teaches teenage boys how to handle a pit bull terrier by telling them Jane Eyre's story. Edited by Tracy Chevalier, this collection brings together some of the finest and most creative voices in fiction today, to celebrate and salute the strength and lasting relevance of Charlotte Bronte's game-changing novel and its beloved narrator.

ebook of the month
Invisible Planets Collected Fiction

Invisible Planets Collected Fiction

Author: Hannu Rajaniemi Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/03/2017

Mindblowingly inventive and beautifully written short stories from the most exciting new name in SF Hannu Rajaniemi exploded onto the SF scene in 2010 with the publication of his first novel The Quantum Thief. Acclaimed by fellow authors such as Charles Stross, Adam Roberts and Alastair Reynolds and brilliantly reviewed everywhere from Interzone to the Times and the Guardian he swiftly established a reputation as an author who could combine extraordinary cutting edge science with beautiful prose and deliver it all with wit, warmth and a delight in the fun of storytelling. It is exactly these qualities that are showcased in this his first collection of short stories.

ebook of the month
All the Beloved Ghosts

All the Beloved Ghosts

Author: Alison Macleod Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/03/2017

Acutely observed, evocative collection of short stories from the Man Booker Prize-longlisted author of Unexploded,blending fiction, biography and memoir Hovering on the border of life and death, these stories form a ground-shifting collection, taking us into history, literature and the hidden lives of iconic figures. In 1920s Nova Scotia, as winter begins to thaw, a woman emerges from mourning and wears a new fur coat to a dance that will change everything. A teenager searches for his lover on a charged summer evening in 2011, as around him London erupts in anger. A cardiac specialist lingers on the edge of consciousness as he awaits a new heart - and is transported to an attic room half a century ago. In an ancient Yorkshire churchyard, the author visits Sylvia Plath's grave and makes an unexpected connection across time. On a trip to Brighton, reluctant jihadists face the ultimate spiritual test. And at Charleston, Angelica Garnett, child of the Bloomsbury Group, is overcome by the past, all the beloved ghosts that spring to life before her eyes.

ebook of the month
American Housewife

American Housewife

Author: Helen Ellis Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/02/2017

Meet the women of American Housewife...They smoke their eyes and paint their lips. They channel Beyonce while doing household chores. They drown their sorrows with Chanel No. 5 and host book clubs where chardonnay trumps Charles Dickens. They redecorate. And they are quietly capable of kidnapping, breaking and entering, and murder. These women know the rules of a well-lived life: replace your tights every winter, listen to erotic audio books while you scrub the bathroom floor, serve what you want to eat at your dinner parties, and accept it: you're too old to have more than one drink and sleep through the night.

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.