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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.

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.

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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.

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Homesick for Another World

Homesick for Another World

Author: Ottessa Moshfegh Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/01/2017

What makes these stories so moving is the emotional balance that Moshfegh achieves - the way she exposes the limitless range of self-deception that human beings can employ while, at the same time, infusing the grotesque and outrageous with tenderness and compassion. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful, but beauty comes from strange sources, and the dark energy surging through these stories is oddly and powerfully invigorating. Moshfegh has been compared to Flannery O'Connor, Jim Thompson, Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith but her voice and her mastery of language and tone are unique. One of the most gifted and exciting young writers in America, she shows us uncomfortable things, and makes us look at them forensically - until we find, suddenly, that we are really looking at ourselves.

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The Burning Ground

The Burning Ground

Author: Adam O'Riordan Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/01/2017

A masterful debut short story collection from the award-winning, critically-acclaimed poet Adam O'Riordan. A man visits his long-distance lover in Los Angeles and forges an unexpected bond with a fellow traveller on the way; a teenager interviews a businessman for his school newspaper and their paths continue to cross, throughout life; the foreman of a desert building project embarks on a journey down the Pacific Coast Highway and into California's underworld when his employer's daughter goes missing; a lonely widower reflects on the past and confronts a disturbing and long suppressed memory; a divorced father tries to reconnect with his son on a hunting trip; an artist finds peace in exile after the disintegration of an affair; and itinerant Brits discuss love and acting in downtown LA.

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Christmas Days 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days

Christmas Days 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days

Author: Jeanette Winterson Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/11/2016

There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There's a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There's a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside. There's a haunted house and a SnowMama. There are Yuletides and holly wreaths. Three Kings. And a merry little Christmas time. And for the icing on the Christmas cake, there are twelve festive recipes from Yuletides past and present. Red cabbage, gravlax, turkey biryani, sherry trifle, Mrs Winterson's mince pies and more.

ebook of the month
A Snow Garden and Other Stories

A Snow Garden and Other Stories

Author: Rachel Joyce Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2016

A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit. The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son's Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage. Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth...The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing? A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it. I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas. Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground ...Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.

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.