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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: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2016

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.

ebook of the month
The Paper Menagerie

The Paper Menagerie

Author: Ken Liu Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2016

Ken Liu has published almost 100 short stories and won nearly every genre award in existence. Here, he has selected his 15 favourite stories, including The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary (Finalist for Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Awards), Mono No Aware (Hugo Award winner), The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists).

ebook of the month
Sweet Home

Sweet Home

Author: Carys Bray Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/02/2016

They say there's no place like home. It's where the heart is...Meet the little boy who believes in miracles. Meet the mother who loves to bring babies home from the newborn aisle of her supermarket. Meet the husband who carves a longed-for baby out of ice as a gift for his wife. Meet the widow who is reminded of romance whilst standing at the kitchen sink.

ebook of the month
Single, Carefree, Mellow

Single, Carefree, Mellow

Author: Katherine Heiny Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/01/2016

'Katherine Heiny's work does something magical: elevates the mundane so that it has the stakes of a mystery novel, gives women's interior lives the gravity they so richly deserve - and makes you laugh along the way' Lena Dunham In the title story, we meet Maya, who is torn between her wryly funny boyfriend and the allure of her veterinarian. In Andorra, a woman's lover calls her every Thursday as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counselling. How to Give the Wrong Impression shows us a woman pining for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tell her that her palm is sweaty. In The Dive Bar a girl agrees to have a drink with her married lover's wife. Revisiting Maya in several stories, chronicling her various states of love, this is a collection about how we are unfaithful to each other, both wilfully and unwittingly. Populated with unwelcome house guests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, and flirtatious older men, the stories are emotionally astute, sexy, and disarming-and they introduce us to a tart, and marvellous, new voice.

ebook of the month
22 Dead Little Bodies and Other Stories

22 Dead Little Bodies and Other Stories

Author: Stuart MacBride Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/11/2015

From the No. 1 bestselling author of THE MISSING AND THE DEAD comes the short novel: 22 DEAD LITTLE BODIES, plus two short stories: STRAMASH and DI STEEL'S BAD HEIR DAY, and a novella: THE 45% HANGOVER, all featuring his most popular characters - DS Logan McRae and DCI Roberta Steel.

ebook of the month
Cockfosters

Cockfosters

Author: Helen Simpson Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Cockfosters is a funny, frank and forceful story collection dealing with ageing, ambition and the patterns of repetition and renewal found in long friendships and marriages. It opens irresistible new windows onto the world from Arizona to Dubai and from Moscow to Berlin. Turning both a panoramic and a zoom lens on the way we live now, these stories range through hitch-hiking in Bohemian forest-land to cresting the waves of the Aegean to the mending of hearts and the recovery of lost property at the end of the Piccadilly Line. Helen Simpson writes with great warmth, wit and candour about the complexities of modern life, and this new collection shows why she is hailed as one of the best short story writers at work in the world today.

ebook of the month
A Snow Garden and Other Stories

A Snow Garden and Other Stories

Author: Rachel Joyce Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2015

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
The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: II From P.G. Wodehouse to Zadie Smith

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: II From P.G. Wodehouse to Zadie Smith

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Hilarious, exuberant, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular, and above all unexpected: these two extraordinary volumes contain the limitless possibilities of the British short story. This is the first anthology capacious enough to celebrate the full diversity and energy of its writers, subjects and tones.

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.