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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.

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
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
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
Trouble in Mind

Trouble in Mind

Author: Jeffery Deaver Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/03/2014

A cunning collection of short stories from the master of misdirection, including original tales featuring the hugely popular series characters Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance. TENSION ...An aging actor attempts to revive his career by entering a celebrity poker game for a reality TV show. Can he outwit his devious opponents, or is his fate doomed from the outset? CONSPIRACY ...A successful crime writer dies under seemingly natural circumstances, but for one cop, doubts are lingering. There's certainly motive for murder - or is there more to the case than meets the eye? MURDER ...Lincoln Rhyme is announced dead, shot by one of his suspects in cold blood. Is this the end of the line for the criminalist, or just another twist in the tale? King of suspense Jeffery Deaver grips with every page, setting out a devilishly clever path where nothing is as it seems. If you think you know the ending, think again ...

ebook of the month
Four Warned

Four Warned

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2014

**A Quick Read from the number one bestselling writer and author of Kane and Abel** These four short stories from a master storyteller are packed full of twists and turns. In Stuck on You, Jeremy finds out exactly the best way to steal the perfect ring for his fiancee. Albert celebrates his 100th birthday, and is pleased to be sent The Queen's Birthday Telegram. He is, however, confused ...In Russia, businessman Richard plots the ideal way to murder his wife. He begins to have a clever idea when his hotel warns him: Don't Drink the Water from the taps. And as Diana, a busy single mother, drives to have dinner with friends, she realises that a black van is following her. Soon terrified for her life, she does whatever it takes to stick to the warning given to drivers: Never Stop on the Motorway ...

ebook of the month
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

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.