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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.
A compelling, adventurous, and somewhat quirky tale of the sea. When a small Scottish town is cut off by heavy snow in 1967, the skipper of the Girl Maggie and others in the fishing fleet set sail for supplies. Forming a ‘tale from Kinloch’ you actually don’t need to have read the DCI Daley Series to enjoy this novella. It is set years before DCI Daley enters town, and features Hamish (one of my favourite characters from the series), though this is before he is the fully formed Hamish of today! If you already know and love the series then this will be a must-read for you. You’ll recognise names and places but meet a whole new crowd of residents. As usual Denzil Meyrick paints a vividly vibrant picture that you can step straight into. There are some mystical touches of otherworldliness to be discovered along the way that really appealed to me, as did Sandy and the lobster! Amusing and entertaining, A Large Measure of Snow would make a perfect stocking filler for all the Denzil Meyrick fans out there.
Sittenfeld's wryly hilarious and insightful new collection, HELP YOURSELF, illuminates human experience and gracefully upends our assumptions about class and race, envy and disappointment, gender dynamics and celebrity. Suburban friends fall out after a racist encounter at a birthday party is caught on video and posted on Facebook; an illustrious Manhattan film crew are victims of their own snobbery when they underestimate a pre-school teacher from the Mid-West; and a group of young writers fight about love and narrative style as they compete for a prestigious bursary. Connecting each of these three stories is Sittenfeld's truthful yet merciless eye, as her characters stagger from awkwardness, to humiliation and, if they're lucky, to reconciliation. Full of tenderness and compassion, this dazzling collection celebrates our humanity in all its pettiness and glory.
A stunning collection of essays and memoir from twice Booker Prize winner and international bestseller Hilary Mantel, author of The Mirror and the Light In 1987, when Hilary Mantel was first published in the London Review of Books, she wrote to the editor, Karl Miller, ‘I have no critical training whatsoever, so I am forced to be more brisk and breezy than scholarly.’ This collection of twenty reviews, essays and pieces of memoir from the next three decades, tells the story of what happened next. Her subjects range far and wide: Robespierre and Danton, the Hite report, Saudi Arabia where she lived for four years in the 1980s, the Bulger case, John Osborne, the Virgin Mary as well as the pop icon Madonna, a brilliant examination of Helen Duncan, Britain’s last witch. There are essays about Jane Boleyn, Charles Brandon, Christopher Marlowe and Margaret Pole, which display the astonishing insight into the Tudor mind we are familiar with from the bestselling Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her famous lecture, ‘Royal Bodies’, which caused a media frenzy, explores the place of royal women in society and our imagination. Here too are some of her LRB diaries, including her first meeting with her stepfather and a confrontation with a circus strongman. Constantly illuminating, always penetrating and often very funny, interleaved with letters and other ephemera gathered from the archive, Mantel Pieces is an irresistible selection from one of our greatest living writers
Missing a Beat and Other Stories is a varied collection of short stories. There are 11 different short stories, spanning a variety of genres although contain a similar thread. Each of the main characters seemed a little bit broken in their own way, with additional obstacles and challenges to face. I like the variety within this different collection of short stories, this is a book that you could return to, dipping in and out to find a story to suit your mood. Each short story is well-developed and the characters within them are nuanced and well written. Each story draws you in with fresh questions about what has happened and what will happen. I paused between each story to ponder the events. My favourite story was ‘Out of Sync’, the setting, description and atmosphere really brought this story leaping off the page for me, and I especially like the added touch of the bobble head, it added both whimsy and foreboding and was a good example of small detail bringing everything vibrantly to a life. A great short story collection that I would recommend and return to in the future.
A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits' Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind. In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend, where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem . . . Illustrated throughout by Tom Duxbury, the perfect re-entry for fans of His Dark Materials and a wonderful companion to The Book of Dust.
Winner of the 2014 Guardian First Book Award. Winner of the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. This magnificent collection takes us to Glanbeigh, a small town in rural Ireland - a town in which the youth have the run of the place. Colin Barrett's debut does not take us to Glanbeigh alone; there are other towns, and older characters. But each story is defined by a youth lived in a crucible of menace and desire - and each crackles with the uniform energy and force that distinguish this terrific collection.
Winner of the 2014 Guardian First Book Award. Boy racers speed down the back lanes; couples haunt the midnight woods; young skins huddle in the cold once. The Peacock has closed its doors. Here the young live hard and wear the scars. It matters whose sister you were seen with. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it matters a very great deal.
Fifteen short stories, his first collection since 1997 although only five are new. The other ten have been either broadcast and then printed or published in magazines. He is a very fine writer teasing out the idiosyncrasies of his characters in ordinary circumstances, all is neat and tidy and as it should be, beautifully described and then suddenly there is an underlying menace. If you are a short story fan these are glorious. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'These stories are a slight departure for Galley Beggar Press. We generally champion less well know writers and - as I’m guessing you already know - DJ Taylor has already made his reputation. It’s also a departure because it's our first collection of short stories. Part of the reason we’ve published it is because we believe that short stories deserve more coverage. This is a book that proves how artistically important and rewarding the form can be. But the main reason we’ve put it out there is simply that it’s bloody good. We love these stories. They’re moving and resonant and quietly haunting - as well as often very funny. Hopefully people will be enjoying them for many years to come.' Sam Jordison, Galley Beggar Press
Woman is a 50-page sledgehammer collection of short stories that highlight the struggles, rituals and abuse endured by cis-women across cultures. This is not an easy read and I have to say I had difficulty getting through it, because of the topics covered. It is very well-written and each short story is concise, striking at the heart of the sometimes harrowing topic. It made me wince more than a couple of times as I read. There are a number of events described in quite explicit detail and this book will not be for everyone. Woman is described as a collection of stories that focus on the strength of women, I would agree with this but would include “in the face of intense pain and suffering”. This book powerfully highlights the struggles, pain, injustices faced by women and girls worldwide, but at the end of each story in this collection, the women endure, survive and show hope for the future. I think the final message of hope helped to alleviate how intense the darker moments are. I liked that additional information and facts at the end of the book, and I think that this helps to highlight the importance of this book. I think that is how I would describe this book, it’s important. Woman highlights struggles and events that can’t be shied away from just because they make us uncomfortable.
Us & Everything Else is a collection of poems and short stories by Francoise Helene, in which the author explores her feelings about many different aspects of her life. Covering topics from love and loss, pain and healing to joy and wonder, self-appreciation and inner strength. There are also atmospheric black and white illustrations used throughout which are lovely. The poetry is in free form and the reader will relate to it on a very deep level. Each poem is written from the heart and truly inspiring. Francoise has made herself vulnerable when creating Us & Everything Else so that we may share her connection with the world and indeed the universe. I would challenge anyone not to be moved by these beautiful poems with their amazing imagery. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories that are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing. Alternatingly whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game - and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have.
August 2015 Book of the Month. Deaver’s third collection of short stories contains twelve pieces and every one one of them a gem of a read full of clever plotting, surprise, tension and the occasional 'I never saw that coming' moments. Six are new; one Lincoln Rhyme, one Kathryn Dance, one John Pellam and three stand-alones. Two of the older ones, The Therapist and Forever, border on the occult and one, Paradise, with its terrific twist, is the author’s favourite. It is in fact a wonderful introduction to his work that we are pretty sure you'll quickly get hooked on.
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 ...
One of our Books of the Year 2015. It is almost impossible to talk about how good Neil Gaiman’s writing is in a short review like this; once started it is hard to stop. He is wonderful. Truly. Dark, mystical, poetic, surprising; one of the greatest living writers we have. I am so in love with his brain it’s crazy. There is nothing that does not happen or cannot exist. His lyrical prose pulls you in and takes you willingly to impossible places. Remember to read the whole thing; notes, introduction, epilogues, everything, because he hides beautiful secrets in the bits that can be boring from other authors. He is amazing, an international treasure. These stories are creepy and beautiful, dark and hopeful, with hidden twists and layers you do not expect. Like I said, it is good. Really good. And check out his other works; his first story collection was Smoke and Mirrors. February 2015 eBook of the Month.
In 1919 Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. In 1845 Frederick Douglass, a black American slave, lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet. And in 1998 Senator George Mitchell criss-crosses the ocean in search of an elusive Irish peace. Stitching these stories intricately together, Colum McCann sets out to explore the fine line between what is real and what is imagined, and the tangled skein of connections that make up our lives.
November 2012 Book of the Month. Linking a group of passengers on a Edinburgh to London train, this is an exquisitely produced pocket-sized edition of his latest book and it’s a perfect gift or stocking filler. Four passengers meet on a train and exchange stories of love and railways. Poignant stories full of warmth, romance and charm.
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.