It’s been a tough year so far and if you, like me, have been struggling to focus when reading then hopefully this list of short fiction will help. It’ll also add a speed boost to your Goodreads goal too…
Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin (33 pages)
This tiny little story is part of the Forward collection, an Amazon Kindle exclusive set of short stories by a few incredible authors. I was most excited by Jemisin’s because, duh, she’s the best. Emergency Skin is often described as a story told by the nagging voice inside your head, the one that you spend your whole life trying to ignore. Instead in this story it’s the voice of an AI built into the head of a soldier from a distant off-earth colony… If you love Jemisin’s writing, then you will love this short lunchtime read.
A History of Capitalism According to the Jubilee Line by John O’Farrell (108 pages)
A few years ago, the Penguin Lines books came out to celebrate the anniversary of the London Underground and I’m very slowly making my way through them. A History of Capitalism is a witty imagining of what could happen if your Jubilee line train got stuck in a tunnel whilst Karl Marx and Margaret Thatcher argue on board… It’s weird, funny and short. Don’t think too much about it just go for it!
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (112 pages)
A classic?! I know. I don’t LOVE classics, but this is actually an extended essay based on a series of lectures that Woolf delivered at Cambridge University back in 1928. Woolf explores women as both writers and characters in fiction and asks some surprising questions about feminism and creativity. It was an interesting listen, and I would recommend the audiobook as it lends itself well to that format.
A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman (118 pages)
From the author of Bird Box comes a short weird horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. I won’t tell you much about the plot, as I think it will ruin too much for you, but what I can say is that you follow two teens on a canoeing date as they stumble upon something unexpected… This won’t be for everyone, but I think you should give it a go and then see what you think.
Tentacle by Rita Indiana, translated by Achy Obejas (132 pages)
Tentacle is impossible to explain. Honestly, once you’ve read it, you’ll get what I mean. It is crammed full of ideas and at times you won’t be sure what’s happening, but it all becomes clearer at the end. The author tackles sexuality, gender and queerness and crafts an exceptionally bizarre little story.
I have so many more short books that I can recommend but I’ll leave it there for today. Let me know if you’d like a part two! What’s your favourite short book?