What does the future hold?
Next Friday, I will be posting one of my own short stories. And I mean short. Weighing in at just under 1800 words (about 7 pages), Waiting for the Train is the shortest complete work I’ve written (well, at least since I made the decision that I wanted to be a writer). It tells the story of Marianne Jordano, an unhappily married woman at the end of her wits, waiting in a crowded subway station. Her train is running late, and Marianne is about to do something drastic.
But without further ado…
I met Jill Elizabeth at Book Blogs. If you’re a big reader, you would love this site (although it’s a little overwhelming if you’re a writer trying to promote your books). I liked this post of hers because I know there are many readers out there who are looking for a new book to read but maybe don’t have a lot of time on their hands.
I also like Jill because she isn’t afraid to take on the classics. Being in education, I’ve found that too many people revere the classics just because of their name, but while Jill has some classics in this list, in another post, she wasn’t afraid to bring up the topic of books that everyone was supposed to love that she just didn’t (entitled, “I Wanted to Like Them, I Swear I Did.”). Finally, she was kind enough to feature me on her blog as a guest with my post “Why do I like to write horror stories?”
Here’s Jill-Elizabeth’s official bio:
A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill-Elizabeth walked away from that world (well, skipped actually) and toward a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable). If you enjoyed this list, please visit her at Jill-Elizabeth.com, the official home of All Things Jill-Elizabeth – that is, all of the teehees, musings, rants, book reviews, writing exercises, and witticisms of her burgeoning writing career.
And now, seriously, without further ado…
Top Ten: Little Books with Big Stories
So, like everyone else I know, I never seem to have enough time to read anymore. This is annoying for many reasons, primarily because it means that the “to be read” pile continues to grow on what feels like an exponential scale. But also because of my reading challenges – one external and one internal. The external (111 in ’11) says I need to read (duh) 111 books this year. The internal doesn’t have a specific requirement, but does require that I look at statistical comparisons month-by-month between this year and the past nearly ten years.
I know, I know – I’ve complained about the difficulties of reading time and reading challenges in here before. But I’m going to do it again. With a twist. The twist: this time not only am I complaining about the lack of time for numerous and lengthy books, but I’m also providing a nifty solution to the problem. That is, today I will tell you how I turned a sneaky-ish way of increasing my finished-book count into some really great finds.
Here’s how it started: angered over declining statistics, our fearless heroine (c’est moi) decided to turn to her favorite source of all things information. Yup, she turned to Google. And what did she Google, you might ask? Teehee – she Googled “best short novels” of course. Teehee indeed, eh? Traditionally, I do not enjoy short books or stories, so many of the recommendations that Google turned up were new to me. Since I don’t usually like the short stuff so good, I decided to check a few of them out from the local library (hooray for the library, she said!), which was another great thing that came out of my pathetic need to perform well in a stated challenge/test.
I was pleasantly surprised to note how many of these very short books were worth more than their page-count would otherwise seem to indicate. Sure, a few of them suffered from my common complaint about short stories generally – the brief page/word count meant that occasionally the characters were not as fully developed as I would have liked, or the plot lines were relatively simple and/or twist-free. But a number of them really surprised me in a very good way.
So here you have it, some statistic-padding books for your own reading tally/challenge that I think you will enjoy not only for their brevity but also for their stories. Enjoy!
Top 10 Little Books with Big Stories
1. Reality and Dreams – Muriel Spark
2. The Man in the Picture – Susan Hill
3. The Prince – Machiavelli
4. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
5. The Stranger – Albert Camus
6. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
8. The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
9. Pale Horse, Pale Rider – Katherine Anne Porter
10. Coraline Movie Tie-in Edition – Neil Gaiman
What do I want from you?
What are your thoughts on these books? Liked them? Not so much? Are there any others you could add to this list? And if you like this list and Jill’s writing style, I would hope that you would pay her a visit at her own blog.
And don’t forget to check back next Friday for my short story, Waiting for the Train.