Recently, in between books, and whilst reading meandering tales, I have indulged myself with several short stories. I have read M.R. James’s Canon Alberic’s scrapbook, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, and my reviews of them can be found at Goodreads respectively. I have also been reading several fairy tales, both by the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen.
The timing for short stories can be different for everyone. Some people save them for train journeys or holidays. Others find them useful for when they are unable to read for long periods of time or commit to focusing on one tale. They can be extremely useful bibliotherapy. They can be tasters for experimenting with different genres.
The ‘original’ fairy tales by the Grimms and Andersen are full of Christian morality, biblical references, greek mythology and pagan beliefs. Of course not all short stories come with a moral built in, but they do usually have a succinct message. In this way, they can be read with a cup of tea and provide the perfect ‘pick-me-up’, equip the narrator with the perfect campfire ghost story, or facilitate a patient’s passive medicinal purpose.
When you are having trouble finding your next good read, or just flinching at the notion of reading a whole book, why not pick up a short story.