Buy one, get 10 free …

In these trying times of economic uncertainty, many of us are looking for ways to maximise efficiency and return on investment, while minimising risk and limiting the possibility of failure.

How many of us have vivid memories of running into the library to grab that perfect summer read, only to discover once home again that the perfect book is not:  that all that time and energy and effort were for naught.  Not only that, but another trip to the library is now necessary, and with an increased fear of failure to grapple with.

Fear not, intrepid investors!  The library has the perfect solution – Short Stories.  That’s right, audience, you heard me.  For decades regarded as the poor cousin of ‘real books’, these polished little beauties offer all the excitement and intrigue of a novel, but with so many added advantages.  Let me explain.

Firstly, they’re short.  This means that instead of plowing your way through one hefty novel, taking days, weeks or even months, you can polish off a short story in your tea-break, a couple over dinner, and a few more before bedtime.  You can start, middle and finish a dozen or more tales in the time it would normally take you to get to chapter 6 of a ‘normal’ book.  Imagine the surprise and amazement of your friends and family when you proudly proclaim that you read 12 stories over the weekend. 

Secondly, they’re space-efficient.  The container for short story collections is the same as for a novel, but with so much added portability.  Slip just one anthology into your bag, and you’re ready for anything!

Thirdly, they minimise risk.  Don’t like a story?  Just turn the page and you can start again, with a completely new concept.  Don’t like the author?  If you’ve been doubly clever and taken an anthology, you have a whole book full of different authors – you can pick and choose the ones you like while leaving the others where they are.

Fourthly, they sound posh.  Literary, even.  “What are you reading?”  “Oh, this?  It’s just a little collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors.”  “Ooohh, posh!”

Still not convinced?  Come by the library and try one out.  Heck, we’ll even let you take 30!  That’s potentially up to 700 short stories, or more!  And all risk-free.  Bring them back within four weeks, and we guarantee no charge at all. 

Need a bit of help?  Here’s few suggestions of places to start:

Begin with your favourite author, or a literary great:  Mansfield, Poe, Asimov, Bradbury, Dahl, Wodehouse.  You’ll find these collections with the authors’ other works, under surname.

Try some famous ones that have been made into movies or TV- The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, I, Robot, Jeeves and Wooster, Benjamin Button, Sherlock Holmes …

Be afraid, vamp it up, slay a dragon, or travel to unknown worlds – there’s a whole section in Central dedicated just to horror, sci-fi and fantasy short stories. 

Still not enough?  Wander over to the anthology section, where there are piles more to choose from – mystery, history, cultural, social, humorous, even naughty ones …

And remember, nothing else represents value like short story collections!  We’re just sorry we can’t also offer a set of steak knives with every checkout …

3 thoughts on “Buy one, get 10 free …

  1. Annette 22 January 2010 / 3:24 pm

    And, fifthly, it’s an excellent way to discover new authors. Science fiction or fantasy anthologies are particularly good for this

  2. Mo-mo 22 January 2010 / 5:01 pm

    Oh, indeed. Anthologies are a bit like one of those biscuit sampler boxes. If you don’t like the dundee biscuits you can just move on to the chocolate thins.

    I just finished a book of short stories today by Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche and I’m keen to try one of her novels now, I think. Perhaps the short story is a gateway drug to “harder” reading material?

    If you’re looking for some short story recommendations you don’t have to look far. Though, I don’t know if I can guarantee that they’ll all feature red shoes on the cover (well done!)

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