A couple of times a day I get tweets asking what I’m reading. No big surprise right? (since I’m crazy lazy at updating my reading list) But a few days ago I was floored by someone’s response. Which went a little something like this:
“WTF are you reading a short story for!? They are a total waste of time!”
First off…horse poo! Shame on you for being a reading hypocrite! *wags finger* Short stories can be AMAZING tools for several different reasons BESIDES pure literary enjoyment! “No way!” You say? Way! My motto here at KindleObsessed is “Life is too short for crappy books!” and I completely agree with this statement, BUT unlike Y’ALL who have me screaming in your ear to either buy or disregard books I have no one! What I get is a string of emails everyday with a book cover and a synopsis. I have to choose from that what I’m going to read. I don’t have the benefit off looking at reviews. In order to keep myself true to, well, myself I have to be able to form my OWN opinion without the influence of everyone else’s first. What I do have though is a functioning brain (most of the time) and I learned very early on that I can get a glimpse at someone’s writing ability (and decided if I want to read their novel) by simply reading a short story (<—ahhh see the connection) written by them. Even better, it is an actual story with a beginning, a middle, and an end that I can read in no time flat, (for example: while sitting in the carpool line waiting for my kid.)
Money doesn’t grown on trees, so why waste it when you don’t have to? Short stories afford you that opportunity for test drive an author for little to nothing (time or money!) And…who says a story has to be long? I don’t know about all of you but I don’t read the Narnia series to my 3 year old. It’s “Quack Quack the Duck” and it’s off to bed. Can’t WE as ADULT readers enjoy the same simple pleasure? I think so, and to illustrate my point I am going to introduce you to two VERY different but VERY entertaining short stories that I think showcases exactly what I’m talking about.
Synopsis (approx. 40 pages)
Kevin is a sociopath. He just doesn’t know it – yet.
When a friend posts pictures of him in a compromising situation, he searches for an app to remove the incriminating pics. What he finds is an app that can do much more than just erase images from the internet – it can patch time to make the events disappear for everyone but Kevin, allowing him to explore his twisted fantasies.
Well, if I’m being honest my first thoughts were: “Mother Mary of God, this is going to be another cheesy app story!” Thankfully, I’m horrible at judging books (err stories) by their covers! While I won’t tell you much (Hello!!! It’s only 40 pages long!) I will tell you this: Jason Finnerty is a
slightly psychotic damn good writer!
People make mistakes (especially teenage boys with raging hormones.) And more often than not we recognize the mistake before it becomes public. The problem is…it doesn’t change anything. Until now. In FotoGone, Finnerty cashes in on the idea of erasing snippets of time with the a simple click of a button, BUT things are never as simple as they seem are they? Especially when it turns out erasing one LITTLE mistake can lead you to the path of a HUGE one!
The thing I admired the most about this little jaunt into crazy-ville was Finnerty’s ability to (not only) create a believable story (including a lesson in quantum physics) in 40 pages but to manipulate his lead character so horrifically/brilliantly/convincingly in the same amount of space.
This isn’t going to be a story for everyone…it’s pretty, um
f’d up weird (not to mention gruesome) but for those of you that enjoy a little wacko with their lunch…this might be just what the Dr. ordered.
Synopsis (approx. 42 pages)
Guilt and attraction make a strange blend…
On her first big case, young lawyer Bethany Draughen exposes shoddy workmanship done by a luxury home builder and forces a multimillion dollar settlement. The case establishes Beth’s reputation – and ruins Caleb Marke’s life.
That was three years ago. When by chance Beth sees Cale again at a deposition, he makes it quite clear he wants revenge–then he double-dog dares her to go out with him. Beth should run the opposite direction, but she can’t deny her attraction to the guy.
Beth ruined Cale’s life. Can she trust him now not to ruin hers?
I don’t know about you, but I consider it a pretty good sign when I wish a story didn’t end. As is the case with LK Rigel’s short story “I Ruined His Life.” This is not a story I picked up because I was curious about the author. I already know that I adore her. The reason I got it was because I needed to clear my head. I needed a point A to point Z. (Not a 475 page novel about the Russian Revolution) What I hadn’t bargained for was the uncontrollable urge I had AFTER I finished the 42 pages to email Rigel and tell her to get her tushy back to work!
Because the story wasn’t perfect, and I wanted it to be.
The plot was amazingly intriguing, but the speed (yes, I know I should have seen this coming) in which the lead characters’ interaction (specifically their first kiss) happened left me a little angst hungry. I know, I know… “Stop being a ninny!” And I will, I promise, but not until I make a point. This story, (the woman destroyer plus unlucky male) or the concept for it at least, was so engrossing that I could have sat down and indulged in it for hours. But the fact that it wasn’t (400 pages) only goes to show how much 42 teeny tiny pages can get your mind moving, (adding in details of your own and creating scenarios that weren’t even mentioned!)
Would I recommend this story even though I thought it was lacking or a little too swift in parts? Sure! It was a very sweet little contemporary romance (ala the Hallmark Channel) that put a smile on my face for the hour it took me to gobble it up. And…isn’t that what I was gunning for to begin with?