Short Stories and Attention Spans

April 3, 2010

Texting becomes faster, the fewer words used. Twitter allows for a limited number of characters per post (140). We post brief status reports on our social networking sites throughout the day. Is it any wonder that our attention spans are dwindling? That our minds begin to think in shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs; shorter versions of things? And that eventually, that carries over to our reading habits?

The short story is coming into vogue. I used to despise them. Short stories seemed to only give me a little taste of what I was seeking. But today, there are short story authors who seemingly capture worlds within a single carefully constructed sentence. When taken in context with other carefully constructed sentences, my mind begins to feel nourished by a story in the same way it has by a book, in the past. From Jhumpa Lahiri’s work in Unaccustomed Earth to David Sedaris‘ tales of growing up in his books, such as Me Talk Pretty One Day.

An excellent introduction to short stories by some of the great authors of literature is available at Short Story of the Day . Signing up with your email address will deliver a single story to your inbox each day. You can browse the previous selections to find one of particular interest, or browse for stories written by your favorite authors. There is even an igoogle gadget available, bringing a short story to your igoogle page each day.


Twilight Saga Fans, Rejoice !!

March 30, 2010

Stephanie Meyer will release her first new book in almost two years. Entitled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, the novella will sell for $13.99 in hardcover, with a free e-book available for online readers from June 7th thru July 5th at this site.   Not a book for collectors, at 1.5 million in the first printing, but a charitable endeavor instead. Every book purchased will see $1 going to the American Red Cross directly for Haitian Relief. We knew we liked Stephanie Meyer!

Free Book – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

December 14, 2008

200px-benjamin_button_poster1Brad Pitt’s new film opens on Christmas Day (December 25) and already has 5 Golden Globe nominations. I regret to say I hadn’t read it, so decided to buy a copy of the book for a quick read. First, it’s a short story, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first appearing in his book entitled TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE back in 1922, published by Scribners (current value with a decent dustjacket is in the thousands). Obviously it has fallen out of copyright and is now in the public domain…thus, free copies of it are readily available all over the web.  I read it here , or, if you’d rather read it later, here’s a link  to a PDF you can download and print out for a paper version.  It’s a quick read and well worth the twenty or so minutes you’ll spend enjoying it.   No spoilers posted here, but the plot of the story becomes evident quickly at the beginning of the story, so you won’t have to wait long once you’ve begun reading.

The movie is “loosely based” on the Fitzgerald tale, so I anticipate a sweet and probably intense romance that doesn’t exist in the original story. Sounds like it will be a great movie to see during the pre-New Year lull at the bookshop. Can’t wait!