Last year, I said I wanted to start reading more short story collections. Like many ideas, it looked good on my list, but I found I was faltering when it came time to put it into practice. What do you mean, I had to actually do something to accomplish the task?
It’s not that I didn’t try sit down and try to read them, but I’d pick up a book, read a story, move on to the next story, and lose interest. I wasn’t enjoying them at all.
This year, I had a plan to change that. I find that when I stick to that plan, it works. In fact, I’ve read five short story/essay collections so far this year. My goal was one per month so at the end of month seven, that’s not so bad.
What’s the secret?
Prepare to be amazed!
You read one short story per day.
I know, right?!?!
I’d probably be making more consistent progress if I did this at a more consistent time each day (morning coffee, over lunch, before bed), but the lovely thing about short stories is that they’re, by definition, short. You can always fit them in somewhere. And on those days I didn’t read one, I’d make up for it the next day by reading two or three.
This month, I finished a collection I had started in June, read another in its entirety, and read about half of another before abandoning it due to irreconcilable differences.
Next month, I’m planning to tackle a longer collection so I’ll likely only finish one.
Sitting down to read a whole book of short stories at once doesn’t work for me. But breaking them up and reading them one at a time while I’m also reading another longer piece of fiction is great. It allows each one time to sink in before moving on to the next.
If you think you don’t have time to read short story collections or you don’t enjoy them, maybe try it this way instead. You might change your mind!