My partner and I over here at Short Story Book Club think short stories are pretty sweet. Since starting our book club, we’ve been on a mission to help other readers find the joy in short stories, too. Here are a few of our absolute favorite things about short stories.
Perhaps this should go without saying, but one of the most neglected benefits of the short story genre is its brevity. You can find stories long enough to read on a plane, during your daily commute, or while on vacation. You can find a story at just the right length for the amount of time you have. And because they’re so short, you don’t have to worry about not being able to finish. More often than not, you will finish if the story you’re reading is something you’re interested in.
They’re in Every Genre
While short stories are a genre all on their own, they are also part of the large cosm of literature that comprises both fiction and nonfiction.
Do you like true crime? There are short stories in this genre.
Do you like sci-fi? If you’ve ever heard of Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov, then you know there are plenty of science fiction short stories.
Do you like Christian vampire romance? Well, then, you’re in luck, too, because, surprisingly, there are lots of short stories for that.
Nonfiction fans of the hard sciences, history, sociology, gastronomy, and just about every other nonfiction topic you could think of have short stories, too.
Short stories started as a uniquely American invention. Edgar Allan Poe is widely considered the father of the genre and a scholar of the form.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when any cultural phenomenon becomes a “thing,” but some literary experts believe it happened for short stories sometime in the late 1800s due to the transient lifestyle of many new Americans immigrating to the states from different parts of the world.
Today, short stories are experiencing a resurgence in popularity as reading preferences for short-form literature change once again. In a busy world where attention and opportunities for entertainment are now split among dozens (if not hundreds) of alternatives, short stories become one of a multitude of options for a quick mental escape.
Reading short stories is just as good for learning as reading novels or other books. Short stories can be excellent teaching tools for homeschooling parents and teachers. Because short stories come in every genre, covering every subject imaginable, they can be an integral part of any learning program.
Who doesn’t remember reading The Great Gatsby, The Metamorphosis, 1984, or The Old Man and the Sea for English class in high school? They’re all short stories.
They’re Available in Every Language
Thanks to globalization, short stories from around the world are available in English for American audiences. We have the means to read modern day authors from Europe to Asia, from Canada to Mexico, and Africa.
There are so many reasons to love short stories, but these are just our top five. What do you like most about short stories?