The Busy Person’s Guide to Literature

by: Marina Lucic

August 18, 2012

Many of us don’t find the time to indulge in as much reading as we would like. The short story is the perfect prescription for this problem and can easily fit into the mold of our modern life. Here is a list of wonderful stories that can easily be accessed online and read over your morning coffee.


1. In 1936, when The New Yorker rejected a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, they could not have predicted the huge mistake that they were making. When Fitzgerald’s grandchildren recently came across the story again and re-sent it, The New Yorker jumped at the chance to publish “Thank You For The Light.” Their second chance is lucky for us. The story, which revolves around a corset saleswoman’s smoking habits, can be found here.

2. “When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue” by the photographer/writer Édouard Levé would be classified more as an essay or work of prose than a short story. In 2002, five years before he took his own life, Édouard travelled across America and wrote “Autoportrait.” His rule on the trip was that he would only visit cities and towns that shared a name with cities in other countries–he visited Berlin, Florence,  Jericho,  Rio, Delhi,  Paris, Rome. The photos that he took on the trip were named “Série Amérique.”  Read some of “Autoportrait” here.

3. “Lederhosen” by Haruki Murakami is a strange and sweet story that leaves you wondering. First you wonder what the point to the story was and then, when you realize it, you wonder about your own life. The true makings of a great story. Read “Lederhosen” here.

4. Steven Millhauser created a modern day fairytale that captures you with its beauty and elegance. Recommended Reading’s Aimee Bender describes the piece: “His is a made-up land, a love letter to art, a capsule of loneliness, a painting of beauty that makes me catch my breath from the care and skill of the writer/painter who is adorning each paragraph with filigrees of language while also dipping us over and over again into all that empty white space.” Read “Cathay” here.


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