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Books & Authors

Quick Reads for Busy Days

As the end of the year approaches, the days always seem a little busier. Whether you’re looking to complete a reading goal or just want a story you can finish before your guests arrive for the holidays, the short story collections and novellas found in this list are sure to make a big impact in a small amount of time.

 

Florida by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild--a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida--its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind--becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. 

 

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrick Backman

Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa's work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden. From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a moving portrait of an elderly man's struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family's efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid - a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighbouring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

In his second collection, Carver establishes his reputation as one of the most celebrated short-story writers in American literature--a haunting meditation on love, loss, and companionship, and finding one's way through the dark.

 

Night Shift by Stephen King

Nineteen of King's most unsettling short pieces: bizarre tales of dark doings and unthinkable acts from the twilight regions where horror and madness take on eerie, unearthly forms, where noises in the walls and shadows by the bed are always signs of something dreadful on the prowl.

 

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. 

 

Redeployment by Phil Klay

Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

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