Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekend Reading: The You Tell Me Edition

Between the mini-vacation and the asthma drama, I didn't do much online reading this week.

So, I have a question for you instead of my usual list of links. I enjoy reading short fiction and non-fiction on my Kindle, but I am having a hard time finding short things to buy. Has anyone figured out how to reliably  stand alone short stories and non-fiction on Amazon? I'm getting a mix of short stories, collections, and full length novels in my searches, and it is annoying me.

Or... have you read any good short eBooks recently? Tell me in the comments.

If I find some good stuff, I'll write another post with recommendations.

And since I feel guilty not giving you any links, here are two reading-related ones:

First, if you live in San Diego, do you want to help Erin at Such Small Steps start a small library? I think it is a cool idea.

And then, I really liked this Big Idea post over at Whatever, by author Lara Zielin. The book sounds interesting, but what really caught my attention was this quote:

"I forced myself to admit that the magnetic attraction I felt for Bradley was less about him and more about me being desperate to find someone who would just—I don’t know, think I was cool or something. When was the last time my spouse and I had thought the other was a badass? Not in a long while, that’s for sure."

Because, that summarizes one of my favorite things about my relationship with my husband. We both think the other one really kicks ass. Sure, we argue over whether to outsource more chores or whether an extra $10 per month on a cell phone bill is worth it, but those are the disagreements of two people who really respect the others' opinions and want to build on each others' strengths to create a fabulous life together. And yes, we are sometimes a little in awe of what the other one can do. I'm not sure that always comes across in my blog, because it seems strange to write gushy posts about my marriage. But there it is, and that is why I never worry when he tells me about the cool women he works with (for a software company, his company has a lot of women, and they are mostly all really amazing) and he never worries when I talk about the men with whom I spend my days, even though some of them are pretty cool, too. We're just happy that we both like our colleagues so much.

So anyway, sorry for the link shortage this week. Here's hoping next week is back to normal!


  1. zenmoo5:34 AM

    I've just read Nick Earl's latest collection of short stories 'Welcome to Normal' - it was really enjoyable.

  2. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Check out David Foster Wallace's essays and short stories, if you haven't already. Consider the Lobster (the book, not necessarily the essay) is a good place to start.

  3. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Have you tried Lee Barnett's short-short stories in his "Fast Fiction Challange" volumes? Neat.

  4. You know, in all the strong relationships I've observed, it's struck me how the two people have obvious and public respect and admiration for each other. It's clear when you talk to them, either together or even individually. It's clear even when one person is "complaining" about something the other is doing - it's about the specific action, not a general "my husband is so lazy" or whatever. I think that's a really big deal.

    I think one of the things we forget to do once we've been with someone for ages is actually compliment them on that stuff we think is great every now and then. It seems like it should be "obvious" but day to day life beats us down a lot, so a sincere compliment can brighten my outlook for days :)

  5. Holly7:43 PM

    I can't help with the books, since my current focus has been all about finding German children's books I can read, but, I think it's really really sweet that you wrote a short gushy post about your marriage=)

    (As someone who was in a really really bad marriage, and now has a boyfriend with whom I have a really wonderful relationship, I admit to regularly gushing - I figure my friends who heard me process all the bad stuff also deserve to hear the good, right? AND, it's really reassuring to me to hear that you can still think your spouse is a badass several years into marriage).

  6. Becky8:48 PM

    Do you like science fiction at all? That's what I read, mostly, so I can only offer help in the genre. But I do prefer short stories.

    I start by going to Amazon and sorting by genre, then by price, then by most popular. Short stories are usually .99 - 1.99, so looking by price helps narrow the field. Then I check the reviews. That's how I found the "Wool" series by Hugh Howey, a self-published series of novellas that I really liked (and read on our New Zealand trip!)

    I also always enjoy the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies, and would recommend the Year's Best series of your preference if you like non-fiction writing -- there's science writing, environmental, etc.

    I use the anthologies to identify new writers I like, then hunt them down on Amazon or in the library.

    There's a cheap grouping called the science fiction megapack that contains some classic gems from the 50s and 60s. Some are also horribly dated and sexist though.

  7. Thanks for the ideas, everyone! And yes, I do like Sci-Fi. I don't read much pure Romance, but am otherwise fairly eclectic in my taste.

    And I'm glad a couple of you at least didn't mind the gushy stuff. My husband and I have been together for over 10 years now, and have been married for a little over 7 of them, if you're curious.

  8. Anonymous8:41 AM

    DH is reading a book of short stories called Armoured. He's enjoying it.

    I have short stories for kindle on my amazon list but nobody has bought them yet... a book of Georgette Heyer short stories and some short stories by Jim C. Hines. (And some by Scalzi, of course.)

    (I have been gushing about my DH to the disgust of all who will listen for about 18 years now. I am the luckiest person alive. Especially with the way he takes the baby-who-isn't-hungry-but-still-wants-to-fuss so that I can sleep.)

  9. Aww! I love that you and your husband have so much awe and respect for each other. Well deserved on both sides, I'd say.

    When I'm in the mood for non-fiction shorts, I head over to, which has links to long magazine articles and the option to send the articles to Kindle (I tend to save them on and turn them into EPUB books for reading on my Nook). It's usually pretty easy to find interesting articles on a broad range of topics, and some of the articles really are shortened pieces that are later turned into books. For example, I recently read a longform featured article about The Lost City of Z, a condensed version of the later-published book of the same title. It was a great article, but I don't know that I would want to read a whole book on the topic.

  10. Let's see:

    Short fiction: try Kelly Link. I've also bought a bunch of old ghost stories for dirt cheap: M.R. James, Saki, and Algernon Blackwood in particular.

    Non-fiction: I read a lot of history. e-book hits include: Peter the Great by Robert Massie (he's a little too sympathetic to his subject but does an outstanding job painting the settings), The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk (or his Foreign Devils on the Silk Road), Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, A Grand and Bold Thing by Ann Finkbeiner (about building the Sloan telescope), Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, and Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.


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