From a young age, I loved reading and exploring new worlds to emerge myself into. Pillows and blankets were thrown into a corner, I nestled in, and cracked into a new universe. From demolishing 500 page books within a day, to missing math assignments because I was too busy reading, I was extremely passionate about learning, interpreting, and experiencing new adventures from the books I so abundantly loved.
But that’s the key word: was.
As I’ve grown up and became busier with school, friends, and community service, my dedication to reading has decreased dramatically. School books made me fall asleep and I couldn’t find the time to read for myself. I continued to buy books, but they pilled up, collecting dust on the shelf. The stress of school got to me, and the desire to read, became a chore instead of a hobby.
When my junior year rolled around, my English class redirected from traditional novels to contemporary short stories. The short, simple, and sweet stories were a quick read but still capturing. The 10 pages were an easy ride and I had still had time to continue my usual routine. I had found a way to emerge my self once more, without the time consumption of a full length novel. Reading short stories allowed me to still read for pleasure while keeping up my grades.
I began with an assigned short story called, “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane. The naturalist novel intrigued me and I loved it. The plot, characters, hidden meaning, and the reading process helped me to love reading once more. “The Open Boat” stirred something inside me, and I became obsessed with short stories.
If you’re like me, a once avid reader turned book hater, I highly recommend short stories to kick back and start to read for yourself, and not just for those dreaded analytical essays. If you’re having trouble finding a place to start, here are some of the short stories/short novels that helped me rediscover my love for life-long learning.
- “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane
- “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin ( all time favorite )
- “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau
- “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” by Stephan Crane
- “To Build a Fire” by Jack London
- “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
- “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
- “Demian” by Hermann Hesse
- “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse
- “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud