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Do you Read more Short Stories or Novels? #amreading

By 26/05/2015September 20th, 2018reading

Reading is both my pleasure, and my bane. On days I miss breakfast or lunch or an appointment, I try to tell myself I won’t do it again, but I know I would slip up. Always have, and probably always will. This habit started young, in the days my father would bring home ‘top English books’ for me to read.

Do you Read more short Stories or Novels?A lot of what I read comes through the recommendations of my reader/ writer friends.  My to-be-read pile is a disaster in the making, doddering and high enough to scare me. I’m sure my only regret when I die would be an unfinished book, and that there wasn’t enough time to finish everything I wanted to read.

Recently, I’m reading more novels than sort stories– possibly because I’ve been bombarded on my social media timelines with must-read, award-winning novels, and couldn’t resist– especially because the Singapore National Library carries all of them.

I used to be an avid short story reader, because they take less time to read, and I can clip along at a pretty fast pace, no matter where I am.

But these days, for some reason, I can’t get enough of novels. I’ve finished Caroline Leavitt’s “Is This Tomorrow” and am now reading Sebastian Barry’s “On Canaan’s side,”  after which, I have on my bedside “Steps” by Jerzy Kosinski, “The Illusion of Separateness” by Simon Van Booy, and a dozen others, all novels.

I’m looking for recommendations, short story collections– a good mix– all the way from horror and crime, to literary and surreal. I don’t know how soon I would start on them, but hopefully by next month.

What books have you read lately? Novels or short stories, which do you prefer? Why? What are some good novels to read? Any recommendations for me?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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28 Comments

  • ce ayr says:

    I think it does not matter.
    Reading anything worthwhile is good for you, as long as it does not intrude on your writing!
    Good luck with both.

  • Pat Hatt says:

    Both work for me, depends on my mood I guess. Don't let the pile topple over on you lol

  • Patsy says:

    I like reading both short stories and novels. One is a quick fix, the other allows me to wander into a different world for a while.

    If I were to recommend a short story collection, I'd be cheeky and make it one of mine. Hopefully mentioning 'Not a Drop to Drink' isn't too cheeky as that one is free.

  • Cherie Reich says:

    I do love how I feel like I've accomplished more by reading short stories/novellas since they take less time to read, but I read many more novels than shorter works. The most recent short story I've read was Susan Kaye Quinn's Restore. It was a fantastic read.

  • I like both! I prefer collections of short stories published into a book than a literary magazine though (um usually because the print editions of lit-mags cost money and I don't like reading fiction online (I prefer print).

  • Li says:

    I've been bingeing on nonfiction lately, mostly history and science. But my vacation is coming up, so I'll probably catch up on some novels. I'd like to read The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. (St. Martin's.) About 2 sisters in World War II France. Also I'd like to read some of Alice Munro's collections. For some really quick reading, I highly recommend Marc Nash's collection of flash fiction "52FF".

  • I read mostly novels with an occasional book of poetry or short stories thrown in. A short story collection in my TBR that I haven't had a chance to read yet is http://nicholasrossis.me/short-stories/

  • klahanie says:

    Hi Damyanti,

    Just one question before I continue. Do you always write in such a style that you are writing to an audience? I notice you use the collective approach. Just curious because I write to just the one person reading my stuff.

    I hardly ever read a book, If I did, I'd prefer a short story. I spend so much time being ill and reading blogs, not necessarily in that order, that reading a book is something I find difficult to contemplate.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Gary

  • Hema says:

    I love both! 'To cut a long story short' by Jeffrey Archer is one of my favourite short story collections.

  • Nima Das says:

    I love novels. The last one I read some time back was And The Mountains Echoed !I love reading indian authors mostly .

  • Novels for me every time, just as I'm getting into a short story it ends!

  • Novels for me every time, just as I'm getting into a short story it ends!

  • Laura W. says:

    I just read The Sorcery Code and have started another novel that is really great so far. I prefer novels; for some reason, short stories aren't long enough for me to get invested and I'm always left wanting more.

  • I read mostly novels but in the last few days I've purchased a number of short story collections by writers I know.

  • Abbie Taylor says:

    I just finished reading Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern. At the beginning of each month, I post a run-down of the books I've read on my blog at http://abbiescorner.wordpress.com .I like both novels and short stories, and I also like memoirs, especially since I'm writing one of my own.

  • I forgot to leave a recommendation.
    House Of Skin: Prize-Winning Stories by Kiana Davenport.
    An excellent collection that will ultimately lead you to ponder the question – how comfortable are you in your own skin?

  • Ravish Mani says:

    I love both but they should be content rich. I just finished 'My Stroke of Insight.' I've been recommending this to everyone these days. To know more listen Ted Talk of Dr. Jill Taylor Bolte.

  • Short stories now with growing impatience and less time in hand.

  • I love both…… But depends on the mood Dear!!!!

  • I don't have a preference as both accommodate the mood I'm in, but I find myself reading more novels than short stories. My recommmendation is: The Day the Mirror Cried by Saundra Kelly. It's a lovely selection of short stories a poem preceding each story.

  • Nick Wilford says:

    A good thing about short story collections is you can dip in whenever you like, especially if it's a mix of authors, and it's less commitment. I admire the skill taken to write a great short. I'm also going to risk a shameless plug and recommend the collection I just published, which is a novella and short stories. Kind of a little bit of both.

  • Andrew Leon says:

    I tend to not like short stories very much but that's because they tend to feel incomplete. It takes a lot of skill to craft a good short story, not just chopping out words.

    • Andrew Leon says:

      Oh, and if you're looking for recommendations, I can't pass on the opportunity to suggest "What Time Is the Tea Kettle?"
      Even if it is mine.

  • There was a time when I only read novels. Long ago.
    Now I'm more inclined towards novellas/short stories.

  • shelly says:

    I'll read short stories and novels. It depends what kind of mood I'm in.

  • Whatsup Guy says:

    Frankly if I had the time I would read the biggest in my list first. But then life is so busy.

  • It depends on how much time I have. I can get through more short stories in a month than novels. And right now, I am trying to read at least one story by every author buddy of mine by the end of the year.

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