For many of us, the last time we really sat down to read fiction was in high school, where teachers hit us over the head with the old english of Shakespeare or the plotlessness of Faulkner. So, as an adult who has a schedule and a thousand other competing forms of entertainment, how do you find interesting stuff to read? Here are three ideas to help you find your next great read.
1. The Art of the Novella. This series, put out literary bad-boys Mellville House, the ass-kicking publisher of all kinds of beautiful books. These books are short, miniature novels that can be read front to back in just a few sittings. These are perfect if you're interested in classic literature - they feature many works by Tolstoy, George Eliot, Herman Melville, to name a few - but you can't commit the 20 hours per week necessary to read "the classics".
2. Short Story Anthologies. Anthologies are a huge variety of stories brought together by industry leaders in fiction. Collections of short stories are a great way to read without breaking your schedule because they allow you to get a meaningful, quick fix. But it can be hard to know which authors you're going to like. By reading an anthology, you'll get exposed to a huge number of different writing styles. Take note of which you like and use them as a springboard into finding the author's other works.
3. Take our Word for it. A big reason that reading can feel like so much work is that we're often pressured to read "classic literature". But great fiction written today can be funny, engaging, and relevant. Amy Hempel's stories are very short and easy to read, but they pack a punch. Everyone should read her collected works: they're a roadmap for being human.