Top 10 Short Stories I Must Recommend You Read

I know the title sounds like click bait but it got you to read my post, didn’t it? I’ve read more than my fair share of short stories over the years. I’m currently trying to write my own with little luck. There are a few that I absolutely love that you might enjoy too. The art of the short story is one that takes a while to master. It’s hard to convey a powerful message in just a few pages. These ones I have picked have a made an impact for me and I hope that they make an impact for you too.

  1. “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe – I’ve a been a huge fan of Poe for years now and own several different editions of his complete collections. Though I absolutely love his other famous short stories, I love this one in particular for the sensory picture that Poe writes that creates a sense of impending doom and suspense as you read it.
  2. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – In only 6,000 words, Perkins Gilman provides a scathing indictment of the American mental health system. As told through the diary entries of a woman suffering from postpartum depression, “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows how improper treatment of mental illness in women can have devastating effects on the mind.
  3. “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri from The Interpreter of Maladies – Lahiri’s bold and intimate writing provides an inside look at the struggles of people’s lives that others might overlook. In this particular story, a young couple must come to terms with the loss of their child and deterioration of their marriage during the nightly blackouts that occur in India. This story is has a heavy and poignant message that is palpable as you read it.
  4. “October in the Chair” by Neil Gaiman from Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Other Wonders – Gaiman is well known for his surreal, humorous, and profound writing. His short stories are no exception. In this story, the personifications of the months gather around to listen to October’s turn to tell a story about a young boy find out more than he wanted when he decides to run away from home. Gaiman artfully crafts a fable-like tale for fairy tale characters who come to life on the page.
  5. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson – This story is a classic one that I read back in high school. I was initially confused but soon found out that this story provides a much darker message than it gives away. Jackson paints the picture of a quaint little town built on dark traditions. It is hard to create the perfect plot twist and Jackson doesn’t fail to deliver a shock at the very end.
  6. “The Dead” by James Joyce from Dubliners – Last year, I went to Dublin on spring break specifically for Joyce. One of my professors is a leading Joyce scholar so it would be foolish of me not to mention any of Joyce’s short stories. Dubliners is a tricky read but it is endlessly fascinating. “The Dead” is the final story in the collection and it takes an introspective look into the life of a man who is struggling with his identity. The very last line of the story is profound and brings the whole novel into perspective. Even if you haven’t read Dubliners, the story is still just as powerful.
  7. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury – I’ve been a fan of Bradbury for a while and, in particular, I remember reading this story in grade school. “There Will Come Soft Rains” follows the daily goings on of an automated “smart house” that continues to operate despite the fact that no one is living there. The story serves as a warning for how technology may develop and how it could change the environment. Bradbury’s haunting and detailed science fiction story is another great example of how to master the plot twist.
  8. “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver – One of the more famous short stories out there, Carver’s message of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is just as powerful with each read. When a man wife invites a blind man to their house, he is reluctant to let him stay. However, he soon learns how to understand how other people live as he spends more time with the blind man.
  9. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe – Yet another classic Poe story, this one is a bit more famous. Poe was famous for his unreliable narrators and this story is one that makes the reader question what truly makes someone insane.
  10. “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes – Much like Gilman’s story, this one also calls into question the ethics of how mental health is treated. Though it involves science fiction, Keyes is still not too far off from reality. This story follows Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ of 68, who undergoes a surgery to increase his intelligence. He and a mouse named Algernon who also received the surgery are then subjected to scrutiny as they are thrust into the spotlight.

Laughter was light, and Light was Laughter: Reviewing The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Sorry, I haven’t posted anything in a while but I wanted to take some time to catch up on my reading before I reviewed another book. I bought Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch last year and this is the first opportunity I have had to actually read the whole thing. It is a longer book but it is still worth it. Since reading The Secret History, I have been looking forward to reading more of Tartt’s novels. Now, I will review The Goldfinch for you.

When Theo Decker was thirteen years old, he survives an explosion in an art museum that unfortunately takes his beloved mother from him. He finds himself uprooted with only a small painting he recovered from the wreckage and the last words of a dying old man that lead him to his new mentor. In his adult life, Theo spends his life with antiques and is captivated by the same painting that eventually leads him to a dangerous circle.

Tartt’s ability to blend the modern world with the beauty of Dutch art makes this novel an elegant but relatable read. Her descriptions and characterizations are poetic. The characters feel as though they could walk off the page. Tartt doesn’t hold back in her exploration of human emotions as she connects Theo’s story with the stories of the Dutch artists. You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy this book. The Goldfinch is a tragedy, romance, and mystery all wrapped up in the clean bow of Tartt’s eloquence and honesty.


The Game of Thrones Tag

Ok, you might hate me for doing another tag but I couldn’t resist since I’m a big fan of the book series and the television show. Also, I figured since its the final season of the show I wouldn’t get another chance to do this tag. I’ve been seeing this tag all over the place but here’s the source I’m using specifically. @theclockworkbibliophile

Part 1


“We do not sow” – A book you would not be willing to invest in

When I first read Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, I wanted to to be interested initially but I was too creeped out and just wanted to stop reading it. Unfortunately, I was required to read it for a class.


“Fire and Blood” – A book that produced strong emotions for you

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows destroyed me because it was the last book in the series and all of the deaths were devastating in their own right.

stark 2

“Winter is Coming” – your favorite winter read

Well, obviously the Harry Potter books are always great for winter.


“Family, Duty, Honor” – A book about strong family ties

Again, Harry Potter is a good choice but also The Hunger Games is a good one. Let’s face it, though, Game of Thrones is probably the best choice for this one.


“Growing Strong” – A book you had low expectations for but it grew on you

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini definitely ended up having more of an impact on me than I though and I still love that book.


“Ours is the Fury” – A book that made you furious

Allegiant, which is the last book in the Divergent series, pissed me off to no end. The Circle by Dave Eggers also pissed me off so much that I didn’t even read the whole thing.


“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” – A book series you have unwavering devotion to.

I wouldn’t be here with Harry Potter, that’s for sure.


“A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” – A book you feel indebted to

American Gods by Neil Gaiman really opened my eyes and taught me more about writing and mythology.

Part 2

Who do you want to win the Game of Thrones?

As much as I love Daenerys to win, I think that she might unintentionally carry on the tradition of Targaryens being insane rulers so I’m going to have to pick Jon Snow. Also, I believe in the theory that he is also a Targaryen which would fulfill the title of the series, A Song of Fire and Ice. 

Part 3

Who do you think will die? Who do you think will make it to the end?

My list of survivors: Jon Snow, Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Asha and Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Varys, Bran Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Daario Naharis, Samwell Tarly, Olena Tyrell

My list of casualties: Cersei Lannister, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, Jorah Mormont, Melissandre, Davos Seaworth, Gendry, Arya Stark, Tormund Giantsbane, Ellaria Sand

Part 4

Would you win or die?

I may not have a ton of resources but I’m pretty logical and strategic. Would I win though? I hope so if I play my cards right.

Part 5

Which house are you apart of?

I think I would be a member of House Stark because I have very bad luck but still somehow succeed despite the odds.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to join me in this tag.


How My Reading Habits Have Changed Over the Years

I don’t know if any other bookworms have done this but, on occasion, I realize how much my taste in books or the way I read books has changed since I was young. Now, I do certainly have staples. I still generally read fiction and I’m always reading more than one book at a time but some slight changes have come up in my reading life. Maybe some of you have experienced similar things or maybe you haven’t. Here is a quick list of what I’ve noticed has changed.

  • Series: I haven’t read a book series in a rather long time. As a kid, I read a lot of series and I believe the most recent one I read was The Song of Fire and Ice series, which I read back in high school. Most of the books I read now are standalone. Why is it that there are very few series for adults? Maybe I’ve simply lost patience for book series. I still have favorites but I haven’t been interested in any book series in a while.
  • Romance: I’ve never been a huge fan of romance novels but I used to get more invested in romantic relationships in books. Now, unless it’s intended to be a romantic novel, I could care less if my characters are in relationships or not. Is that weird?
  • Fantasy: I do still like fantasy novels but it no longer catches my interest as much. I don’t pick up books solely because they belong to a particular genre I enjoy. I used to do that more when I was younger. Fantasy elements no longer hook me in like they used to.
  • Trends: When I was kid, the Twilight phenomenon had struck the pop culture scene and I was one of the many preteen victims. Like others, I do regret it now but it made me think that I can’t think of any book trends that are popular right now. Harry Potter is making a comeback, which is great, but I haven’t noticed any huge trends in the literary world. Maybe I’m just getting old and I no longer notice this stuff.
  • Classics: I’ve found myself wanting to read more classic novels. You know, authors like Woolf, Hemingway, Austen, the Brontes, Dostoyvesky, and other authors that are worshipped by writers and readers alike. I almost feel like I have an obligation to read these authors. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy any of these or not but I would like to try at least.

That’s my stream of consciousness for now. I’m still stalling until I read enough to write another book review. I would definitely by interested in hearing if any of you other book worms feel the same way that I do or maybe you haven’t noticed any changes in how or what you read. Either way, don’t stop reading what you love.

The Stranger Things Book Tag/Challenge

I found another fandom related book tag that caught my interest. Again, I found this on another blog that I will link to you so you can check them out. Here’s my new tag, you mouth breathers.



Eleven: A book that you own that is damaged to pieces but you still love it

Definitely my copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I have a bad habit of picking at my books but I can’t imagine getting a new copy anytime soon.

mike, lucas, dustin

Mike, Lucas, and Dustin: A book trilogy you always go to whenever you need a pick-me-up

I would definitely have to pick The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins


The Demogorgon: A book with a terrifying beast that you would not want to face in the dark

I’d be pretty terrified to face the Dementors from the Harry Potter series

dr brenner

Dr. Brenner: A book with a villain who is both manipulative and dedicated

The titular character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The count himself is willing to do anything it takes to terrorize England and has endless patience.

nancy wheeler

Nancy Wheeler: A book you didn’t expect to love

I didn’t think I would care for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins but I ended up loving it.


Hawkins, Indiana: A book with a setting that’s just a little bit strange

The town of Derry, Maine in It by Stephen King is meant to be a relatively normal town with a bizarre string of murders. King is great at taking normal settings and making them terrifying.

That is the end of the tag. I will probably doing more of these in the future and I hope to see more of you do them to. I will like the source of this tag. I encourage you to check out that blog. Remember, don’t keep your curiosity door locked!

The Punk Theory

Breaking It Down: Reviewing Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

I don’t know about anyone else but I didn’t have very good creative writing classes in my school career. I did competitive writing in grade school in a competition called Power of the Pen, which is a regional thing in America. I didn’t have anything available to me in high school and the classes I took in college were tedious. This hasn’t squashed my passion for creative writing but it has dampened my confidence in being able to execute my ideas on a technical level. I was browsing around the bookstore when Prose’s book caught my eye. Normally, I don’t gravitate towards non-fiction but I was certainly interested in this. I am happy to say that it was the right choice to take home.

Francine Prose, a prolific author with a fitting name, takes a realistic and informative look at the art of fiction writing. Like most authors, she learned from reading other famed authors and studying their techniques. Starting with a chapter just focusing on words and building up to the full story, Prose teaches you how she and other authors craft their stories in ways that are succinct and impactful while still being unique. She also reflects on her time as a teacher and how she found her way in the literary world. With an honest and friendly voice, Prose provides a helpful and detailed way to improve your writing and reading skills.

The first thing I enjoyed about this book is that it doesn’t feel like its too technical or condescending. I’ve taken literary theory classes and those made my head ache. Prose, however, provides an honest look at how to better improve writing and reading skills. As fun as fiction is, it is still a pain to master and Prose understands that completely. This book is a great learning tool for writers and readers alike. It dissects famous short stories in a way that shows why they are so effective. This has already taught me more than I have learned in actual classes.

Mostly Void; Partially Stars: Reviewing Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor

For a little while, I have enjoyed the world of podcasts. I mostly enjoy listening to them when I go to bed. This particular podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, which started back in 2012 has opened up a world of weirdness, eloquence, and profoundness. Though it is not for everyone, the podcast has gained a huge fan based thanks to its story lines, voice talent, and truly bizarre atmosphere. Recently, the creators of Welcome to Night Vale have been taking on the literary world in order to expand upon the strange world that they have created.

Night Vale is like any other town, if you don’t count the glow cloud with mind control powers, five-headed dragons, and an mysterious government organization that are all normal parts of daily life in this sleepy desert town. Cecil Baldwin, the local radio host, helps to keep the town informed about the new batches of aliens or ghosts that crop up on occasion. Jackie Fierro, the owner of the local pawnshop who has never aged past nineteen, receives an odd message from a man in a tan jacket that just reads KING CITY. Meanwhile, Diane Crayton, whose son is a moody fifteen-year-old shape shifter, has been seeing her son’s father wherever she goes. Jackie’s search for King City and Diane’s investigation into her son’s estranged father brings them together in ways that will change their lives forever as questions they didn’t ask are answered as well.

Anyone who is already a fan of the podcast is sure to enjoy this novel adaptation. Fink and Cranor keep true to the creepy and profound world that they have created. With Cecil’s familiar monologues that pop up between chapters, Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel delves deep into the lives of familiar and unfamiliar residents of the town. Unafraid to embrace the strange, this novel is a perfect addition to the podcast that many have come to know, fear, and love.

On Confidence, Perseverance, and Acceptance

I’m going to start this out with a confession. As of today, I am now a licensed driver. While I am relieved to have finally gotten past that obstacle, I am still a little reluctant to admit that I didn’t get my license until I was twenty-one. The reason for this delay was that damned monster known as anxiety. Sitting behind the wheel of a car sent me into panic attacks and I bust out into tears on more than one occasion in order to avoid driving. Anxiety, in general, has had a deep impact on my life since I was in high school. Looking back on it now, there were a lot of things I wish I had known then. What is important, however, is that I can finally keep moving forward into my twenties with a new sense of confidence.

I decided I will share some of my favorite (literary) quotes about learning to keep moving forward and accepting yourself even when you don’t feel you are at your best.

“I wasn’t born to be soft and quiet. I was born to make the world shatter and shake at my fingertips.” – Unknown

“She was never quite ready. But she was brave. And the universe listens to brave.” – Rebecca Ray

“Still, like air, I rise.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

“The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on for so long.” – Unknown

“The courage it took to get out of bed each morning to face the same things over and over was enormous.” – Charles Bukowski

“Time heals nothing unless you move along with it.” – Rachel Wokhin

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keep leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Jane Austen

“Nobody important? Blimey, do you know that in nine hundred years of time and space I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before?” – The Eleventh Doctor

“I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable. I am an original.” – Aaron Burr from Hamilton: An American Musical






The Hamilton Book Tag/Challenge

I decided to try something new because I fell down a black hole of these tags/challenges or whatever you want to call them. I found this one and was immediately inspired because this is probably my all-time favorite musical. I can’t take credit for this so I will tag the blog I discovered it on. Check her out. She’s pretty cool. @thebookishlounge

1. The Room Where It Happens: A book world you would put yourself in.

I’m going to have to be obvious and say Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. I already have enough wands. I think I’ll be prepared.

2. The Schulyer Sisters: Underrated Female Characters

Tally Youngblood from The Uglies by Scott Westerfield

3. My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anyone stop them

Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

4. Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive

Spoiler Alert: Hedwig, Harry Potter’s beloved owl. RIP

5. Burn: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve read

Spoiler: Hazel and Augustus from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

6. You’ll Be Back: The sassiest villain

Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare

7. The Reynolds Pamphlet: A book with a twist you didn’t see coming

This may sound silly but when I first read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, I had no idea what was going to happen to Lenny at the end.

8. Non-Stop: A series you marathoned

The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

9. Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs

Its a tie between The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin, and Dracula by Bram Stoker

10. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book series you feel will be remembered throughout history

Obviously, Harry Potter. I predict it will become required reading in schools in the future.

11. Helpless: A relationship you were pulling for from the very start

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

12. The Ten Duel Commandments: Favorite fight scene

Percy Jackson and co. vs Gaea

13. Say No to This: Guilty pleasure read

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth

14. What Comes Next?: A series you wish had more books

The Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs

15. Right Hand Man: Favorite BroTP

Again, I’m going to have to be obvious and say Holmes and Watson.

16. What’d I Miss?: A book/series I was late too read

Any Stephen King book, really

And that’s the end of the tag. I hope you enjoyed it and want to participate in it with me. Feel free to send me tags because they’re a great way to kill time while I try to catch up on my reading. Again, I will leave a link to the blog I found this from. thebookishlounge















Houston, I Have Many Problems: Reviewing The Martian by Andy Weir

Andy Weir basically lived a Cinderella story for writers. His self-published book was noticed by Hollywood and turned into Oscar-nominated movie by the legendary director, Ridley Scott. His debut novel started out as curiosity that snowballed into a best-selling book. It stands on its own for its simple premise and new take on a survival story. I also may have mentioned the movie in my article about movie adaptations and, in case I didn’t mention it, I definitely recommend the movie as well.

It began with a freak dust storm on the surface of Mars. Mark Watney was lost in the dust and his crew had no choice but to leave him behind, thinking he was dead. When Watney awakes and is still very alive, he must do whatever he can to survive on the infamous red planet until the people of Earth realizes that he is still alive. With his engineering expertise, botany knowledge, and a quick sense of humor, Watney records his epic struggle to stay alive as the only human on Mars.

I’ve never been a science fanatic so I was a little wary when I first started reading this novel but I soon realized that this math and science was not out of my reach. Weir uses Watney’s sarcastic and knowledgable voice to explain how he utilizes his resources to endure the surface of Mars in a way that anyone can understand. It’s a funny and exhilarating narrative that takes the classic survival story to the next level. Though it is not necessarily a science fiction novel, The Martian is still a suspenseful journey nonetheless that will have you turning the pages to desperately find out Watney’s fate.