Earlier I wrote an article on How to Relax and, immediately after publishing it, I thought, “I think I’ll relax and read a few short stories.”
You just have to love irony, don’t you?!
I have always had a special place in my heart for short stories – whether they’re collected in a beautiful anthology like One Hundred Voices (pictured here) or they’re a collection of short stories from one specific author (Agatha Christie, for example), they rock my literary world.
If you’ve read many of my book reviews on Self Help Daily, you probably know that I very seldom write fiction book reviews. I generally concentrate on inspirational, motivational, health-related, self help…. – genres that resonate with the self help blog.
However, a few things occur to me:
- Reading is one of the most relaxing things you can do. It’s a beautiful little mini vacation where you sort of walk away from all the troubles of the world for a while – just long enough to recompose yourself and come back to reality refreshed and ready to grab it by the… well, by whatever you want to grab the world by.
- Reading is as beneficial to your brain as it is to your psyche. Somehow, reading fiction is a joyful little workout for your brain cells. As you follow the author’s story, the creative side of your mind becomes FULLY engaged. It begins to say things like, “Will the story go this way?,” “What if this character says this?,” “I can imagine what his neighborhood looks like….” The creative side of our brain, unfortunately, operates on cruise control most of the time. As we go about our daily grind, our creativity simply isn’t frequently called upon. Maybe that’s why reading is so stimulating – we wake up one of the funnest part of our mind – the party animal!
When you take these things into consideration, you realize that reading (whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or somewhere in between) is phenomenally good for you. If that’s not self help-y, I don’t know what is.
While I spend, probably, 75 percent of my reading time with historical biographies and other works of non-fiction, I absolutely love fiction.
Beware as the self help diva approaches deep waters..
The fascinating thing is there’s a lot of each fictional author in his or her stories. Whether in short stories or novels, authors pour themselves into the story – their loves, hates, fears, victories, losses, dreams…. Anyone who is (like me) terribly fascinated by humans and the things that make them tick will find this truth to be not just delicious but Strawberry Sundae delicious.
One of the authors in One Hundred Voices is my oldest daughter, Emily Dill. This young author isn’t just talented, she is ridiculously talented – and, trust me on this if you ever trusted me on anything – I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother. She is truly a gifted author and everything she writes leaves me speechless.
Not. An. Easy. Task.
I know, firsthand, that Emily pours herself into her fictional stories. Whether it’s her great love for animals (she has two black cats that hung the moon and stars in her and her husband’s world), her love of God, her fascination with graphic novels (favoring heroines and villains – but, seriously, who likes villains??!!), her fanaticism for the Green Bay Packers, her love of children and everything they say or do, or her unrivaled passion for green tea, EACH of her attributes and quirks (I’m looking at you Joker) show up in her stories and I’d wager to say it’s true of all fictional writers.
They may not all be on the surface, but make no mistake about it, they’re there. Why? Because authors pour their heart and soul into their craft. When an author finishes writing a story, there’s often a feeling of BOTH completion and exhaustion.
After pouring themselves body, mind, heart, and soul into creating a fantasy world, they leave nothing on the table – and those of us who read their stories benefit from the whole beautiful process.
Why Short Stories are Extra Special
Like any avid reader, I love a great novel. Getting lost in an Agatha Christie book is a special kind of joy. However, I would be utterly lost without short stories and keep as many around me as possible.
They’re bite-sized tales that stimulate, entertain, and often amaze… all without taking up much of your day. I love that! Sometimes I have time for a couple at one setting and other times, I “break off” one story, then keep on going about my day.
As someone who works from home, I have the luxury of enjoying a short story anytime I feel the need for a mini vacation. I’ll often do just that between online projects, writing articles, cooking, or (ugh) doing household chores.
I may not always have time for a whole chapter of a novel, but I always have time for a short story.
Many anthologies, such as One Hundred Voices aren’t just great to have around the house, they’re great to pop into a bag and take with you, wherever your day takes you.
This particular collection of short stories is absolutely wonderful and is filled with fresh new voices from all walks of life. I am SO grateful that a little bio is included for each author because I love learning more about the person behind the story.
Finally, I love collections like One Hundred Voices so much because of one word: VARIETY. While we each have our favorite fictional genres (mysteries, historical, science fiction, horror, romance….), there’s a lot to be said for branching out. In fact, my own personal genre now is mystery – however, when I first fell in love with reading, I only read historical fiction. That was IT. One fateful day, my mom had an Agatha Christie book setting on the coffee table and I began reading. Before the end of the first chapter, Agatha Christie, mysteries, and Hercule Poirot had me hooked.
It’s nothing short of exciting to branch out and read different genres. Reading the same one would be kind of like going to a carnival and riding only ONE ride. No, thank you, there are far too many to enjoy!
Short Story collections allow you to ride all the rides – now that’s living.
Find One Hundred Voices on Amazon today. – Joi (“Joy”)