Thematic Recs: Short Stories & Novellas

The end of the year is coming up quickly now, and I’m sure that many people – like me – are seriously behind on their overambitious Goodreads reading challenges. But fear not! I’m here to help, with some recommendations for really short, but still fantastic books for you to read! 😉 Obviously, not finishing your Goodreads (or equivalent) challenge isn’t the worst thing that could happen in a year (and I know I won’t finish mine, even if I read nothing but short stories from now until New Year), but seeing that shiny “COMPLETED” label always gives me a small sense of achievement. 😀

Yuri Herrera//Signs Preceding the End of the World1) Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera. This most recent novella that I read is a thought-provoking story about a young woman crossing the border illegally from Mexico to the US in order to find her brother, an illegal immigrant, and pass on a message from their mother. Despite its length, this is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a while, and because I picked it up as part of the Library Scavenger Hunt, I’ve also posted a review – you can find it here. 🙂

Brandon Sanderson//Perfect State2) Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson. The tale of a man who has become the God-Emperor of his people, but is forced by the mysterious Wode to choose a partner and procreate. The woman he ends up choosing is at the very bottom of his compatibility list – a women’s rights activist – and the personality clash when they meet makes for a fascinating read. Additionally, this is another story that I’ve reviewed, as I read it during Booktubeathon this summer.

Rainbow Rowell//Kindred Spirits3) Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. A World Book Day 2016 story about a small group of strangers waiting in the overnight queue to see Star Wars on its release day. It’s simultaneously adorable and hilarious, and I only wish there was some way that I could read more about these characters. 😀

Ursula K. Le Guin//A Fisherman of the Inland Sea4) Another Story OR A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Rather on the longer side for a short story, this tale blends science, mythology and emotional drama in a way that pulled at all my heartstrings, and tells the story of a young man leaving for university on a planet far away from his own, and the difficulties he faces in keeping in touch over such long distances. I don’t think that this book is available on its own, but it can be found in both Le Guin’s A Fisherman of the Inland Sea anthology, as well as the massive time-travel compilation, The Time-Traveller’s Almanac (volume 1, for the curious). It’s also part of the Hainish Cycle, but it can be read individually.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry//The Little Prince5) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Last but by no means least is The Little Prince, a novella that I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of about a pilot who crash lands in the desert, and there meets a little boy who claims to have come from an asteroid. Beautiful, poignant and touching, this story is known as a classic for a very good reason, and I only appreciate it more every time I re-read it. As a side-note, I watched the film adaptation of this recently, and it’s also fantastic; you should definitely check it out if you have access to a Netflix account.

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Thematic Recs: Time Travel

The other day I put up a new window at Oxfam – the theme? Doctor Who! So naturally I’ve been thinking about time travel ever since~ 😉 Not being a huge sci-fi fan (at least where reading is concerned), there are obviously a lot of famous time travel books that I just haven’t read, but there are still a fair few that I’d recommend, even to non-sci-fi-fans like me. 😀

Alison Uttley//A Traveller in Time1) A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley. One of my favourite books as a child, this story follows a young girl called Penelope who goes to visit some relatives in the countryside, in a house where her ancestors were once household servants to the Babingtons. And while she’s there, she somehow finds herself slipping back and forth between her present and the 1580s, in the lead-up to the Babington Plot – a scheme to put Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne of England.

J.K. Rowling//Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban2) Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Harry returns to Hogwarts for his third year, but the Wizarding World is rife with rumours of Sirius Black – a supporter of Voldemort who has recently escaped from the magical prison, Azkaban, and who is thought to be coming after Harry! To say how would be a huge spoiler for what is probably my favourite Harry Potter book, but time travel plays a big part in this instalment in the series.

Diana Gabaldon//Outlander3) The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. A series of adult novels that follow a World War II combat nurse called Claire, who, on her second honeymoon in Scotland, finds herself flung back in time to the eighteenth century, where she falls in love with Jamie – a Highland warrior. The series begins with Cross Stitch (simply called Outlander in the U.S.), and is an epic-scale time travel adventure/romance – though I should warn you that there are a few pretty explicit sex scenes in the book, so it’s not one for the kids~! 😉

Ursula K. Le Guin//A Fisherman of the Inland Sea4) Another Story, OR A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursula K. Le Guin. A short story set in Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, which deals with perceived time travel as a side-effect of inter-planetary travel: Time passes differently for those on the spaceship than it does for everyone else, so at the end of each voyage, the timeline has become slightly out-of-sync (Wikipedia explains this better in the Hainish Cycle article). This story was originally published as part of Le Guin’s anthology, A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, but it can also be found in The Time Traveller’s Almanac – a massive compilation of time travel short stories that any fan of the genre should definitely try to get hold of. 🙂