But we have some good news: reading for pleasure in college is not impossible. If you’re looking for something smart yet juicy to read in your occasional spare moments, here are a few good books of short stories that lie somewhere in between War and Peace and Fifty Shades of Gray.
1. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri: Lahiri’s style is made up of beautiful prose accompanying incredibly poignant stories that are rich with cultural relevance. Each story is a unique manipulation of social realism and symbolic elements. It’s possible to read just one of these touching stories per night and weep…rinse, repeat.
2. I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number, by Sloane Crosley: Both of these books compile just simply hilarious short essays. Don’t try to read this on any form of public transportation because her personal stories and anecdotes will make you laugh out loud. It’s hard to believe that she has actually experienced what she describes in her nonfiction essays, but you’ll have to judge the truth for yourself. If you’re a fan of David Sedaris, you’ll eat these essays up.
3. Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut: Any self respecting liberal arts student has encountered some Vonnegut and developed a questionable but healthy obsession with his witty craft. This collection of short stories offers a great taste of classic Vonnegut in small pieces, incorporating snarky social criticism and outrageous dystopian scenarios.
4. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov, by Vladimir Nabokov: If Lolita is your favorite book, then take a stab at some of the celebrated Russian author’s infectious short stories. Nabokov can be a bit emotionally taxing and heavy for a light afternoon read, but his stories remain perfect for a rainy day over fall break.
– Bridget McGeehan