Tag Archives: short stories

Lost Bronte Story Published 170 Years Later

In terms of great literary classics, a number of authors come to mind. But some of the most famous of all just so happen to be sisters: the Bronte sisters. Charlotte (Jane Eyre), Emily (Wuthering Heights), and Anne (Agnes Grey) have made their marks on literature for all time. But what if a new Bronte story were published? Well, that’s exactly what happened.

In February, a Bronte expert discovered in a Brussels museum a short story written by Charlotte Bronte in 1842. According to this article by The Huffington Post, the story is written in French was a homework assignment for the then-teenager. Titled L’Ingratitud, it tells the story of:

“a thoughtless young rat who escapes his father’s protective care in search of adventure in the countryside and comes to a sorry end. The tale contrasts the solemn paternal devotion of the father with the reckless abandon of his “ingrate” offspring.” — Charlotte Bronte

And now it’s been published by the London Review of Books in both French and English. Nothing like finding an author’s short story 170 years after it was written.

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Get Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life Ebook for $2.99, Free with Amazon Prime

Though I’ve yet to read Chelsea, Chelsea Bang, Bang, Chelsea Handler’s first book, My Horizontal Life, is easily her best. An hysterical collection of short stories about her sex life and one night stands, Handler shares her comedic chops better here than on any episode of her late night show, Chelsea Lately.

Handler details her escapades with midgets, cruise ship performers, and strippers. And the best part — it’s true! And even better — she has no shame! She shares all the gory details without hesitation, causing such strong laughter, you forget you’re reading a book.

Right now, you can get My Horizontal Life for just $2.99 for your Kindle, free for Amazon Prime members.

It’s also available in paperback for $9.96.

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Review: The Imperfectionists

Recap: In a dying profession, only the strongest survive, but the weaklings still manage to squeak by. The Imperfectionists tells the intertwining stories of 10 newspaper employees and one very dedicated reader. They’re American transplants, reporting (and reading) the news overseas in Rome for an international paper. And as boring as some may find newspapers to be, the lives of those who produce them are far from it.

The novel, which smartly connects a series of short stories within each chapter, gives the reader an inside look at the life of a newspaper reporter: from the daily trials and tribulations of meeting deadlines to finding creative ways of writing a headline you’ve written a thousand times and dealing with curmudgeonly co-workers. At the end of each character-focused chapter is an italicized bit that tells the history of the paper up to the present-day; telling a subplot which ultimately becomes the main focus.

But this is by no means a story just about journalism. With each chapter, we get a glimpse into the lives of the paper’s employees — reporters, editors, and publishers. Most have sad stories to tell about lost love, crushed dreams, and a long life of misery. But they all have surprising twist endings, endings that will make you laugh, cry, and think about your own life.

Analysis: The best way to describe The Imperfectionists is that it’s like the Crash or Love Actually in literature form. Tom Rachman brilliantly weaves each character together from chapter to chapter. Some are friends. Some are co-workers. Some are former roommates. But they’re all connected in their literary world. And rather than telling one broad story, which could have been boring, Rachman gives each character their own chapter — their own 15 minutes of fame for their story to be heard. It really does feel like a book of short stories….but then it’s not, and that’s what makes it so smart.

As mentioned above, most of the characters’ stories are sad; hence the title The Imperfectionists. Most journalists are perfectionists. Every fact must be checked. Every sentence must make sense. Every page must be perfectly laid out. This novel shows how these people are perfectionists in their work, but not in their lives.

I may partial to the journalism focus of the novel because after all, I’m a journalist in “real life.” But the overall arc of the novel is a statement on what is happening to newspapers worldwide. Sadly, it’s a dying industry. Budget cuts and the move to online media are forcing papers to shut down, and Rachman explores that issue with The Imperfectionists.

MVP: Rich Snyder. Easily the most unlikable character in the novel, he’s also the most fun to read about. His role sticks mostly to one character’s story. But his attitude is completely ridiculous. He’s a 40+ man who reports as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. He knows how to do his job — and do it well — but not without a complete “frat boy” attitude, one that had me laughing out loud. Quote of note: “Dude, let’s commit some journalism.”

Get The Imperfectionists for $10.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tiny Book

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is mostly an actor, really an Internet enthusiast, but also kind of an author. Confused yet? Well the Hollywood actor — best known for his work in 500 Days of Summer and Inception — has recently released a book, based on a collection of short stories developed on his web site.

Gordon-Levitt started the online production company hitRECord within the last few years. The company is collection of people’s thoughts and personal works of art meshed together. It’s made up of a movies, stories, art, and music. And now Gordon-Levitt has combined the works of his production company into one tiny book, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.

Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with Gordon-Levitt to talk about the new book. From the conversation, one can tell Gordon-Levitt is a dreamer, who both loves all forms of art and has a special appreciation for physical books. Go ahead and read the entire interview. I don’t know about you, but it certainly makes me want to grab a copy of this clever, little book.

Get The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories in hardcover for only $9.

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So You’ve Heard of E-books, But What About E-book Shorts?

If you haven’t heard of e-books by now, you most likely reside under a rock. But just because you’ve heard of or have read e-books doesn’t mean you know what e-book shorts are.

E-book shorts are e-books that are longer than articles but shorter than books. Often times, they’re short stories excerpts from a novel. They’re also cheaper than a full-length book. Up until last week, they had been available¬† through Amazon. Amazon calls them Kindle Singles.

But now, Princeton University Press is jumping on the e-book short bandwagon, publishing 5 e-book shorts. According to this article by the L.A. Times, the shorts are all excerpts and became available last week. They include an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Princeton University Press’s shorts are available through a variety of vendors, but are separate from Amazon’s Kindle Singles program.

The question here is whether or not these shorts hurt or help the book industry. On one hand, people will buy them and consider not buying the entire (and more expensive) book. But on the other hand, reading an excerpt may help a reader realize they want to read the whole book. I think it’s an interesting idea nonetheless and hope it means more business for the book industry. What do you think?

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