One of the best things to come from meeting up with Book Riot Insiders from my city is having more to read than I ever imagined. Well, okay, most days that’s just stressful—there are so many book recs, I’m actually okay with selling my soul for immortality at this point—but some Insiders, like Amy McKie *waves*, are smart with their recommendations. They give you free short stories.
I don’t remember when I first read this short story, but the second time around it happened to be open when I was trying to tune out a conversation on the train—of course I’d forgotten my headphones—and was absorbed into Computron’s world all over again. I was so immersed, I missed my stop. Also? I definitely pulled off the “I’m-really-not-listening-in-on-your-much-too-loud-argument” expression that I worry I can’t sell because most of the times what I’m reading on my phone doesn’t transport me out of the TTC experience and I actually do end up listening in on people’s much too loud arguments.
So, basically, by “emergencies,” I mean transit.
Or lunch breaks.
Or any social gathering that requires you to be present, but doesn’t give you much of an opportunity to have any real conversations and what introvert wants small talk? Not this one, okay? Apparently, short stories help in these situations—especially if you keep forgetting headphones like me—so I found a few more, you know, just in case.
If you’re not in transit and aren’t worried about dying on the train or something (I am very dramatic about the TTC, I know) maybe you feel safe enough to read something darker. In that case, boy do I have the two gripping short stories for you. The first is “Jun and the Two Sisters: A Fox Story” by Kimberly Wang, edited by Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren. It’s my favourite type of short story: a cutesy murder short story! Or, at least, it starts out cutesy and then moves seamlessly into actually terrifying. “Aurora’s End” by Kylie Lee Baker is terrifying in a different way because unlike my previous recommendations, it isn’t speculative fiction. It’s a twisty story about a girl who has witnessed her brother drowning, could not save him, and is dealing with the resulting trauma. You can find (and support) more stories like these at Joyland and The Puritan, respectively.
That concludes my list—for now. I always have awkward situations to escape by pulling out my phone, so do let me know what you like to read while in a panicky haze! Find more short story resources here.