Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Sneak-a-Read Challenge - Thankfully Reading

Jennifer at Literate Housewife has today's mini-challenge for the Thankfully Reading Weekend. She wants to know three to five books that make good choices for reading on the run--for the occasions when you have to snatch short reading times when you can fit them in--and why they work well.

I think the best kind of reading choices for these situations fall into three categories. The first is short works (short stories, novellas, essays, etc.). With the onset of the ereader, these are more widely accessible in single formats now.

Craig Johnson had both a short story and a novella this year: "The Messenger" and Spirit of Steamboat. While Spirit of Steamboat is a novella and requires more time than the short story, it's also broken up into chapters so stopping points are built in.

Both are classic Craig Johnson and everything I love about his full-length novels are packed into these little gems as well: strong sense of place, rich characters, snappy dialogue and a sense that you're right there with the Absaroka gang.

The next category would be the collections of these works. These you're more likely to find in print if you prefer a print version. Where it isn't especially cost efficient to do a print run of short stories, a collection is a better way to make it affordable. And a collection of short stories can work in a variety of ways. I see it like a bag of candy. You can buy a bag full of mini Snickers and get the same candy (a collection of one author's short stories) or you can buy the variety pack and get different flavors (a collection of different authors with a similar theme to each story).

When I'm looking for a good laugh, I turn to Steve Hockensmith's short story collections. I've enjoyed both his collection of Christmas themed stories, Naughty, and his collection of Holmes on the Range stories Dear Mr. Holmes. Dear Mr. Holmes is even available on audio!

Also within this category is a type of book I've been reading more often and thoroughly enjoying: humorous essays. Some that I've read this year include Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies (will be on my 2013 favorites list), Self-Inflicted Wounds and The Potty Mouth at the Table.

The last category is books with short chapters, ones that lend themselves to frequent stopping points. The content would need to be such that you aren't trying to remember a lot of complex detail between readings as well.

I've added some YA and Middle Grade books to the mix this year and those tend to be written exactly that way. So if there are some of those you've been wanting to pick up, when you have short snippets of time might be the perfect opportunity. Two of my favorites in this realm this year have been Chris Grabenstein's Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and John Connolly's The Creeps.

O.k. I guess I kind of made this a little more than a mini-challenge, right? The topic just sparked the ideas for me. How about you? Would you add any categories to mine? How about suggestions for books within these categories?

In the mean time, I'm headed back to my own reading. Have a great night! Happy Reading!


Literate Housewife December 1, 2013 at 1:59 PM  

I will have to pick up Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies. It sounds like the perfect thing. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks for participating in my challenge. Good luck!

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