Not all of us are lucky enough to have a short ride to work. Although waking up earlier than necessary to catch the train, the bus or the Subway seems like a major bummer, you can actually use this time to get in that reading you’ve been meaning to work on.
Looking to get back into the swing of reading? Believe it or not, your best chance is on the way to work. In fact, there are entire viral Instagram accounts that are dedicated to what people are reading on public transportation like Subway Book Review and Hot Dudes Reading.
Getting invested in an entire book in 20-minute intervals may not be ideal, and that’s why you may be looking instead for new short stories to read on your commute. Moreover, it’s in short story writing that many writers get their start. So, you might get the opportunity to read more experimental, newer pieces that will broaden your horizons. Even if you only have 15 minutes of downtime in your seat, that’s enough time to finish one of these new short stories of 2020 and 2021.
Realistic new short stories to keep you on the fast track
Sometimes, you’re really not in the mood to go outside of your comfort zone, outside of your own reality, when you’re just trying to get to your 9 to 5. That’s fair, and there’s so much innovative and compelling literary fiction being published every day. Make sure to download these new short stories before Monday morning.
“But There’s Music in the Trader Joe’s Parking Lot” by Ali Littman
This short story is certainly short, to say the least. This is the kind of piece that counts as “flash fiction.” Read this one if you’ve only got a couple of stops to go on the subway or the bus. While it doesn’t require much time, it does require your attention, each word contributing to the heart-rending image of something so banal, yet so gripping, as birds singing in the contemporary American gothic of a metropolitan parking lot.
“Nudes” by Hillary Suzanne
This is a story that will connect with literally anyone in the Millennial or Gen Z age brackets. With the narrator’s preoccupation with the meanings behind social media interactions and her new-age insecurities, I think we can all relate, as much as we wish we couldn’t.
“After” by Leah Jane Esau
The ultimate prolonged adolescence story, reading this will make you feel like there’s a puzzle piece missing – some miscommunication somewhere along the way. The reality of living as a young upward mobile professional in a world that no longer values what it used to while in a relationship that seems miscalculated is what drives this narrative. The anxieties of living life in the time wherein we do becomes a mechanism of Esau’s hypnotic plot.
Genre fiction that’s just the ticket
Some of the bestselling short story collections in the world aren’t normal literary fiction stories, they’re sci-fi and fantasy and historical fiction. You know, genre fiction. These kinds of stories will punch you right in the gut, creating entire worlds for you to explore in just a few thousand words.
“Far Side of the Universe” by noc
There’s something surreal about futuristic sci-fi – something unsettling in the “what could be” of the entire subgenre. And noc relies upon this uncertainty to draw meaning from their story. This is a story about finding sentiment within what many view as the cold machinery of modern science and technology; about praying even when there is no evidence that it will do anything at all.
“Flood” by Tim Raymond
More of speculative/fantasy storytelling, Raymond’s story tells the fascinating narrative of a family living in a house (and a town) that’s been completely flooded. They communicate with one another using an Etch-a-Sketch, which is simultaneously funny and lamentable. This is a strange one, folks.
“Shards” by Ian Rogers
The longest short story on this list, “Shards” is for the suspense lovers among us. Perhaps not best for short bus rides, you may miss your stop while focused on this read! A thriller, this short story is begging to be adapted into a movie. About a few friends who go on a camping trip together and encounter “the unknown,” you probably think you’ve heard this story before – but you certainly haven’t the way Rogers tells it.
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