The Short List

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snowIt’s another iced-in day here in PDX, with a frozen landscape I dare not venture into. With all of these ice and snow days, I’ve had more time to read than usual. This got me thinking, short stories that are perfect for situations like this; You didn’t plan on having time to read, but now you do.

There are so many great short stories, but I thought I’d compile a go-to list of classics, that are universally great.

Here is my Short List:

 The Snow Queen
Hans Christian Anderson

Of course this wintry weather has me thinking of “The Snow Queen” but the whole HCA fairytale collection is a great thing to have on hand!

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

 

 

Happy Prince & Other Stories
by Oscar Wilde

Includes stories that appeal to both child and adult with their themes of love, truth and sacrifice. The other stories are: The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend, and The Remarkable Rocket.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

The Magic Shop
H.G. Wells

Written in the year 1903, this book is one of the most popular novels of H. G. Wells, and has been translated into several other languages around the world. This book will take you back to the days when you believed in magic, maybe that’s still today.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving

The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Rip Van Winkle
by Washington Irving
Follow up Sleepy Hallow with the legendary enchantment of Rip Van Winkle in the Kaatskill Mountains; the gruesome end of Ichabod Crane, who met the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow; the spectre bridegroom who turned out to be happily substantial; the pride of an English village and the come-uppance of the over-zealous Mountjoy – these witty, perceptive and captivating tales range from fantasy to romance.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

The Short Novels of
John Steinbeck

From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

On the topic of Shorts, here is a mini drink that really packs a punch:

Book Bean: Café Bombón
bombon_miniA Cuban drink with roots to Valencia, Spain. 

Espresso served with sweetened condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio. Bombón means chocolate in Spanish. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, or even cayenne for extra pop of flavor.

 

Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
The Brothers Grimm
They are the stories we’ve known since we were children. Rapunzel. Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. But the works originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s are not necessarily the versions we heard before bedtime. They’re darker and often don’t end very happily—but they’re often far more interesting.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories
Truman Capote
Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm. This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Stephen King

He has dazzled an entire generation of readers with his genius as a prominent writer of short fiction. Now he once again assembles a generous array of unforgettable, tantalizing tales – including those that, until recently, have never been published in a book

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com



The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom

This story follows the life and death of a maintenance man named Eddie. In a heroic attempt to save a little girl from being killed by an amusement park ride that is about to fall, Eddie is killed and sent to heaven, where he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Tell-Tale Heart
by Edgar Allan Poe

A story first published in 1843.
It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed.
Intrigued..? 😉

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com


To Build a Fire and Other Stories
by Jack London

If you need a good warming up after some of those chillers, here is a classic collection of some of Jack London’s most loved short stories. His writing is heart-warming and grounding, a great way to spend a few hours or days.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
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What are some of your favorite short stories?

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Blizard-Bound Books

zima_chayWell as some may know we got hit with quite the snow storm here in Portland, Oregon. Some people are over exaggerating, some people are bummed and frustrated, me personally; I LOVE IT!!! I adore the magic that is snow, and have been thoroughly enchanted with it.

So of course this weekend I’ll focus on Snowy day reading and winter fare!

Here is my list of 10 great Blizzard worthy books:
One of Shakespeare’s later romantic comedies, offers a striking and challenging mixture of tragic and violent events, lyrical love-speeches, farcical comedy, pastoral song and dance, and, eventually, dramatic revelations and reunions. Thematically, there is a rich orchestration of the contrasts between age and youth, corruption and innocence, decline and regeneration. Both Leontes’ murderous jealousy and Perdita’s love-relationship with Florizel are eloquently intense. In the theatre, The Winter’s Tale often proves to be diversely entertaining and deeply moving.

Ever since it was published in 1978, the picture-book presentation of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” has been an enduring favorite. Susan Jeffers’ illustrations are full of detail and subtle color in her sweeping backgrounds of frosty New England scenes. The kindly figure with his “promises to keep” exudes warmth as he stops to appreciate the quiet delights of winter.

Take a journey to the icy winter-land of Russia in this historical fiction:

A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them. 13 year old Anastasia is used to a life of luxury; her major concerns are how to get out of her detested schoolwork to play in the snow, go ice-skating, or have picnics. She wears diamonds and rubies, and every morning her mother tells her which matching outfit she and her three sisters shall wear that day. It’s a fairy tale life — until everything changes with the outbreak of war between Russia and Germany.

A great page turner  that takes a unique and thought provoking look at death, and the process of grief:

When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn’t happen.
In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. I could not put this book down, it was deep and troubling, and so brilliantly written.

If the snow fascinates and intrigues you the way it does me, this is a great book to have laying about for anyone to peruse and be enchanted by:
61dr1044nll-_sx389_bo1204203200_Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten.

This is a good one to cuddle up to the fire with and read to a little one,
or read to your own kid at heart:

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat.

 

For the more daring reader there is always this classic mountain chiller:

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

 

This is always a good snowy day read, especially when you are starting to feel like the winter will never end.
Read this for a little warmth and hope that winter will not last forever:A picture book retelling of C. S. Lewis’s classic story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for the youngest fans! Introduce them to the magic of Narnia with this picture book featuring illustrations by Tudor Humphries.

In this novel Leo Tolstoy, the great master of Russian literature,
charts the course of the human heart.

The sweeping love story of two people who defy the conventions of their age to follow the dictates of their hearts. Trapped in a stifling marriage, Anna Karenina is swept off her feet by the dashing Count Vronsky. When the truth about their passionate liaison comes out, Anna’s husband is more concerned with keeping up appearances than anything else, but at last he seeks a reluctant divorce. Rejected by society, the two lovers flee to Italy, where Anna finds herself isolated from all except the man she loves, and who loves her. But can they live by love alone?

And last but not least, if you really need to warm up;
do it with Dante’s Inferno, that should do the trick 😉

The epic grandeur of Dante’s masterpiece has inspired readers for 700 years, and has entered the human imagination. But the further we move from the late medieval world of Dante, the more a rich understanding and enjoyment of the poem depends on knowledgeable guidance. Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher of Dante, and Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, have written a beautifully accurate and clear verse translation of the first volume of Dante’s epic poem, the Divine Comedy.

What’s your idea of a great snow day read?

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The Spell Begins to Break

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“Didn’t I tell you,” answered Mr. Beaver, “that she’d made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn’t I tell you? Well, just come and see!”

 And then they were all at the top and did see.

2014-12-23-09-00-54.jpgIt was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat  a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as holly berries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world-the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.
“I’ve come at last,” said he.
C.S. Lewis “The Chronicles of Narnia”