Winter is here. The days are shorter, and you’re still recovering from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so ease back into reading with these quick and accessible novellas and short story collections:
TENTH OF DECEMBER: STORIES by SAUNDERS, GEORGE (DB 76097, BR 19818; 5 hours 46 minutes)
Collection of ten short stories by the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner. In “Home” a veteran deals with reuniting with family members who have no clue about the man he has become. In the title story a suicidal cancer patient crosses paths with an imaginative boy. Strong language. Bestseller. 2013.
SWIMMERS: A NOVEL by OTSUKA, JULIE (DB 107007 and LB 13711; 4 hours 8 minutes)
The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world. Commercial audiobook. 2022.
WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY: STORIES by ARIMAH, LESLEY NNEKA (DBC 27201; 5 hours 20 minutes)
A collection of stories exploring the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers, and friends to one another and to the places they call home. Commercial audiobook. Adult. Unrated.
CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS by NATSUKAWA, SOSUKE (DB 106176 and LB 13877; 5 hours 8 minutes)
Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears and demands the teenager’s help in saving misused books. Translated from the original 2017 Japanese edition. Unrated. 2021.
WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS by OYEYEMI, HELEN (DB 85048 and BR 23506; 7 hours 42 minutes)
Themes of keys and locks abound in this collection of nine loosely linked short stories. In “Books and Roses,” a baby is left at a monastery with a golden key around her neck. Some strong language. 2016.
BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD by KAWAGUCHI, TOSHIKAZU (DB 102743; 6 hours 54 minutes)
In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop also offers the chance to travel back in time. Over the course of one summer, four customers hope to make that journey. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
FIVE TUESDAYS IN WINTER: STORIES by KING, LILY (DB 106197 and LB 13872; 6 hours 12 minutes)
A collection of short stories both fresh and previously published from the author of WRITERS & LOVERS (DB 98766) and EUFORIA (DB 103589). The author explores themes of desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence, and the inexorable tug toward love. Unrated. 2021.
HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by ADAMS, DOUGLAS (DB 18339 and BR 14438; 5 hours 49 minutes)
When the Earth is demolished to make room for a galactic freeway, sole earth survivor Arthur Dent is forced to take up a life of hitchhiking around the cosmos with the aid of an alien friend and a book called “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Deadpan science fiction parody.
AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE: STORIES by ELLIS, HELEN (DB 83382; 3 hours 48 minutes)
A collection of short stories exploring the dark world of domesticity, and featuring, among others, murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and a bra fitter. The story settings include a haunted prewar apartment building, a book club initiation ritual, and a pageant princess’s getaway car. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2016.
GIRL WHO READS ON THE METRO by FERET-FLEURY, CHRISTINE (DB 97251 and BR 23536; 4 hours 49 minutes)
One morning in Paris, Juliette walks through a rusty gate wedged open with a book, into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman and his young daughter, Zaide. Soliman hires Juliette to take used books into the world and match them with readers. Translated from the 2017 French edition. 2019.