8 Short Stories Perfect For Every Mood And Every Reader Who Has Very Little Time


It’s National Short Story Month!

Are you one of those people who want to read but things like your dog that has lupus or the kid you have to emotionally shape and protect get in the way? Then, lucky you! May is national short story month, which means it’s a month where you’re not only allowed but encouraged to read short texts! I’ve included personal essays and short stories for all of your quick-read needs.

1. ‘Santaland Diaries’ by David Sedaris

This personal essay is a one stop shop. It’s got everything if you hate holidays, are looking for a laugh, and/or if you are looking to feel better about your current occupation. THIS one is hilarious. In 1992, NPR broadcasted Sedaris’ essay that encapsulates the hilariously ridiculous work of your average Christmas elf. If you have ever worked in a job where you’ve felt like people have treated you like their personal servant, then this is the story for you!

Read this if you have ever worked in a job that made you want to rip your ears off of your body so that you would therefore be unable to listen to consumers speak.

2. ‘The High is Always the Pain and the Pain is Always the High’ by Jay Kang

THIS one is BANANAS. Think of your high school U.S. History teacher. Imagine Ms. Blaine teaching you about Andrew Jackson and all of his nonsense and then immediately leaving class to spend all of her hard-earned money betting on the ponies. ON THE PONIES! Kang singlehandedly shows how anyone, regardless of gender, race, or occupation, can fall victim to the seduction of addiction. Kang’s writing is emotional, enticing, and thought-provoking to an extreme. This is one of my all-time favorite essays.

Read this if you want your mind to be boggled in the best possible way.

3. ‘That’s Don Fey’ by Tina Fey

In my opinion, this is one of the best essays in Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. It’s warm yet hilarious. If you have a parent that demands respect and is borderline intimidating yet is immensely well-liked, then read this.

You can find this essay in Bossypants.

Read this essay if you have any paternal heroes in your life.

4. ‘The Cheater’s Guide to Love’ by Junot Diaz

THIS one is good if someone you genuinely care about cheated on you. It might also make you feel better because Yunior, the antihero/cheater/hot mess of a human in this short story cheated on his girlfriend with FIFTY women. I don’t even know fifty people. God bless. I love watching Diaz in interviews; he talks about romantic relationships both realistically and eloquently. “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” reflects Diaz’s practical ideas and the realities we may sometimes be afraid to face.

Read this if you’ve sworn off love and are looking for some support in that decision.

5. ‘Cold Pastoral’ by Marina Keegan

Ah, young hook-up culture. This short story is filled with twists and moments that kick you straight in the gut. It’s simply excellent. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking text that is going to make you question whether or not you actually care about someone, then read this.

This story was penned by Marina Keegan, a talented 2012 graduate of Yale University who died tragically in a car accident less than a week after her graduation. You can read this short story and Keegan’s other magnificent work in The Opposite of Loneliness.

Read this if you have ever wondered if you have settled when it comes to love.

6. ‘Bernice Bobs Her Hair’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are rumors that the movie Mean Girls is based on this hilarious and infuriating short story. I couldn’t confirm it via the Internet so lemme text Tina Fey reals quick. Anyway, this one has twists and turns and is on the longer side, if you’re looking for an especially developed plot and all that jazz.

Read this story if you love KARMA.

7. ‘The Reunion’ by Maya Angelou

This story stILllllLLLLLLL makes me want to jump inside of the short story and shake one particular character. This is the kind of story that will make you think about that one friend you had from college who was literally blind to whatever pain you may have had going on in your life. This story will also make you want to get up and clap. It’s just fantastic. Read it.

Read this story if you want a hero who embodies independence and resilience.

8. ‘Thank You Ma’am’ by Langston Hughes

You may have had to read this one in high school. Reread it! Reading this always feels like Langston Hughes is hugging my soul. It’s just a good one. The leading female in this story will be your new personal hero—she’s tough, she’s hilarious, and she’s poetically compassionate.

Read this story if you believe in paying it forward.