Friday favorites: 6 short stories to read this weekend

Like most of us, I never feel like I have enough time to read. When I was a kid, and even into high school, I used to devour books like it was my JOB. These days, I add titles to my Kindle wishlist about 10 times faster than I can cross them off.

(I also like to collect old, pretty books that I will probably never read.)

But here’s the thing. When I stop and think about it, I actually do spend a lot of time reading….just not as much time reading books.

So what DO I read then? Random stories on the internet.

Something intriguing is always popping up in my email or on my social media feeds, and it somehow seems so much easier to carve out 10-20 minutes for an interesting blog post or article than it does to pick up a book for 10-20 pages.

I love books, I really do. And I believe there’s real value in making the time to sit down and lose yourself in a good one (especially if there’s a hammock involved). Still, I find a lot of value in the 21st century short story, too. It’s exciting that there’s such a variety of powerful, beautiful stories—in a few thousand words or less—right at our fingertips.

So, with that said, here are a few great stories I’ve read lately:

1. Falling in Love on the Trail by Rachel Zurer (Backpacker Magazine)

A sweet personal essay that will hit home for anyone who backpacks (or travels) with a significant other.

2. Behind Trees: Hiding and Finding Yourself in the Sims by Joe Wadlington (The Rumpus)

My friend Joe is a writer and a brilliant human being living in San Francisco. We taught creative writing to summer campers together once upon a time, which is the anecdote that I will use at parties when he’s famous. He’s that person who, when you speak to him, makes you feel at once like you’ve known him forever and like you’re the most important person in the room—and that translates perfectly into his writing. The heartbreaking openness of this piece sneaks up on you among all the nostalgic humor.

3. The Perfect Fit by David Sedaris (The New Yorker)

David Sedaris (the ultimate storyteller) sums up what it means to have siblings with his characteristic mix of sardonic wit and blunt honesty.

4. Proud by Adam Lucas ( 

Any Tarheel knows the uncanny ability of Adam Lucas to take everything you’re feeling about UNC basketball and perfectly put it into words. I may never be ready to talk about the National Championship game last month, but as always, I can just let Lucas speak for me. Whether you’re a Tarheel fan or not, you have to appreciate that Lucas is a fantastic storyteller. I’m not even ashamed that this one almost made me cry. (We love you, Marcus Paige!!)

5. When You Become the Person You Hate on the Internet by Sarah Hepola (NPR)

“Technology is such a bait and switch, giving you the feel of anonymity at the very moment your words have the farthest reach.”

A simple, relatable story, and a good reminder that we’re all human (read: we all screw up sometimes). I haven’t read Sarah’s memoir yet, but obviously it’s on my Kindle wishlist.

6. The Voyeurs Motel by Gay Talese (The New Yorker)

If you haven’t seen this fascinating longread that’s been circulating the internet recently, do yourself a favor and block out 20 minutes. I guarantee that once you get about three paragraphs in, you won’t be able to stop. It’ll get you thinking about the nature of humanity and the thin, subjective lines of morality we draw for ourselves. It will make you laugh, and it will deeply creep you out. Fascinating.

Are you a book reader, or a whatever-grabs-your-attention-at-the-moment reader like I am? What good articles have you read recently? (Side note: I have loved the idea of an Articles Club ever since I read about the idea on Cup of Jo, one of my favorite blogs. Because sometimes I read something—like #6—that I just NEED to discuss with someone afterward. I would love to start one someday!)


Happy Friday (and happy reading)!

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