Short Stories a Plenty

It seems that we have found ourselves in a literary period focused very heavily on Young Adult fiction; not only in the publishing industry but also the film industry. This is particularly evident in Utah where the trend is thriving. It would be easy to argue that this primarily because of the manner in which the genre transcends generations, which is a valid argument. However, there are other, equally poignant, genres out there.

Looking back on this blog, I realized that I've written quite a few posts around Young Adult fiction lately and I just wanted to clarify and stake my claim that believe it or not, I don't only read YA novels.

One genre that I am particularly fond of, is that of the short stories. School, church, work, and frankly, life, often get in the way of my reading and I endeavor to make up for this by binge reading which normally kills my grades. It took me a while to discover how I could remedy this but when I did, it was through the short story. Reading a short story is non-committal. They last long enough to get my reading fix but are also short enough that they don't distract me (too much). And thus, I discovered how to balance my reading addiction and my grades by keeping a thick collection of short stories in my bag, especially during the busier parts of the semester. With this, it is easy to sit down in ten or fifteen minutes and simply read one of them.

I wanted to focus today on a collection of short stories that can be read either separately or as an entire novel. The collection, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, by Susan Vreeland, is a piece of historical fiction that starts off set in the present time telling the tale of a quiet math professor who invites one of his colleagues, an art professor, to come gaze upon a painting that he insists is a Vermeer. As each short story follows, they connect as an entirety to tell the tale of this one painting as it survived long past it's viewers and their individual wars.

By seeing how each character regards the painting, Vreeland creates a collection that comments on the power of beauty and why some of it lasts and some of it doesn't while simultaneously providing a powerful insight to the motives behind truth and lies.

This work of historical fiction is an easy and enjoyable way to get into the habit of reading short stories in one's spare time. Find it here. More short stories to come!

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