Since I moved into Boston and decided to rely 100% on public transit to commute to work, I’ve poured through dozens of books traveling to and from work. I typically rotate between a classic, an adventure novel, and a business-esque book. I can usually get in about 45 minutes to an hour of reading every day when you count in waiting for and riding on the trains. Thinking back on it, I never would have read so many books if I were driving to and from work instead of taking the train. Who has the time to drive an hour to work, spend 8-10 hours working, drive an hour home, eat, read books, AND have a life? I’m not sure it’s possible so I definitely feel fortunate to be able to take the train to work every day. Despite the shortcomings and frustrations associated with the MBTA, it still beats the hell out of when I used to drive to work, often stuck in Boston traffic for two hours per day. That amounts to ten hours per week and 520 hours per year (equivalent of ~21 full days per year, ugh).
I’ve read a lot of diverse books but through talking with an old roommate of mine (double major in Economics and Classics) I realized that I’ve totally avoided the realm of short stories albeit unintentionally. So I decided that this month’s 30 day life experiment would be to read and review one short story each day on my commute to work. This should be a good way to put 20 new short stories in my repertoire.
To kick off this month’s experiment, I headed to the Boston Public Library. I talked to a few different librarians and they were super stoked on my concept. They printed off a list of popular short stories for me plus adding a few of their personal favorites not on that list. The list was entitled, “The 50 Best Short Stories of All Time”. I feel like with a title like that I can’t lose. The stories were binned into various themes such as: Sad and Shocking, Pop Culture Classics, Modern Writers, Twist Endings, etc. I plan to not repeat any authors as a way to get a diverse experience, then after this month is over I can go back and selectively pursue authors that I liked.
Over the past two years I’ve kept track of my books through a few different virtual bookshelves online. I used Virtual Bookshelf for a while which integrated well with Facebook but then they went out of business so I switched to Goodreads.com. I’ve been using Goodreads for about a year, writing short reviews on most of the books I finish. There are a few other popular virtual bookshelves that I plan to investigate throughout thsi month such as Shelfari by Amazon, Delicious Library, Library Thing, and a few others.
As with all of my life experiments thus far, I’ll be keeping a Twitter List of users associated with short stories and literature in general. Join the conversation HERE.