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December 6, 2012

You can always find time to read

The Daily Star

---- — The holiday season is a busy time of year, but there’s always time to do some reading. 

Many years ago, a retired woman complained to me that she didn’t have any time to read. I said to her, “sure you do. All you need is 10 minutes a day.” I went on to explain that if she just set aside 10 minutes every day and spent that time reading, she’d be able to read a book before she knew it. After our conversation, I didn’t really think about it again. A couple of years later, she wrote me a letter saying that she had taken my advice to heart. She enclosed a list of all the books she had been able to read using just those 10 minutes per day. It was an amazing list and she concluded her letter by saying those 10 minutes per day were the best investment she had ever made. Her letter gave me goose bumps. You just never know what will happen when you tell someone there’s plenty of time to read.

So for this holiday season, try 10 minutes a day and my suggestions to you this week are to try some short stories. We have more than 100 books and books on DE at the library which are collections of short stories. You’ll certainly find one to keep you occupied. Here are just a few recommendations.

Daphne du Maurier wrote many classic novels that have been enjoyed through the years. But did you know that before she started writing novels, she actually wrote short stories? “The Doll” is a collection of her short stories that were originally published in magazines in the 1930s. You’ll experience all kinds of emotions in this unique collection.

Stephen King is a master storyteller and one of his collections of short stories can be found in “Full Dark, No Stars.” Each tale has a twist and a turn, most of the time unseen to the reader. If you like your tales on the macabre side, this book is for you. You may spend well more than 10 minutes reading and your heart will be racing.

Each year, “The Best American Short Stories” collects outstanding stories published in a variety of sources and compiles them into one volume. The stories are both fiction and nonfiction and can be from both established authors as well as beginners. You’ll enjoy a variety of topics and you can finish a whole story in no time at all.

“You Think That’s Bad” by Jim Shepard takes you all around the world and back in time in this collection of short stories. You’ll experience love, adventure, heartbreak, alienation, losers and winners in this wide-ranging collection.

Male characters abound in “Men in the Making.” Author Bruce Machart draws the reader into the male psyche. The daily life of these men can be brutal or compassionate, and their careers vary from truck driving to logging. They live to prove themselves and the stories they tell come alive for the reader.


“Killer Koalas from Outer Space” by Andy Griffiths promises to make your brain explode when you read it. That’s enough to guarantee every child will want to grab this book and start reading. Comical illustrations, goofy jokes, and absurd humor will have children giggling.

Bruce Coville tells nine odd stories in “Oddest of All.” In one story, you can save the world or doom it forever with just a single vote. In another, a girl discovers the secret of what’s really at the bottom of the pond. And what would you do if you could see ghosts? You’ll find out in another of the odd tales.

“The Chronicles of Harris Burdick” contains 14 amazing tales written by different authors and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. Is the tale of a strange heart, another of seven chairs, yet another that takes place in the third-floor bedroom. A group of the tales have outdoor locations and range from Maple Street to Italy. You’ll be shaking your head and reading some of them twice for their cleverness.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at