Sunday, 20 June 2021

Tea Break Reading


Short Stories and Essays

Working from home for the last umpteen months has had a surprisingly good effect on my work/life balance. When I was in the office I would rarely take a tea break (or a lunch break) away from my desk and would just work straight through my hours. I would take the recommended VDU breaks each hour but not a full break of any description.

Mr Norfolkbookworm has always been better at this than me and now I make sure to try for a proper tea break each morning (I finish my working day at lunch time so lunches are definitely away from the computer). I've been using this break to read and I've found that essay collections and short stories are fantastic for this time.

I've mentioned before that I've been reading nature journals and almanacs at tea time but now I am really enjoying a new set of short story collections...

These books are published the independent publisher, Comma Press, and pull together short stories set in cities around the world. Unlike other books like this that I've read in the past these books are actually translations of stories from writers who actually live the city/country and so are a real peek into other lives and cultures.

Each book comes with a fascinating introduction and all of the translators are named - two things I really love in a book!

So far I've treated myself to 3 books from the series:

  • Tehran - because I read a book set in Iran during the 1970s as part of one of my reading projects and it left me wanting to know more about the country, then and now.
  • Tokyo - because I've fallen in love with so many novels from Japanese writers (or set in Japan) over the past year.
  • Venice - because after a year of not travelling I'm looking hard at my wish list's of places I want to visit. This is a city I've bumped much higher up my list as it is at such risk from sea level rise/climate change.
I'm not sure where I saw these books mentioned first but I would imagine that it was thanks to Bex at Ninja Book Box and the wonderful #IndieBookNetwork - they've also helped me keep to my resolution of supporting both independent bookshops and independent publishers!

I now look forward to my tea break hugely as I can't wait to discover more about a place through its writers. Once I've finished these friends have recommended Flannery O'Connor and Shirley Jackson as writers in this genre to try - even if we get back to the office I think my short story habit will remain! 

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