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Short Works Challenge

What is the Short Works Reading Group?

Join the Short Works Reading Group.

The Short Works Reading Group (#shortworks2) is to inspire and motivate those writers and readers who, like me, love to read and discuss short stories, essays, and even short novels or novellas. The challenge is for both fiction and non-fiction.

I’ve loved short works ever since, as a child, I read Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heartand believe that short forms have a lot to offer.

This is a long term project for me open to anyone, any time, who wants to sign up to read the and share the works.  No restrictions on genre or year published. No limit on the type of short works, collections, or anthologies. Rereads (RR) are fine. Books from other challenges work. You design the layout of your main reading list anyway you like.

Since you can count individual essays or short stories as well as collections and anthologies, I think a minimum of ten works in five years is reasonable.

I hope you’ll join me in this reading and discussion journey as I’d love to find other like-minded writers and readers.

The Short Works basics

  • Choose 10+ short works. (Individual stories or essays as well as anthologies and collections count.)
  • Post your main list of short works and the expected end date on your site. Update your master list as you go along.
  • Sign up using Mr. Linky found at the bottom of this post with a link to your master list.
  • Update your main reading list as you go and hyperlink titles with reviews.
  • Leave comments below and let us know how you’re doing.
  • Feel free to expand and/or change your list.
  • Titles from other reading challenges allowed. No restrictions on genre.
  • Collections and anthologies allowed.
  • Use hashtag #shortworks2

Short Works Reading Group - Down the Writer's PathAlthough I designed my reading plan to accompany my participation in the The Classics Club, you do not have to join The Classics Club to participate in this group. Nor do you have to have any classics on your list–though they might be fun to include.

I love reading short stories, essays, and anthologies. They’re an opportunity for discovery. Often I find new authors to follow from my short excursions. Even in a short story an author builds a world to slip into. Essays capture my attention with their exploration of ideas, objects, themes, and the very ways they differ.

Why read short stories, short works, and essays?

As a writer it’s difficult to keep up with the nonstop stream of published authors. My TBR stacks are already leaning, tilting, and swaying. One great way is for me to pick up the short works collections and anthologies published every year.

These works often feature new writers and, of course, always highlight those who have been publishing for a long time. A short story can give me a sense of their style, their storytelling, even a sense of them. I often will move on to a novel or new book of essays that they have written simply from having read one of their short pieces.

If you don’t have a lot of time but want the reading experience, a short form satisfies that need. So, to sum it all up: They’re short, fun, and entertaining.


Master short story writer Anton Chekhov reading at the Moscow Art Theatre (1899)

Should writers read the short forms?

If you’re a writer and you’re still wondering whether you want to bother reading short stories, see my reasons why reading short stories benefit writers. If you’re wondering why writers should bother reading the classics, here’s my take on the ongoing conversation among writers.

More reasons to join the short works group

This is a great reading group for anyone who has trouble carving out time to read. Maybe you’ve gotten out of the habit of reading. Short works are a great way to get back into that reading groove. Perhaps you’ve never been much of a reader. Why not start now? Short works are a perfect pathway into reading.

The inspiration for the Short Works Reading Group

During an afternoon of reading book blogs, I ran across the 2012 Short Stories ChallengePut Your Soul on Paper had issued a short story reading challenge. I loved the idea and it was great timing. I’d already selected a number of short story and essay collections for The Classics Club and had other short works I’d been wanting to read. I expanded my list to include nonfiction and began; however, the original challenge doesn’t appear active.  Once I realized that what I wanted was a longer time period and more breadth, I came up with The Short Works Reading Group.

My Short Works challenge to YOU

Why not join The Short Works Reading Group, create your own short works reading plan, and link up here? Tell me what you think and share your suggestions below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

Join The Short Works Reading Group

To participate in The Short Works Reading Group, add your short works reading list post or page to the Mr. Linky widget below. (Hashtag: #shortworks2 | Here’s my short works reading plan.)

  • IMAGE CREDITS: All titles and book cover images are Amazon affiliate links; Checkhov photo unknown; derivative work by Brücke-Osteuropa (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Tell Tale Heart illustration by Harry Clarke [Public domain] for Short Works group logo, via Wikimedia Commons; Short Works stack of books image via Kozzi; Thanks to The Classics Club and to Put Your Soul on Paper.

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  • Adam

    This is a great idea – love it!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks, Adam. I’m finishing up my announcement post and hope to have the group’s logo finished and posted early this week. Meantime, I hope others who enjoy a short read now and then will link up so we can share our favorite authors, stories, and essays. I’m always on the lookout.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Finally got everything sorted out. I’ve added my reading plan to get things rolling. Hope others will join in.