Also suitable for those who have no time.
One of the things I've come to terms with in my adulthood is the fact that I cannot pay attention. To anything. Remember the dog in UP? That's me. But instead of squirrels, it's everything; everything is a distraction. There's a good chance it'll take me two days to finish this post, because I might spot something shiny on the floor that I'll need to examine, and as I do it'll remind me of a blingy necklace I bought recently. All of the sudden I'll think of an outfit I want to build around said necklace, but as I go to fish everything out I'll realize I need sheer black tights for this particular outfit, all of mine which currently have runs in them. So I'll make moves to head out, grabbing my coat and purse as I walk out the door, but oh shit: I'm out of gum. Now I also need to get gum while I'm out shopping for my tights, but since I'll be getting off at Union Square and passing by Whole Foods, wouldn't it be a good idea to get to get the granola I need as well? Oh look: whey protein is on sale. I really need to start working out more, I've been slacking. But my workout clothes are getting so ratty. Oh wait, the Adidas store is on my way to H&M, I can swing by there first. OH FUCK! Crate and Barrel across the street is having a sale, let me check that out. I really need to get my apartment organized: I keep finding shit on the floor.
Now this problem very often manifests when I'm reading, which is frustrating because I love to read. I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the weight of them. Hell, I spend all day designing their pretty covers (you can check out an interview I did about the particulars of that here), so let me tell you that I am fucking dedicated. But I can't finish them. Which is why short stories and essays are such a wonderful compromise. They're usually brief enough that I can finish one in a single sitting, get a sense of completion or closure, and feel as though I've accomplished something.
And then I can get back to the novel I've been trying to finish for the past two years.
Here are some of my favorite collections of short stories and essays:
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith
Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
Selected Non-Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Sketches from a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgenev
The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Fun of It: Stories from The Talk of the Town, edited by Lillian Ross
So, my dears, there you have it: reading for people who can't pay atten—oh shit, what's that shiny thing on the foor?