Alternative ways to get your fiction fix in term time

Sophie Dickinson 13 January 2018
Image credit: Sophie Dickinson

Getting your fiction fix during term time is up there with going to every 9am and drinking only lemon-and-mint detox water: totally ambitious and totally not going to last for the eight weeks. Here are four ways to get your fiction fix quickly, without committing to actually sitting down and reading a whole paperback.

Karen Horton via Flikr

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is an investment (although there are holiday discounts available currently), but the short story is always thought-provoking, and so many great writers have started off in its pages. If you haven’t read Cat Person yet, then you must, right now, and then read the hundreds of theories the millennial love-story inspired this winter. The short stories are available online so a subscription isn’t neccessary, but I like to flick through the theatre listings and imagine I could be a part of NY society.

Bookworm podcast 

So this podcast isn’t actually a writer reading their story, but it is a book-based interview series, and allows you to think about the creative process before you commit to a book. Writers as high-profile as Kazuo Ishiguro, Stephen Greenblatt and Andrew Sean Greer have featured, and the interviews are always insightful and surprising. There’s a very weird theme song made by 70s rockers Sparks, which always surprises me, but is great for dropping off too if you can’t get to sleep.

The Truth podcast 

The Truth is a collection of short stories, read by professional actors, alongside curated sound effects. It began in 2012 and has really fallen into its stride now- have a listen to their captivating new mini-series, and try not to listen to them all at once. If you’re looking for something brief, though, each episode is about fifteen to twenty minutes long, so it’s not a huge commitment. There’s a huge cache of them though, and I’d recommend listening to a few and working out what genre works for you.

Poetry vinyls 

This is one hundred percent pretentious and one hundred percent esoteric, and very much self-indulgent. However, if you’re the one with a record player on your staircase, fiction vinyls are actually fairly easy to find and incredibly cheap, if a bit ridiculous. I found Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath reading their work for a total of £1.50 (a lot cheaper than Faber & Faber), although I was greeted by a smirk from the cashier. You might want to keep them towards the back of your collection, but someone reading to you while you get ready in a morning or tidying up is rather lovely. Otherwise, a quick Youtube search will find some crackly readings, too.

Got your own fiction fix tips? Tweet TCS your ideas here.