April 2022 Leisure Learning

by Melissa Haas
published in Reading

April 2022 Leisure Learning

Spring greetings, leisure learners, and word nerds! I hope this April has found you immersed in the power of individual words, a la National Poetry Month. Now, what happens when you put a whole bunch of words together, complete with punctuation? Hopefully, a short story. Pair it with the month we are heading into and you can conclude that May is National Short Story Month. Please note: friends from across the pond, beside the pond, and any other orientation involving the pond are always invited to join in on our bookish themes!  

WARNING: Lots of good feels possible this month!

Here is your April 2022 Leisure Learning List:

5 Minute Reads

As mentioned before, May is short story month…but sometimes we don’t even have time for short stories. 

As such, here is a compilation of short, short stories by literary greats. You will find Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oscar Wilde, Kate Chopin, and Franz Kafka among the many authors in this list of stories, which has the additional benefit of being organized into Feel Good, Introspective, Dramatic, Witty, and Other-Worldy categories, among others. 

One piece I feel obligated to mention is Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as there is a deep appreciation among word nerds for The Yellow Wallpaper itself. 

10 Outstanding Contemporary Short Stories

If the 5 minute reads whetted your appetite for something longer, here are 10 outstanding literary short stories. 

Pravesh Bhardwaj of the famous Twitter #longreads account went through the list of the 276 stories he posted throughout 2021 and chose the best of the best. Each link on his page gives you full access to the work listed.  

Look for Lauren Groff’s short story as well as one by Sally Rooney. All pieces pair well with wine. (I have verified this for you.) 

All Stories Aloud

Ok, so maybe you had time for a Short Short story, but that was about it. How about listening to one of these acclaimed longer stories while doing errands or on a walk? 

The All Stories Aloud Youtube channel features free short stories read aloud by Albert Camus, Haruki Murakami, Graham Greene, and Alice Munro, among others. The time budget is about 20 mins to 1 hour if you want to listen to a story in its entirety.   

Comfort Books

Have you had a hard time getting back to life these past few months? Pandemic? War? Disgruntled by Pantone’s “it” color for 2022? (I actually like it.) 

My point is that life can be difficult to get through right now. 

While there are a ton of excellent self-help books out there, it is tough to keep up with the pace of coping skills one needs to acquire before the next disaster comes rollicking upon the world stage. 

LitHub has come up with a workable solution for modern-day families and adults who need short boosts of bravery when gearing up for human interaction. This list rounds up several lesser-known selections intended for children, but equally enjoyed by adults. Topics include pessimism, overall sadness, grief, calming practices, guilt, and even those days when you kinda-sorta hate yourself.  

I plan on reading through ALL of them.

Cornelius Eady Trio

Since it is technically still April, I’m sneaking in poet Cornelius Eady’s band. Eady himself is a renowned poet whose work is inspired by family life, race, and class. One of the elements that make his work easily recognizable is the use of rhythms found in blues and jazz music. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry, one of which qualified him as a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award in Poetry while another garnered a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Level the experience of National Poetry Month up by checking out his poems fully realized as music, played by himself and bandmates in the Cornelius Eady Trio

Even if you’re not particularly fond of jazz, it is still worth considering how musical rhythm enhances the meaning of the lines in a poem or the meaning of a word. (Ahem, ahem—prompt idea, anyone?)

Tell us in the comments: Which of these April 2022 Leisure Learning picks are you most excited to try?

Melissa Haas is the author and illustrator of Catula: The Misadventures of Dracula’s Cat and The Night Before Christmas (NOW WITH CATS), among other books. Follow Catula’s whereabouts on Instagram @CatulaTheCat or download a free coloring page at www.catulathebook.com.

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