If you aren’t reading fiction already, you should be! Reading fiction has several benefits, studies have shown, from relieving stress and sleeping better to lightening your mood and keeping your mind sharp as you age.
Now, it’s advisable to target one brain-boosting habit each year. So for 2016, let’s make it about reading a little fiction every day. Like with any habit, the less resistance in getting started, the easier it will be.
We scoured the world wide web for the best sites and apps that serve a dose of short stories whenever you want them. Here’s what you need.
Morning Short (Email): Stories Delivered to Your Inbox Daily
You know what’s better than finding short stories every day? Having them delivered to your inbox, so you don’t even forget to visit a site. Plus, there’s a team of editors who hand-pick these stories to make sure you get a quality tale each morning at 10am.
The emails come neatly formatted for desktop or mobile viewing, so you’re ready to start reading. Plus, if you like listening to audiobooks, the sister site Listen To Morning Short delivers one great story every morning, recorded by professional voice actors. And all of this is completely free!
TaleHunt (Android/iOS): Riveting Fiction in 250 Characters or Less
When TaleHunt promises short stories, well, they’re serious about the “short” part. Much like Twitter fiction celebrity @VeryShortStory, the little episodes on TaleHunt are restricted to 250 characters or less. And anyone can write a new tale by signing up for free!
TaleHunt shows you trending tales by default, which are upvoted depending on the number of likes they get. You can also follow particular users to get all the stories they write. Plus, each story comes with a hashtag, so you can get the ones you are interested in.
Download: TaleHunt for iOS (Free) | Android (Free)
Poop Fiction (Web): Choose How Many Minutes You Have and Get a Story
Don’t let the funny concept of Poop Fiction put you off — the stories aren’t about waste matter. In fact, the stories are carefully chosen and slotted into four categories: tiny (1-2 minutes of reading time), short (2-3 minutes), medium (3-4 minutes), long (4+ minutes).
Choose the amount of time you want to read and click or tap “Find me a story“. Poop Fiction works perfectly on mobile and desktop devices. You’ll be presented with a short story, and once you’re done reading it, you can either choose to read another story or go back to the main menu and choose a different amount of time. It’s similar to what Longreads offer, but instead of lengthy articles, you’re getting short fiction here.
r/ShortStories (Web): Large, Frequently Updated Collection of Amateur Stories
We already know Reddit has great true stories from real people, but you can also get some fantastic fiction on the large community board. The most active subreddit for this is r/shortstories, where anyone can write a story and submit it for the world to read.
Check out the sidebar first so that you can understand what the tags for each post mean. For example, SF is science fiction, FN is fantasy, HM is humor, and so on. You might also want to see where the link leads to (noted at the end of the title). If it’s a different site’s name, you’ll be taken out of Reddit. If it’s “self.shortstories”, you stay on Reddit and participate with the community.
Daily Science Fiction (Web): A Daily Dose for the Geek in You
Speaking of science fiction, if you’re the type of person to enjoy the 10 sci-fi books every geek should read, then you’ll probably want to stick around at Daily Science Fiction. As the name suggests, you get one new science fiction tale every weekday.
The site has been around for some time now, so there’s plenty of material in the archives, across topics like aliens, virtual reality, future societies, space travel, time travel, and much more. Heck, there’s even some fantasy thrown in! It’s basically a geek’s delight, so if these genres sound interesting to you, you’ll love it here.
Who Do You Like to Read?
The Internet is full of fantastic short stories you can read for free. Some need to be downloaded in PDFs, some can be read directly. And there are even writers who publish serialized fiction through blogs.
Are you following any author on the Internet and love their written word? Any collaboration or a website that collates entries from experienced writers? We’d love to know more resources, so have your say in the comments below!