While commuting to the busy Canary Wharf financial area in London, one can notice a rather unusual scene – businessmen reading into receipt-like scrolls. They are not alarmingly long grocery bills – but action-packed short stories.
Canary Wharf, London has introduced genius vending machines that, by a touch of a button, print out bite-sized short stories, following in the footsteps of French publishing company Short Édition.
They are free of charge and printed on eco-friendly papyrus in merely a couple of seconds. Small and taking up virtually no space, these brilliant inventions are ideal for short commutes and easy to read even when squashed by someone’s elbow on a busy Monday morning.
The black and yellow “Short Story Stations” enable you to select a one-, three- and five-minute read length – and then generate a randomly selected short story, in a range of different genres: crime, feel-good fiction, sci-fi, romance, but also condensed classics by authors such as Virginia Woolf or Charles Dickens. The little ones are not missing out on the fun – the vending machines also offer children’s stories.
I’ve always loved the challenge of the short story — creating a whole world in just a few pages. Here’s a whodunnit, complete with suspects and clues, that can be started and finished in just a minute. I hope it will entertain tube travelers who will know, at least, that they won’t have the frustration of having to get off before the end!
The initiative is a great way of promoting reading among Londoners. In fact, research says that 53 million books are left unfinished in the UK every year, with lack of time often given as the reason.
By providing the commuters with a gripping short story that takes only a couple of minutes to read, the organizers are hoping to encourage Brits to read more.
Short Story Stations have already proved to be a huge success among commuters in France, Hong Kong and the US. In fact, “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola liked it so much he invested in the company in 2016, installing a dispenser in his San Francisco restaurant, Cafe Zoetrope.
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Fascinated by how books influence culture and society, and especially keen on fiction. Still not fully convinced to ebooks, Kasia reads on a Kindle from time to time. But, whenever possible, she'll always pick print.
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Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again. But this was not that day. He needed to eat a large bowl of the anemic stuff, and drink every drop of broth, to prevent his stomach from growling during the reaping ceremony. It was one of a long list of precautions he took to mask the fact that his family, despite residing in the penthouse of the Capitol’s most opulent apartment building, was as poor as district scum. That at eighteen, the heir to the once-great house of Snow had nothing to live on but his wits.
His shirt for the reaping was worrying him. He had an acceptable pair of dark dress pants bought on the black market last year, but the shirt was what people looked at. Fortunately, the Academy provided the uniforms it required for daily use. For today’s ceremony, however, students were instructed to be dressed fashionably but with the solemnity the occasion dictated. Tigris had said to trust her, and he did. Only his cousin’s cleverness with a needle had saved him so far. Still, he couldn’t expect miracles.
The shirt they’d dug from the back of the wardrobe—his father’s, from better days—was stained and yellowed with age, half the buttons missing, a cigarette burn on one cuff. Too damaged to sell in even the worst of times, and this was to be his reaping shirt? This morning he had gone to her room at daybreak, only to find both his cousin and the shirt missing. Not a good sign. Had Tigris given up on the old thing and braved the black market in some last-ditch effort to find him proper clothing? And what on earth would she possess worth trading for it? Only one thing—herself—and the house of Snow had not yet fallen that far. Or was it falling now as he salted the cabbage?
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