Here at espresso FICTION we love reading. We don't always get time to read all the stories we'd like and we figured there were probably lots of other people in the same situation. When we do sit down to read, we want something that engages us.

We want action (but not in a daredevil/comic book sense), emotion, escape, humour and something to think about and we want it in a style that respects our intellect. We want good writing, something that speaks to us and moves us and makes us feel part of a broader community of like-minded souls.

It’s a tall order but good fiction can do it. Of course, the stories we choose may not work for everyone every week. But unlike a novel, if you don't like one of our short stories at least you haven't invested hours of your precious time trying to understand it. And it won't make you feel guilty about putting it to one side if you don't finish it because it hasn't cost you much. Besides, you know there will be another one next week that you probably will like.

Who says good fiction has to involve twelve hours of reading?
Why can't it be short and punchy and fit in with our hectic lifestyles?

Jill Brennan

Our Editor is a writer and has always been an avid reader. But with two small children some days, she struggles to get beyond picture books. She enjoys travelling and has lived in a number of different countries - including Australia, China, UK and Malaysia - but as her son has pointed out, has a few more continents to visit before she can collapse in a heap on the sofa and read forever.

Five of her favourite novels over the past year have been:

  • 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold - "never thought I would be gripped so much by a novel that starts with a murder"
  • 'Bel Canto' by Ann Patchett - "exotic setting and unusual storyline made this an enjoyable read"
  • 'The Corrections' by Jonathon Franzen - "once I got through the overwhelming first chapter, his witty observations had me constantly re-reading favourite bits, middle America at its most ordinary and entertaining"
  • 'Dirt Music' by Tim Winton - "he moves beautifully from the poetic to the gritty and back again"
  • 'I Don't Know How She Does It' by Alison Pearson - "when I wasn't applauding her wit and pithy take on life with two children and a husband and a career, I felt a bit depressed about the state of modern motherhood"