Goodbye Grumblings

Find the good

Best ever cure for grumbling

Stories. Stories are the best cure!

Find yourself wanting to snap at your spouse? Stop talking and go read a book. You can’t argue when you’re reading. (And you can’t hear anyone being annoying if you read hard enough.)

Having trouble talking about your feelings? Start with, “Once upon a time . . . .” Now, I’m not a professional advice-giver. But I have been married for a quarter of a century, and I say it’s bound to at least make someone laugh, so it’s worth trying!

I’ve been thinking about stories a lot lately because I’m working on my writing and critiquing skills as part of an online community called The Write Practice. It didn’t occur to me how beneficial stories could be until yesterday, when I started reading Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

I’ve had it on loan from the library for a couple of weeks, and in only 4 days it will expire and automatically be removed from my phone and tablet. (The only thing wrong with a library, which I’ve mentioned before is my happy place, is that you have to give back the books.)

I had no idea what a treat was in store with this book. I thought it would be interesting in an as-a-book-lover-I-should-enjoy-it kind of way. I can’t even remember where I heard about it. But I’m thrilled to have found it and want to tell everyone who has the teensiest bit of bookworm in them that they must read it.

I was hooked by the first line of the introduction:

‘People say that life is the thing but I prefer reading.’ (American essayist and entirely correct person Logan Pearsall Smith.)

I laughed out loud in delight within minutes of starting to read. As soon as Mangan mentioned Enid Blyton and referenced Narnia, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit.

You know those self-discovery tests where they ask you what sort of activities make you laugh out loud even when no-one’s around? I’ve always found it hard to think of things. (Other than watching cat videos, obviously.) But here it is, as plain as the books scattered all over my house. Reading is the thing that makes me laugh when no-one’s listening. Well, sometimes cry. Either way, it’s therapeutic.

When life is irritating, or I’m tired and stressed out, diving into a book helps. With my nose in a book, I can’t hear Grumblings snorting and fussing, urging me to be cranky and judgy.

Stories offer a mini-vacation from reality — and they’re much cheaper and less stressful than going away.

We live in a marvellous time for story lovers. I love a paper book and always feel secure and a little smug when I have one in my purse. And trust me, I always have a bag that can fit at least one book. But what a wonder it is to be able to go to the library any time and get an ebook! What a great sense of security, knowing I’ll never run out of reading material. And if I have only a few minutes, I can go online and find short stories of all kinds.

Now, let’s cut to the chase so I can go back to what I’m reading.

I’m starting a list here where you can find stories for free, no registration or payment required. You’re welcome! I’ll add to it as I find more places. Please comment on this post or send me an email and let me know of other good sources (susan at

Where to find free stories

Short Fiction Break

Authors I’ve met on my learning journey, in no particular order:

Happy reading!


About GrumblingSusan

Word lover. Story addict. Daydreamer. Optimist. Ottawan. Treehugger. Scouter.

2 Replies

  1. Kathleen Priestman

    Awesome – I’d write more, but there are stories that need reading.

    1. GrumblingSusan

      I know! Thanks for reading.

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