At the beginning of this year, Amazon began releasing Kindle Singles. These short pieces (10,000-30,000 words) are billed as "compelling ideas expressed at their natural length". Some stories are just too short for a book and too long for a magazine, but now they can be sold individually for a dollar or two. I am curious to see how successful this new approach to digital publishing will be. Will it simply enable writers to forgo the trimming and editing that make a traditional work readable, or will it be a useful forum for unique ideas? Will it prove most appropriate for authors who want to supplement their existing work, or will it be an easy way for readers to sample a new voice? I've purchased a few Kindle Singles, and for a month of Mondays I'll review some of the bestselling titles for you. If I like the form, I'll review more. Have you read any Kindle Singles? What did you think?
SHIPWRECKED by Mishka Shubaly
This is a quick, true story about a group of pleasure-cruisers who were shipwrecked on a remote island in the Caribbean in 2001. The author describes the bad omens (especially in the form of sharks) and little mistakes that lead up to the accident, and then recounts his quest for help on the nearly deserted island. There are some clever descriptions and acute observations in this story, but sometimes the writing is clunky and unclear. The author includes some personal revelations and meaningful moments, but this short account lacks the depth of a compelling disaster memoir. This is an interesting story because, after all, people do not get shipwrecked every day, but it probably could have been told more efficiently. Shubaly has a witty, fun voice, and hits his stride about halfway through the story. It would be interesting to see what he would do with a full-length work. SHIPWRECKED has a page-turning quality, but it is ultimately forgettable.
THE COST: $1.99