Tiny Stories, Big Heart

HitRECord's third volume aims to charm

I won't lie to you: You could read the entirety of HitRECord's Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 3 in less than 10 minutes, standing in the aisle of your favorite bookstore. But I won't lead you astray here either: You shouldn't do that.

Instead, you should pick up a copy of the bright yellow book, with its whimsically embossed cover and – there's really no other word for it – tiny, 4-inch-by-6-inch footprint, and pay for the thing. (If it helps, profits are split 50-50 between the contributors and hitRECord.) And then tuck it into your backpack, your purse, your pocket if you're not wearing women's jeans, and carry it with you. Bring it out at the park or in line at the bank or the grocery store or in the bathroom or the kitchen while you wait for coffee to finish percolating. Dive into its shortest of short stories and relish its captivating illustrations, and soon enough you'll realize: Even if you're not physically carrying the book, you're carrying its stories with you throughout your days.

It's been said that a six-word story attributed to Hemingway – "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn." – is both the shortest and among the most affecting short stories in existence. But every day over at hitRECord.org, a quarter of a million collaborators are giving it a run for its money. HitRECord's community contributes everything from music and cinematography to writing and illustration in a collaborative creative process unlike any other. In this, the third iteration of its collective scrapbook – "half short story collection, half communal poem," as Flavorwire described it – 82 contributors get to show off their work.

The stories themselves range in size and scope and style from six-word stories on love and loss ("You promised you'd never let go…") to existential lines ("We are all gormless hosts to homeless ghosts that nestle in our most forgotten places"); some tell their stories more with text, and others closely incorporate line drawings and tiny cartoons to tell their tales. Some rhyme; others don't. Many beg for extrapolation (National Novel Writing Month inspiration, anyone?); several are wholly freestanding. HitRECord founder Joseph Gordon-Levitt even has his hand in a few. One thing they all have in common? They're published together in this itty bitty bound book with a big ol' heart.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 3
It Books, 128 pp., $14.99

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hitRECord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, wirrow, It Books

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