Recently I had the distinct pleasure of reading 2 short stories aloud and participating in a discussion.[nbsp] At Golda Meir House, every year they invite “guests” to read a short story to a gathering of residents.[nbsp] I immediately accepted the invite, figuring they’d assign me a story and I’d go from there.[nbsp] Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was a “BYOS”–bring your own story (actually, bring your own two stories)![nbsp] Here’s the problem: I don’t read short stories.[nbsp] I’m completely committed to novels and I never found short stories satisfying (OK, I admit that I really don’t know if they are unsatisfying because I don’t read them!! I prefer getting fully absorbed in a lengthy good novel).[nbsp] When I requested a suggestion they replied “check out the New Yorker magazine”—about as helpful a suggestion as “go to the library”!

So I ran down to the Brookline Booksmith—our local, independent bookstore—and asked the always-helpful staff.[nbsp] They pointed me to Elizabeth Berg’s collection: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted.[nbsp] My plan: read the stories in order until I found one that was appropriate and quit reading after that.[nbsp] I read the lead story and to my surprise, I loved every minute of it AND it was satisfying.[nbsp] The companion story, The Day I Ate Absolutely Nothing That I Wanted was a hoot and also enjoyable.[nbsp] I had my stories for the reading.[nbsp] Nonetheless, a few nights later, I had read all of the 15 stories and found that, with the exception of one or two, I had been thoroughly absorbed.

I eagerly went to Golda and read the two first stories—which provoked a wonderful discussion.[nbsp] Some thought it was ridiculous that someone would eat that much junk food in one day (from the title story, of course) and discussed the obesity epidemic.[nbsp] Others related to the day of eating things that taste like cardboard and bemoaned how much we push ourselves to achieve some ideal body image.[nbsp] Everyone had an insightful comment; everyone listened intently to one another.[nbsp] I came away from the experience with two impressions:

1. It turns out that I do like short stories![nbsp] So much for restricting my reading selections without knowing all the options. [nbsp]Will definitely read more by Elizabeth Berg then branch out to other authors.[nbsp] Suggestions, anyone?

2. Whenever I spend time with our residents, it’s motivating and inspiring.[nbsp] We all know that so much time has to be spent on budgets, reviews, letters, meetings and the like.[nbsp] But what makes the time and occasionally-grind-like existence of management worthwhile is the exceptional moments of connecting with the people in our buildings.

As always, please send me your thoughts.