There I was complaining - again - about the lack of respect shown by publishers towards the short story, when one of our programming directors rang me to ask if I could get my hands on some copies of a new series of short stories published by Picador. I'm very fond of Picador - they have a good list, and have managed to maintain a good list for decades, and I like the fact that for a long time all their paperbacks had the same design on the spine - white with black writing - so there appeared to be some sort of unity on your bookshelf: even if in reality it was the opposite.
And now I like them even more because their new series - Picador Shots - is twleve short stories, each published in an individual book - which is small enough to fit in the back pocket of your jeans, but big enough to read - and the list of writers is good too: Jackie Kay, Colm Toibin, Aleksandar Hemon, Claire Messud, Nell Freudenberger, James Salter, Niall Williams, Craig Davidson, Shalom Auslander, Tim Winton, Bret Easton Ellis, and Matthew Kneale. The series is launched on the 16th June 2006 - in fact everything is happening on 16th June so its obviously a favorite date in the literary calendar.
And at £1 a book there is no excuse not to buy at least one book in the series (in some cases there are two stories in each book), so get out there in June and buy them, read them, leave them on a bus, train, park bench, in the staff room, for someone else to read after you. Use them to get your daily shot of short story in the same way you drink smoothies to get a dose of fruit. But most of all: love them for loving the short story form - and there is something oddly loveable about the little pastle coloured books which tumbled out of the post onto my desk this morning.