illustrated by Chris Buzelli for Tor.com

Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer

Welcome to Short Fiction Friday! Every Friday, Black Forest Basilisks will be shining a spotlight on a new short story, novelette, or flash fic in addition to our regular posts. These stories will usually be available for free online, but occasionally stories from published anthologies will also be featured. 

This story is available online for free at: Tor.com – Click through to read!

To the Librarian,

Is there a sequel to The Fellowship of the Ring? I would very much like to read it. I will leave behind anything I have for the other books, if you will give them to me. Also, I am sorry about the day I took everything. I promise I will never do this again. What would you like in trade for the next book about Frodo, if there is one?

In the last Short Fiction Friday, we featured an apocalyptic story about starvation and a plague sweeping across the world. It was one that hit very close to him. This week, however, it seemed more appropriate to post a little pick me up. Some positivity. Something with a focus on community and helpfulness. Enter: The Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer.

Naomi Kritzer is an absolutely lovely author who has written several of my favorite short stories, including Cat Pictures Please (the inspiration for her Hugo-nominated YA novel, Catfishing on Catnet), and Bits. Her stories focus on the little pieces of light that make up humanity. It’s about the joy of an AI who just wants to look at cute cats. It’s about helping two people find (physical and emotional!) love. I haven’t read her novel yet, but I’m really looking forward to it. 

In The Little Free Library, Kritzer creates an imaginative fantasy around the idea of Little Free Libraries. If you’re unfamiliar with Little Free Libraries, they are, in essence, a “take one leave one” book box. The goal is to create a sense of community and giving focused on books. I’ve always been enamored of the idea, and it’s especially comforting in dark times like these. When we have to be physically separated, these little points of connection can keep us together.

When Meigan starts up her own Little Free Library, she discovers that sometimes that connection can overcome all kinds of distances. She begins a correspondence with a mysterious borrower who leaves her carved whistles, strange leaves, and ancient coins in exchange for Lord of The Rings. Soon, she discovers that her friend seems to be struggling with his own (very literal) battles, and does her best to help him. 

It’s a very sweet story that put a smile on my face, and I hope that you, too, will find that it brightens your day. 

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Past featured short stories can be viewed here.

Have you read this story? What did you think? Do you have any questions about it?

Let me know in the comments below!