Monkey with a Twist by Paul Westley is a collection of twenty-eight short stories which first appeared on the Amazon website Write On, a website which encourages writers to share their works-in-progress. Participants and followers of the website are invited to offer constructive criticism at various stages of the writing process. I have been looking for short works that will not discourage learners of English as a foreign language. Learners of any additional language can become quickly discouraged when they meet large tracts of material replete with unfamiliar vocabulary. Most of the short stories in this collection are 500 words; some have as many as 1000.
For the next month, in the final weeks of my university’s semester, I will be concentrating on collections of short stories. My students will appreciate it. When the number of short stories is high, as with this collection, I will choose a few representative samples to comment on. The ones I chose from this collection are:
A Day at the Mall This is an excellent first story to start the collection. The reader immediately gets the idea of the author’s conception of a “twist.”
Dead Clever If you like puzzles, you will love this one.
Oh Happy Day Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be happy.
Insider Trading Entrepreneurs beware.
Anger Management Just because you had a motive doesn’t mean you did it.
Except for a few phrases that seem to get more used by the British rather than the Americans, the English used is a familiar vernacular. I recommend this collection of interesting stories for English language users who want to expand their daily use vocabulary.