Short stories have always appealed to me. I majored in Creative Writing in college and had my fair share of exposure to the art of crafting a punchy, authentic story in a short space. To me, short story collections are the perfect things to bring on vacation or to spend a long weekend. Investing in a book you’ll put down a million and one times and forget the entire plot by the time you pick it back up just seems like a waste. Instead, find a collection (or even a novella or two) to sink your teeth into that. That way, each time you put the book down, you’ve finished a complete story and you can start all over again.
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
This book was first given to me by a professor in college and I fell in love. Kevin Wilson has a handful of short story collections and novels under his belt, but this will always remain my favorite. His imagery is the best part, from the clacking of tiles in a Scrabble factory to the feeling of a split lip from a best friend’s punch.
20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker
Now’s your chance to say that you’ve read the New Yorker short stories (without having to renew your subscription). This collection features stories that were published in the mag, compiled into one anthology. Names like ZZ Packer, Jonathan Safran Foer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and more transport you to every part of the world.
Tenth of December: Stories
If you’re looking for a bit of a heavier option, George Saunders's Tenth of December will satisfy. Part gripping tale, part dream, this collection of stories has every emotion you could possibly want in bite-size pieces. There’s even some science-fiction thrown in for a twist.
The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Classic short stories have their place, and this anthology edited by acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates has everything you need. Classic works like Tell-Tale Heart and Hills Like White Elephants are nestles among works by Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, David Foster Wallace, and more.
Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
What Etgar Keret does with stories is unmatched. He can bridge the gap between reality and fiction so well that you cannot tell them apart. Suddenly, a Knock on the Door tells so many different stories all at once that you feel like you’ve read full-length novels each time. His newer collection, Fly Already, is also worth picking up.
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