Days are getting longer, but it feels like our attention spans are shrinking as we adjust to the fast changing world. Lucky for us, it’s Short Story Month, and there’s a wealth of amazing fiction that can be read in a single sitting—sometimes even within a few minutes. So grab a quick coffee break and curl up with some short story collections that will make you think, laugh, cry, and escape for just a few moments at a time.
The Private Life of Spies and The Exquisite Art of Getting Even by Alexander McCall Smith
“Each story provides a unique cast of characters and distinctly different plots, each offers a gentle portrait of people and society… Guided by the mastery of a consummate storyteller, offering another treasure to his already glittering library.” —New York Journal of Books
A dual collection of short stories from the beloved author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series that highlight the kinder, funnier, and gentler sides of espionage and retribution.
“Immensely rewarding, clear-eyed, gorgeous . . . a stunning collection.” —NPR
Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, in eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories.
“Lean, relentless, and incandescent.” —Colson Whitehead, GQ
An award–winning book from the author of Exhalation — and the basis for the film Arrival — this offers the dual delights of the scintillatingly strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, in a series of sharply intelligent, humorous, and moving science fiction tales.
“Together these stories once again prove that Adichie is one of those rare writers that any country or any continent would feel proud to claim as its own.” —San Francisco Chronicle
In these twelve riveting stories, the award–winning author of Americanah explores the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States—while mapping the collision of two cultures and the struggle to reconcile them.
“A spirited, entertaining collection of stories and traditions that bear emulating in other regions of the country.” —Kirkus Reviews
Since 1972, the Foxfire books have preserved and celebrated the culture of Southern Appalachia for countless readers all around the world. In Foxfire Story, folklorist (and Foxfire director) T.J. Smith collects some of his favorite stories from the archives to illuminate the oral traditions that have been part of the culture of the mountains for centuries.
“Clearly the work of a full-grown master.” —Frank Kermode
One of the most celebrated short-story writers in American literature offers a haunting meditation on love, loss, and companionship, and finding one’s way through the dark. Includes the iconic and much-referenced title story, featured in the Academy Award–winning film Birdman.
“One of the most innovative, inspired short-story collections in the past decade. . . . There’s absolutely no living author quite like Karen Russell.” —NPR
A magical and uniquely daring compilation of stories—from captive girls who transmute into silkworms and plot a revolution, to a group of boys who stumble upon a strangely familiar scarecrow, to two vampires coming to terms with their immortal relationship, and more.
“A first-rate collection. . . . A marvel of imagination. A welcome gathering of work, some not often anthologized, by an unrivaled master of the short story form.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Chekhov’s genius left an indelible impact on every literary form in which he wrote, but none more so than short fiction. These stories reveal the extraordinary variety and unexpectedness of his work, showing that there is no one type of “Chekhov story.”
“Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial. . . . Stand[s] by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability.” —The New York Times Book Review
A stunning book that explores the personal and the universal, the idiosyncratic and the mundane, with all the wit, brio, and verve that have made Moore one of the best storytellers of our time.
“Continues to surprise and delight.” —The Washington Post
Written with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg delivers a fabulously off-beat collection of short stories about love—the best and worst thing in the universe.
“Marciano’s ability is to capture the entire arc of a character’s life in a handful of pages.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
With spellbinding clarity, the six masterly stories in Animal Spirit inhabit the minds and hearts of Marciano’s characters. They chronicle deeply human moments of realization and recognition, indelible instants of irrevocable change—epiphanies sometimes sparked by our connection with animals and the primal power they show us.
“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” —The Atlantic Monthly
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019—continuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence—contains twenty prize–winning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. The winning writers are an impressive mix of celebrated names and new, emerging voices.