I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who voted for me for the fourth annual book blogger awards! I woke up yesterday to find that I had won the new adult/general adult category. I cannot tell you how touched I was by that. I started this blog three years ago because I love to talk about books, but I had no idea that so many of you would want to engage with my content. It means the world to me. Thank you!
Short story and anthology collections are often overlooked, and I completely understand why. I was someone who very rarely picked up an anthology or a collection of short stories because I was of the belief that they could not be as powerful as a full length novel. Having just starting to embrace this format of storytelling, I can tell you that this is far from the truth. I am constantly surprised by the impact that some authors can have with so few words, and I often find short stories to be more thought-provoking than a 300-page novel. There could be many reasons for this, but I think the fact that the author has to be so intentional about every word is what really can make a short story special.
I am certainly a newbie, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the short story collections and anthologies that I have loved and also to share some of the ones that are on my TBR. I would also love any recommendations you may have!
Florida by Lauren Groff
There is no denying that Groff is a beautiful writer. Each of these stories is incredibly lush and has a strong sense of place. I loved how unique each story was, but Florida was the common thread that linked them all together. Environment plays a huge role in this collection, and I could almost feel the sweltering heat while I was reading. Like any collection, there were some stories that I stood out to me more than others, but overall, Florida is one I would recommend if you are looking to get into the format, especially if you are already a fan of Groff’s full length novels.
Tenth of December by George Saunders
Tenth of December is an amazing collection of ten stories from the wildly talented George Saunders. These stories are more accessible than some of his other work, and it is a great way to get a sense of his writing style. Each of the stories tackle some interesting themes, but it is the first story (“Victory Lap”) and the last one (“Tenth of December”) that have had a lasting impact on me.
Runaway by Alice Munro
Alice Munro was my introduction into short stories, and I need to read more of her work. I actually received a boxset of many of her stories when I graduated from university. I think it is about time I made my way through them! There is something so special about the way that Munro writes a short story- they can feel like full length novels. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and from only having read this one collection, I can tell that it is well-deserved.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Marie Machado
Typically, when I read a short story collection I read one or two stories a night, but that was not the case for Her Body and Other Parties. I started this book not knowing what to expect and a couple hours later I was finished and left emotionally drained. Each of these stories hits in a way that I cannot put into words. They shine a light on different aspects of sexuality and feminism. My favourites were “The Husband Stitch”, “Inventory”, “Real Women Have Bodies”, and “Eight Bites”.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
Yes, these stories are written by that Tom Hanks, and I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed them! Hanks taps into many genres throughout this collection, and it is evident that he enjoys experimenting with his writing. The SciFi elements blew me away!
His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler
His Hideous Hearts is the perfect anthology to read this time of year. Each of the authors in this collection has chosen a different Poe poem and wrote a retelling based on it. The second half of the book includes Poe’s original work, which is a nice touch for those who haven’t read them. Some of the stories in here didn’t work for me, but I found so many standouts!
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins
I have a feeling that many of us will be turning to books to get us into the holiday spirit this year, and My True Love Gave to Me is the perfect place to start. There are some really fun and adorable stories in this collection! I am hoping to find more holiday-themed anthologies this year, so please leave me any recommendations you may have.
On My TBR
Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow
Who else is in the mood for some good ghost stories? I just started this massive anthology (it is over 800 pages!), and I am planning to read a story or two a night. I am so ready for all the spooky feels! My plan is to have completed the entire collection by Halloween. So many incredible authors have contributed, including Alice Hoffman (I am reading an ARC of Magic Lessons as we speak!), Seanan McGuire, Garth Hix, and Stephen Graham Jones!
Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker
Another Halloween-themed anthology, but this one centers around vampires and is YA! It comes out on September 22nd, and I cannot wait to dive in. I am so thrilled that vampires are back, and it seems as though each of the stories adds a twist to the stereotypical vampire trope. I am so ready!
Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
I have heard so many amazing things about Sabrina & Corina, but I have also heard that the stories are heavy and deeply sad. I know that I have to be emotionally ready to pick it up, but I also know that there is potential for this to become my favourite short story collection, as it explore many themes that I am interested in.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
I love reading SciFi this time of year, and Ted Chiang’s short story collections seem like the perfect fit for me. I have heard that each of the stories is profound and original. This will be my first experience with Chiang’s work, but I know that he has a pretty extensive backlist of short stories, so if I love this one there is even more for me to explore.
I think it is important to note that none of these titles are nonfiction, though I do adore essay collections and I am planning on writing a separate post on them that is much like this one.
I would love to hear all your thoughts on short stories, because I know they can be quite polarizing. Do you have a favourite short story collection or anthology?