Short Fiction is underappreciated in literary circles and especially in the book blogging community. Many readers are averse to reading short story collections or anthologies because they prefer the continuous, flowing narrative that novels offer. Some are even hesitant to read novellas! Often, reviews for novellas will cite the work’s short length as a downside (I have down this before as well), which is simply unfair to writers of short fiction.
Readers must try to overcome their biases when reading short fiction to fully enjoy this style of writing. Sometimes that means embracing the fact that a story will end after ten (or fewer) pages and you will be left wanting to learn more about the characters or the exciting events you just saw unfold. Once a story is over, you must be ready to switch gears and jump into a story that may be wildly different from the previous one. If you go in with the right mentality and understand the nature of short fiction, jumping from story to story can be rewarding and intellectually stimulating. It will certainly keep you on your toes and demand your attention!
It took me a while to fully appreciate short fiction, but once I realized that many marginalized authors are doing amazing work in anthologies and short story collections, I knew I had to support their endeavors. I then quickly fell in love with short fiction and never turn down a recommendation simply because it’s a short story collection or anthology. In fact, I’m more likely to pay attention to it because often, short fiction is how marginalized authors get their foot in the literary world and my support truly matters.
If you’re a reader who’s averse to reading short fiction, take my example and be assured that there are fantastic works out there waiting to be discovered.
To get started, consider this list of 12 short story collections and anthologies. This is clearly not an exhaustive list, but simply one that contains books I have personally read and enjoyed, as well some that have been praised and vouched for.
Give short fiction a chance!
Diverse Short Story Collections And Anthologies
Deceit And Other Possibilities – by Vanessa Hua
Ten short stories with dazzling variety about the ways in which people deceive themselves and others. There are also stories that explore immigrant experiences and the sense of cultural and physical displacement that comes with that — all written in an eloquent and sophisticated style that makes reading one more page all the more enticing.
Brick Walls: Tales Of Hope & Courage From Pakistan – by Saadia Faruqi
Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani author and activist now living in America. In this collection, she tells essential stories about Pakistan’s people that reveal their strengths and flaws, their hopes, fears, and aspirations with the nuance and variety that is not often seen in literature.
Barefoot Dogs – by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
A stunning collection of interlinked stories about a wealthy Mexican family who flee Mexico after the grisly death of their family’s patriarch. The gorgeous writing and unique voice will draw you in; the fascinating characters will keep you reading.
Lez Talk: A Collection Of Black Lesbian Short Fiction – Edited by S. Andrea Allen
An essential addition to any collection of Queer literature and an overall fantastic addition to anyone’s library. The stories in this anthology are strikingly diverse — readers will find speculative fiction, magical realism, contemporary stories, romance, and more. There’s something here for everyone.
Love Beyond Body, Space, And Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology – Edited by Hope Nicholson
The stories of LGBT Indigenous people are rare in the publishing industry. All the more reason to read this gorgeous anthology about space, time travel, aliens, and love! Please support this anthology to send a clear message to the world that we need more stories like these to be published and read widely.
Interpreter Of Maladies – by Jhumpa Lahiri
A list of short stories would not be complete without Jhumpa Lahiri’s Pulitzer Prize winning Interpreter Of Maladies, a thoughtful and poignant exploration of Indian and Indian-American identity, loss, and cultural transition.
Falling In Love With Hominids – by Nalo Hopkinson
Fans of Fantasy and Science-Fiction must read Nalo Hopkinson’s World Fantasy Award winning short story collection. The stories are fascinatingly complex and imaginative. Some are only a couple of pages long, others are 20 pages, but they all demonstrate Hopkinson’s gift for telling a memorable tale.
Everything Begins And Ends At The Kentucky Club – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Benjamin Alire Sáenz became famous for writing Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, but he his a prolific writer of both Adult and YA fiction. This collection expertly demonstrates Sáenz’s gift for writing poignant stories that will both grip you and break your heart.
Fairytales For Lost Children – by Diriye Osman
A fearless collection of stories about gay, lesbian, and transgender Somalis that we don’t often see in fiction. It’s important that we seek non-western narratives to balance out the perspectives and experiences we see in our literature. Fairyatales For Lost Children is a must-read for those who want to build a library of Queer literature that is inclusive and intersectional.
In The Country – by Mia Alvar
Exciting and unforgettable stories about the Filipino diaspora that take readers across the world in a literary journey and explore the universal themes of loss and displacement. In The Country is a powerful and unmissable debut collection that augers big things for Alvar’s literary future.
Islands Of Decolonial Love – by LeAnne Simpson
In this collection, writer and activist LeAnne Simpson explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous peoples through short stories, poems, and audio (available in the author’s website) in a bold and unique way that aims to deconstruct colonial spaces in literature.
Latin@ Rising: An Anthology Of Latin@ Science Fiction And Fantasy – Edited by Matthew David Goodwin
This anthology won’t officially release until January 18th, 2017, but it’s certainly one all fans of speculative fiction should keep their eyes on. It features stories by 23 Latinx authors, with big names such as Junot Diaz, Ana Castillo, and Daniel Jose Older. Please show your support and Preorder here! The world needs more anthologies like Latin@ Rising.
Read a guest post by Matthew David Goodwin
Actually…here are a few more for good measure!
The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Woman Hollering Creek And Other Stories – by Sandra Cisneros
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