For those of us without a lot of time to read – or perhaps readers like me who have books all over the house and want to be able to pick up and put down something if we have a few minutes to spare – short story collections are the perfect solution to get your reading fix without having to read hundreds of pages.
Most of us were introduced to short stories in high school. Whether the suspense of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, the heartbreaking brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron or the mind-bending consequences in Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder, short stories introduced younger readers to the possibilities of fiction without sacrificing language, plot, or characters.
Today, short story collections are everywhere. They allow you to explore new genres and authors without the commitment of wading through a longer novel, but with all the satisfaction of finishing a great story. Once you’ve got short story authors that you really like, you can expand your reading list to novel authors you’ve enjoyed and of whom you’d like to read more.
Since May is Short Story Month, we’re showcasing some of our favorite short story picks for our readers.
Ernest Hemingway is widely considered the grandfather of the modern short story. He has a number of famous short story collections, like In Our Time, but we’d like to point you in the direction of The Nick Adams Stories. This posthumous collection features stories published – and some unpublished – throughout Hemingway’s life. This is one of our favorite collections of short stories to read that are a little off the beaten path.
JD Salinger is widely known for his anti-hero classic, A Catcher in the Rye. He followed his breakout novel with a collection of short stories called “Nine Stories.” It included “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” which was originally published in the New Yorker Magazine a couple years before Catcher came out. This collection was surprising popular (and financially successful) for a collection of short stories and kept Salinger’s literary star in the spotlight as the famous author slid into the seclusion.
Night Shift was Stephen King’s first published collection of short stories. Published right after the success of the Shining, Night Shift features 20 of King’s stories, some previously published by various magazines, others unpublished. Unsurprisingly, many of these stories went on to get film adaptations in Hollywood, including Children of the Corn, Truck, The Lawnmower Man, Graveyard Shift, The Mangler, and Cat’s Eye.
Roald Dahl has penned children’s classics such as James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but what many Dahl fans don’t realize is that he also wrote several short story collections from the point of view of children. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More is a collection of short stories written for a slightly older audience than the majority of his famous children’s books, leaning more young adult than elementary school aged readers.
Short Story Categories:
Whether science fiction, classics, horror, Southern literature, or modern authors, there’s sure to be a collection out there that feeds your enjoyment of reading. Check out all of our short story collections here.