10 Memorable & Moving Short Story Collections

Reading short stories is a great way to get a daily dose of fiction when you don't have a lot of free time. Even if you do have hours a day to read, these stories are still a delight. Their unique pacing allows authors to explore topics and story-telling styles that might not work as well in full-length novels. The ten collections of short stories listed here feature fantastic writing, compelling characters, and thought-provoking plots. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Memorable & Moving Short Story Collections

Title Author
1. Selected Stores F. Sionil José
2. Days of Awe A.M. Homes
3. The Beach at Galle Road Joanna Luloff
4. The Boat Nam Le
5. Happy Birthday! Meghna Pant
6. Six Stories and an Essay Andrea Levy
7. Kiss Me Someone Karen Shepard
8. The UnAmericans Molly Antopol
9. Dirty Love Andre Dubus III
10. Madame Zero Sarah Hall

Why Read Short Stories?

  • They make it easy to try new genres & authors
  • You'll always get to the end
  • They fit into a busy schedule
  • They can help you establish a daily reading habit

6 Films Based on Short Stories

Short works of fiction are often the basis of short films, but many have been adapted into features as well. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Birds based on the story by Daphne du Maurier
  2. Duel based on the story by Richard Matheson
  3. Children of the Corn based on the story by Stephen King
  4. A Sound of Thunder based on the story by Ray Bradbury
  5. Brokeback Mountain based on the story by Annie Proulx
  6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty based on the story by James Thurber

How to Write Descriptively

In Depth

There's nothing quite like getting lost in a great short story. Whether you like tidy tales of mystery that wrap up in a few pages or longer works about lost love, there's no better way to indulge your love of the form than to spend some time getting into a rich, colorful collection of characters confronting problems both internal and external.

If you can't get enough short stories, here, in no particular order, are some volumes you can't afford to sleep on.

In the #1 slot is "Selected Stories" by F. Sionil Jose. True events inspire these twelve tales of faith and lost love by a Filipino master of the craft. Including "The God Stealer," one of the author's most famous classics, as well as "Puppy Love," this collection is a perfect introduction to one of the overlooked geniuses of short fiction.

True events inspire these twelve tales of faith and lost love by a Filipino master of the craft.

At #2 is "Days of Awe" by A.M. Homes. Packed with satire and brimming with sharp, lightning-fast dialogue, Homes' stories of blase L.A. suburbanites and small-town families take a deep dive past the glittering surface of modern American life, revealing the sad, sometimes sordid truth that lies beneath. With her trademark wit and knack for suspense, Homes leaves readers wanting more at the finish of each gripping tale.

For #3, we have Joanna Luloff's "The Beach at Galle Road." The Sinhalese and the Tamils are about to wage a bloody war for dominion over Sri Lanka, and caught in the middle are sisters Lakshmi and Janaki, who have to find ways to live a normal life in the midst of the unspeakable violence that's ravaging their community. Told as interlinking stories to create a vast narrative of life during wartime, Luloff shows readers a world to which they may have been previously blind.

At #4 is Nam Le's "The Boat." In his debut collection, the Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus mines his past, along with that of his parents, for tales about personal history, the complications of lineage, and the problems of having to straddle the expectations of several cultures. Le's work takes readers all across the globe, from Australia to Vietnam to the streets of New York, to explore the lives of characters who are still trying to figure out their place in the world.

Le's work takes readers all across the globe, from Australia to Vietnam to the streets of New York, to explore the lives of characters who are still trying to figure out their place in the world.

At #5 we find "Happy Birthday!" by Meghna Pant. When marriages fail, vacations go south, and karma comes knocking, sometimes the only thing we can do is look inward for answers. As the men and women in this collection struggle to deal with personal tragedies large and small, they find themselves reaching out in unexpected ways.

The title of the #6 pick, Andrea Levy's "Six Stories and an Essay," may seem straightforward, but there's nothing simple about the resulting volume of stories about heritage and history coupled with an essay explaining the author's connection to her Black, British protagonists. Deeply drawn from personal experience, "Six Stories" takes readers all the way back to World War I to examine the enduring influence of Afro-Caribbean culture.

Coming in at #7 is Karen Shepard's "Kiss Me Someone," in which the author's sharp feminist sensibility shines through, presenting women that society finds too messy, too complicated, or too much to handle, from high school kids looking to fit in to mothers having a hard time accepting the burden that society has placed on them.

At #8 is "The Unamericans" by Molly Antopol. What does it mean to be an American? Through stories of war veterans, persecuted workers, and outsiders, Antopol illustrates how patriotism can have many different meanings. From an actor who gets blacklisted during the McCarthy era to a smuggler bringing the art she loves to Jerusalem, these sketches of desperate characters and turbulent lives will help readers reexamine their fast-held ideas about honor, duty, and love of country.

At #9 is "Dirty Love" by Andre Dubus III. Love comes in all forms. In this series of linked novellas, characters have to deal with the aftermath of breakups and betrayals: a man cheats on his pregnant wife. A teenage girl finds images of herself being peddled on the dark web. A man discovers the filthy secret that's been plaguing his marriage for years. In this heartbreaking work, what unites people are the unpleasant, but often crucial discoveries they make in the face of blinding love.

Finally, at #10, is Sarah Hall's "Madame Zero." A twist of the supernatural intervenes in the lives of otherwise ordinary individuals in many of these haunting stories from an emerging voice. In "Mrs. Fox," a woman transforms into an animal, leaving her husband to wonder what's next. In "Goodnight Nobody," a community must find a way to deal with tragedy. In each of these stories, transformation and radical change pave the way for a much-needed new beginning.