9 Short Story Collections That Belong on Your Shelf

Novels are wonderful, but they aren't the only way to write fiction. Short stories, for instance, offer a number of advantages. They can usually be read in one sitting, so you can easily fit them into a busy schedule. And a good short story can evoke deep thoughts and powerful moods, over the course of just a few thousand words. The collections listed here cover a wide range of topics and would be a great addition to any bookshelf. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Short Story Collections That Belong on Your Shelf

Title Author More by the Author
1. Honeydew Edith Pearlman Binocular Vision How to Fall
2. Absent Without Leave Jessica Treadway How Will I Know You? Lacy Eye
3. Sam the Cat Matthew Klam Who Is Rich? The New Granta Book of the American Short Story
4. The Last Animal Abby Geni The Wildlands The Lightkeepers
5. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This Robin Black Life Drawing Crash Course
6. Equal Love Peter Ho Davies The Fortunes The Welsh Girl
7. Vladimir's Mustache Stephan Eirik Clark Sweetness #9 Geography of the Heart
8. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank Nathan Englander Dinner at the Center of the Earth For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
9. Corrections to My Memoirs Michael Kun We Are Still Tornadoes The Locklear Letters

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

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

Stephen King on the Craft of Short Story Writing

In Depth

If you love reading but you have a tight schedule, a novel may be tough to finish. However, there are plenty of wonderful books of short stories out there that are easier to read at a lighter pace. In no particular order, here are nine short story collections that you should consider adding to your personal library.

#1. "Honeydew" by Edith Pearlman features twenty stories about characters with different backgrounds and contrasting personalities. Each work presents a distinct level of human emotion. "Puck," for instance, takes place inside an antique shop, where a mysterious statue of a goblin gives a potion to the attendants, who become lovers. Because of the incident, the figurine becomes a coveted object for people who are searching for true love.

#2: "Absent Without Leave and Other Stories" by Jessica Treadway explores how ordinary people respond to various difficulties, especially family-related troubles. In one narrative, fathers display their fragility as they feel inadequate in fulfilling their responsibilities. Other stories present issues like divorce and unwanted pregnancies in a unique and insightful way.

In one narrative, fathers display their fragility as they feel inadequate in fulfilling their responsibilities.

#3: "Sam the Cat: and Other Stories" by Matthew Klam focuses on the different struggles of disillusioned young men. It presents their relationship issues with their partners, family, and friends. Each tale is written in first person, which gives the reader a clear picture of what's going on in the character's minds. The mood is lighthearted and many narratives contain funny banter and a happy ending.

#4: "The Last Animal" by Abby Geni. As the title hints, the tales comment on the connection between humans and wildlife. "Terror Birds" shows how the relationship of a couple working on an ostrich farm fades as time passes by. "Captivity" features the struggles of an octopus handler in an aquarium as he is haunted by his dark past. The title story is about an old woman who wants to know the whereabouts of her husband, who left her thirty years ago.

#5: "If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This" by Robin Black. There are many major transitions reflected in this work. A father struggles to adjust his life after his blind daughter goes to college. A mother confronts her daughter's infidelity, and a brokenhearted artist paints a portrait of a dying man. Most of the narratives are written in a serious tone and feature an insightful look at various relationships.

There are many major transitions reflected in this work.

#6: "Equal Love" by Peter Ho Davies. The author dedicates his work to the budding generation. His collection of stories showcases several issues confronting the youth: a young Chinese man who gambles with hustlers, a couple trying to make their relationship work against all odds, and other tales of children becoming adults while facing new responsibilities and relationship problems. It also highlights the love shared between parents and children and its boundaries.

#7: "Vladimir's Mustache" by Stephan Eirik Clark. The stories are set in Russia during the time of Peter the Great until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The dark yet elegant fables represent the Russian spirit at that time, with themes ranging from nationalism to historical imagination. From an Italian opera singer who wants to perform for the tsar, to the women who meet their grooms-to-be through a mail order bride service, to an actor who loses himself in a role after playing the part of Hitler.

#8: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" by Nathan Englander has received accolades from several literary circles. It was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist and won the Grand Prize at the 2012 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The stories highlight the struggles of Jewish people against Antisemitism and their painful memories of the Holocaust.

The stories highlight the struggles of Jewish people against Antisemitism and their painful memories of the Holocaust.

#9: "Corrections to My Memoirs" by Michael Kun. Readers who are looking for a mix of laughs, excitement, and introspection will enjoy this work. The stories feature different characters and how they face adversity. Though some stories are presented with humor, they manage to keep the message intact. At the end of each chapter, the author leaves a fake note, which adds a personal touch to the reading experience.