Too often, readers don’t seek out short stories. They’re either overlooked, forgotten about, or the reader simply doesn’t know what to look for. But an excellent collection holds stories that spark your imagination and hold you just as captive as a full-length novel.
Here are some of my favourite short story collections, holding their places proudly on my bookshelves.
The Inner City by Karen Heuler
This collection has the distinction of having an absolutely beautiful cover that matches the beautiful prose within. The stories within will bring you to strange places close to home and to far places that resemble home just a little too closely. Stand outs include a tale of the Rapture, a man whose gift of floating eventually takes its toll, and the story of a fish that grants wishes.
For lovers of odd sci-fi and surrealism, this book from award-winning author Karen Heuler certainly deserves your time.
One Good Story, That One by Thomas King
If you haven’t read Thomas King before, this is a great introduction to his work. He’s a masterful storyteller – in a rather literal sense. Many of his stories are written as if they’re being told in the oral tradition. All of his stories have one thing in common: they feel real. Even when speaking of gods King’s work is funny and relatable, just as likely to make you laugh as it is to make you think. I can’t choose any standouts as I enjoyed everything too much.
Here’s a collection for those seeking great CanLit or clever literature.
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
In addition to being a short-story collection, this book is also a Young Adult title and gets looked over often for purely that reason. As anyone who has ever enjoyed Pierce’s books can tell you, that is a grave mistake. The author’s skill in world-building ensures that each tale is very immersive, and leaves you wanting more. Stand outs include the story of tree that becomes a man, the tale of a girl who defies the rules of her society to teach, and the struggle of a father forced to make a choice between his child and his culture.
This collection is for those who enjoy a great character driven story, with believable fantasy settings.
All My Darling Daughters by Fumi Yoshinaga
This collection is a manga, and it is stunning in every way. The writing and the illustration combine to create an absolutely beautiful selection of tales that showcase the lives of different women. The narratives are touching, and the simple elegant lines of the illustrations will have you re-reading this book often. All the stories are connected, but stand outs include a daughter’s disbelief when her mother marries a (much) younger man, and a woman who turns to faith rather than love.
This book is for anyone curious about manga, and those who enjoy slice of life novels and interconnected stories.
Maybe you’ve read some (or all) of these? Do you enjoy reading short stories, or would you rather stick to full length novels? Did I miss one of your favourite collections?
Let me know in the comments below!