While scrolling through Instagram I stumbled upon the information that it is national short story month. What better way to celebrate than sharing a few of my favorites from my bookshelf?
I am very obsessed with the concept of short stories. Reading a few short stories after getting through a lengthy novel is always refreshing for the mind.
This genre seems to be gaining popularity and I’ve read a few great ones in the past several months. I love that you are given just enough introduction to characters and plot lines. It leaves me wanting more and lets my imagination run freely as to what could be in continuation for the story. The structure forces writers to be concise in their word choice and stick to details that matter. There is beauty in a shorter amount of storyline to let the reader think.
Here are six short story collections I have read through and brought me the headspace to think through the writing and imagine the possibilities.
Florida // Lauren Groff
It’s marvelous to know another person’s entire literary canon by heart. It’s like knowing their secret personal language.
Groff seems born to write short stories. Small, hard-hitting snippets of lives that still make you feel emotionally-drained, but also thoughtful and satisfied. For the most part, the stories seem to be narrating a series of events in intricate detail, observing nature and moments between people.
Dinosaurs on Other Planets // Danielle McLaughlin
Life, after all, was mostly the art of salvage.
This short story collection wasn’t what I was expecting. It contains no dinosaurs or other planets, but it does contain realistic stories about characters whose lives have gone slightly off-course.
One More Thing // B.J. Novak
…slow and steady wins the race, till truth and talent claim their place.
As a big The Office fan, I knew I wanted to read Novak’s work. He is witty and odd. Very tongue-in-cheek and not what I expected. I like when books surprise me with its content though. It made me laugh and I haven’t found many books that can actually accomplish that feat.
The Opposite of Loneliness // Marina Keegan
We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.
Keegan’s writing had so much passion and love and life behind it. Everything she wrote felt so exposing and honest. There is much controversy surrounding this book because most people do not believe it would have ever been published if not for her tragic and untimely death. Regardless, her writing is thought-provoking and I genuinely enjoyed it.
Sunshine State // Sarah Gerard
“Are you a journalist?” she asked. “I’m more of a memoirist.”
An eclectic essay collection that touches on topics ranging from friendship to homelessness to the environment. Gerard’s strongest essays, such as “BFF” and “Rabbit”, explore intimate emotions like loss and jealousy with vulnerability and detail. Overall I didn’t fully connect with this one, but it was well written.
20 Under 40: Stories from the New Yorker // Deborah Treisman
He thought, I got wings on my eyes, and the thought was so odd and yet so pleasing to him that he felt suddenly that he was immensely special, that there could be no one like him in the world.
These are all short stories crafted superbly, written with style and clarity, stories from writers who take creative liberties. It opened my mind to a variety of diverse authors that I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to read, if not for this collection.