I haven’t always been a fan of short stories. There is just something about them that doesn’t equate to the feeling you get when you read a good novel. But, recently, I have come to appreciate short stories and what writers can accomplish with them. It’s possible this is because I’ve simply been reading more than ever, and in a wider variety of different genres and formats. Or it could be because I have had to write several short stories for my graduate program (my thesis is a collection of short stories – which I have not yet started writing). So, today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite short stories with you. While I would recommend all of the books these short stories were published in, I’m actually going to concentrate on the stories themselves. Let’s get into it!
- “The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan. As I write this, I am actually halfway through Keegan’s book of short stories, also called The Opposite of Loneliness, and I absolutely love it! Her writing is just so beautiful and honest. You may be familiar with “The Opposite of Loneliness,” which went viral after being published in The Yale Daily News in 2012. It’s definitely something every college student should read, because it perfectly describes what makes going out into the real world so terrifying. In case you’re not familiar with Keegan, she was a very talented young writer, about to start a job at The New Yorker, when she was killed in a car accident less than a week after graduating from Yale. I haven’t even finished her book (which was posthumously published by her family and one of her professors), but she has already inspired me as a writer.
- “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” by Neil Gaiman. Published in his book, Trigger Warning, this story was actually a gift from Gaiman to his aging friend, Bradbury. Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite writers, so I think that plays a big role in why I love this story so much (it doesn’t hurt that I heard Gaiman read it aloud, in person). But really, it’s about how Bradbury will live on through his work, and how our favorite stories become memories.
- “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King. I’m going to be honest, I think I actually like King’s short stories more than his novels. His writing style and ability to create suspense quickly definitely lends itself to a shorter format. I haven’t read all of his short story collections, but, of the ones I have, this is one of my favorite stories (which inspired one of my favorite movies). It was published in his book Different Seasons, along with “The Body,” which inspired the movie Stand by Me. I also highly recommend, Full Dark, No Stars, which is the other King story collection I’ve read in it’s entirety.
- “The Rat/Thing” by Augusten Burroughs. Burroughs’s short story collections – Magical Thinking and Possible Side Effects are some of my favorite books. This story in particular makes me laugh every single time I read it. Burrgouhs has a very dark sense of humor, and I really just love it. There is a little part of me that identifies very strongly with Burroughs, a part that wears shirts from colleges I did not attend and kind of doesn’t care about wading through mountains of trash and pretends to be the host of a cooking show every time I cook.
- “The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman. Another story from Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, this was also published as a young adult picture book. Yes, you read that right, young adult picture book. Which is kind of amazing in and of itself. It’s a mashup of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, which an awesome feminist twist, and I love it. Plus, the illustrations are gorgeous, so I’d go for the picture book (which is how I read it).
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’re not a short story reader, maybe this encouraged you to give them a try, because they really are great, and you can find one you’ll like regardless of your interests. If you are a fan of short stories, let me know what your favorites are! I would love some new recommendations (not that I need to add to my TBR).
Thanks for reading!