Short Fiction Reading List

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about short fiction. I’ve always enjoyed short stories, but recently, they became something I feel like I need to read more of. And that is because the remainder of my time in grad school will be dedicated to short fiction. This week, I started a class on fiction writing, in which I will (presumably) write a bunch of short stories. And then, I will spend the next five months writing my “thesis,” which, since I’m concentrating in Fiction – WHY did I chose that?!?! – is a collection of short stories. I am terrified. My master’s degree is dependent on my ability to write fiction. Cue panic attack.

And so, to make my self feel even a little prepared, I’ve decided that, for the next couple of months, I am going to try and read a lot more short fiction. I have a few books in my collection that I haven’t gotten around to yet, and a couple more that I’ve been meaning to pick up. So I thought I’d share the short fiction I am planning to read, because it’s definitely a little something different.

I’d quickly like to mention a few short story collections that I’ve already read, and might revisit in the next couple of months, because they definitely inspired me. The first is Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King, which I read about a year and a half ago. I love King’s short fiction, and the ones in this book were some of my favorites. The other is The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, which is a collection of both fiction and nonfiction stories. I loved her writing style, so it’s definitely a book I’ll keep around while I’m writing my own stories.

Okay, now, onto the books I haven’t read:

  1. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. I have been meaning to read this one for a while, and just haven’t gotten around to it. Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed the few stories from this book I’ve already read or that I heard him read, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them. I might also pick up his other short story collections – Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors.
  2. Bradbury Stories by Ray Bradbury. This is actually a massive book containing 100 of Ray Bradbury’s short stories. Even though I love Bradbury, I have yet to read any of them, so I’m pretty excited for this one!
  3. An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I had actually never heard of this book before I discovered a used copy at the dollar bookstore. Since it was a dollar, I picked it up because it sounds really interesting. It’s a collection of seven stories that each have something to do with neurological disorders and creativity. I’m definitely intrigued.
  4. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. Again, I love King’s short fiction. I’ve been meaning to read this one since it came out, but just haven’t picked it up yet. I’m also planning on eventually reading King’s other short story collections (there are quite a few).
  5. Redeployment by Phil Klay. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, which is a collection of short stories revolving around the wards in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not my typical genre, but it sounds like something that I might enjoy anyway.
  6. Rogues and Dangerous Women both edited by George R. R. Martin. Because I’m trying to read as many different genres/styles of short fiction as I can, I think these anthologies might be really helpful. They’re huge, so I might just skip around and read the stories that sound interesting first, but, they do look really fun.

What is your favorite short story?

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