Like most readers, I love a good novel. However, I also love a good short story collection. They’re perfect for days I want something more bite-sized to read or for days I’m in the mood to devour multiple storylines. These collections are also a fantastic way to experience an author’s creativity on a broader spectrum. You can’t go wrong, really. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite short story collections today. They’re definitely worth bumping to the top of your TBR queue.
What makes this collection unique is that each story is a collaborative effort by authors Laura Tansley and Micaela Maftei. From internal musings to outward struggles, Tansley and Maftei explore the various stages and settings of women’s lives. While dark, the humor infused within the lines of their collection makes it all the more enjoyable, especially when exploring topics that verge on being unsettling in nature. The Reach of a Root is an examination of self through the lens of characters facing the same anxieties, trials, and triumphs of life we often run into along the way.
You’ll find a little bit of everything in this debut by Carmen Maria Machado: horror, science fiction, comedy, romance. In this otherworldly and provocative collection, Machado maps the narratives of women’s lives and the horrors that are often forced upon their bodies. Her Body and Other Parties is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve reached the final page.
I first discovered Rona Vaselaar as a NoSleep Podcast listener, where many of her stories have been brought to life by the podcast’s fantastic production team and voice actors. Since then, Vaselaar has become one of my favorite horror authors. In Colors of Death, she explores humanity’s obsession with what lies in dark corners and in the realms beyond death.
In her debut short story collection, Nafissa Thompson-Spires relates tales of characters grappling with the pressures of race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class. From the darkly humorous to painfully poignant, Thompson-Spires has crafted a fantastic work of fiction that is as powerful as it is impactful.
Jorge Consiglio weaves tales of immigration, history, marginality, intimacy, and obsession across the pages of Southerly, hooking readers from beginning to end. As the characters of each story face their own transformations, we are able to find some universality in their revelations. And, mirroring the complex nature of life, each tale remains open-ended and left in the hands of our own speculation.