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A New Race of Men from Heaven

Recommended for readers who enjoy thoughtful fiction with well-developed characters navigating difficult situations.

A Manual for How To Love Us

Slaughter admirably conveys a heightened awareness of how we harbor within our tamed lives an undeniable wildness.

A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times

As Saba boards her flight, she looks back, wondering if her relatives “might connect with her one more time,” and the need to connect shines throughout this strong collection.

Bad Thoughts: Stories

For those that enjoyed Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, this is a great addition to the genre that might be called “millennial ennui.”

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

A vibrant short story collection brimming with NYC culture and authentic characters from a debut author with an insider’s perspective.

Call and Response: Stories

Moeng, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford with an MFA from the University of Mississippi, writes with lush, heartfelt intensity that illuminates contemporary Botswana for readers who value complex female characters navigating a rapidly changing world.

The Faraway World: Stories

Engel’s character-focused short stories are thought-provoking and intense; readers of literary fiction will enjoy this masterfully written collection.

Muckross Abbey and Other Stories

With frequent nods to both contemporary and classic ghost-story writers (Daphne Du Maurier, Henry James), the success of these stories lies not just in the well-crafted writing but in the conscious mixing of a shape-shifting old world with an unreliably secure modern world. A masterly recharging of a treasured literary tradition that Murray clearly loves and respects.

Walk the Blue Fields: Stories

Award-winning Irish author Keegan (Antarctica) delivered this delightful collection of short stories in 2008...

All the Ruined Men: Stories

Glose’s superbly and empathetically written book is highly recommended. While the subject matter is inherently heavy, it is compassionately managed by one who understands the journey.

The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories

These poignant stories of self-discovery revealing the faces we show to the world, our friends and family, or perhaps no one at all, alternately tug at the heartstrings and tickle the funny bone. An essential purchase.

Gods of Want: Stories

Experiencing this collection in print would allow readers to more easily savor Chang’s lyrical writing, but listening provides an opportunity to fully dwell within the stories and be carried to the end.

Ghost Lover: Stories

These nine short stories highlighting women’s desires, judgments, obsessions, and frustrations are intriguing, but somewhat uneven. A solid, if nonessential purchase for most libraries.

I Walk Between the Raindrops: Stories

This stellar collection is an essential purchase for all public library collections. Recommended for those that like grit and good stories.

She and Her Cat: Stories

Reminiscent of the animated film The Secret Life of Pets, this work may be short, but it’s a surprisingly engrossing and entertaining light read. Readers looking for a quick and overall uplifting work should consider picking up this title, and it’s sure to be appreciated by pet lovers all around.

Witnesses for the Dead: Stories

A representative collection of authors are included, featuring intriguing stories with settings as varied as a detention center for immigrants to occupied Paris in 1941. The premise is unusual for a crime collection, with characters who witness a crime, and sometimes take justice into their own hands. Royalties go to the Alliance for Safe Traffic Stops.

How It Went: Thirteen More Stories of the Port William Membership

A solid collection from a dependable author, for fans and nonfans alike.

Bliss Montage: Stories

Highly recommended for readers looking for an inventive take on contemporary life.

Night of the Living Rez

This rich collection of interwoven stories will add a new perspective to any collection. Highly recommended, especially for libraries looking to highlight diverse voices and communities.

Seven Empty Houses

A sure bet for Schweblin fans and connoisseurs of off-kilter worlds, though some readers may feel distanced.

Out There: Stories

The star-studded cast of narrators (Sophie Amoss, Hannah Choi, Michael Crouch, Will Damron, Renata Friedman, and Kristen Sieh) provide the right tone for each tale, never overemphasizing the plot elements that defy reality, which allows the truth of Folk’s stories to shine through.

The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land: Stories

An impeccably narrated audiobook that makes Friedlander’s stories come alive.

Hunger: A Novella and Stories

Paired with Wong’s understated but dramatic performance, this audiobook is an absorbing listen and a key volume for libraries seeking to add representation of Asian American voices to contemporary fiction collections.

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

A singular accomplishment from a writer to watch.

Life Ceremony: Stories

Though a few stories could have been better developed, Murata’s premises are always eye-opening, and the result will intrigue and satisfy readers of literary and speculative fiction alike.

Night of the Living Rez

Talty’s debut story collection is a wonderfully understated work with sneaky emotional force, anchored by a memorable main character and the author’s keen understanding of childhoods that have been marked by instability.

In Everything I See Your Hand: Stories

A broodingly beautiful collection made more poignant by the author’s untimely death in 2017; not just for those interested in the Armenian American experience.

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories

An acute and original work bringing all readers closer to Afghanistan.

Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary: Stories

Listeners who are nostalgic about the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Jewish sleep-away camp, or Shakespeare in the Park will especially enjoy hearing about these complex characters and their lives.

Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories

Recommended for listeners who enjoy Alice Munro’s finely tuned portraits of ordinary people.

Recitatif: A Story

This powerful and important production is not to be missed.

Life Without Children: Stories

Doyle splendidly narrates his own words using his harsh, raspy voice to good effect, and a gentler tone when required; his female voices are believable. Doyle’s unique style demonstrates that suffering is a commonality, not something to be endured in silence.

The Last Suspicious Holdout: Stories

This is not an easy-breezy listen, but will reward those who value the quality of the experience Hubbard, Ojo, and Jackson create together.

A Blind Corner

Macy (Mrs.) brings these stories to life with a sharp moral critique and an observant eye.

Blank Pages: And Other Stories

The 12 stories that make up MacLaverty’s seventh collection emphasize his mastery of image, characterization, and dialogue. He remains one of the most graceful storytellers in modern literature.

Five Tuesdays in Winter

A series of beautifully written character studies brimming with insight into the human condition.

Excuse Me While I Disappear: Stories

Of interest to readers who enjoy short stories, particularly those who are interested in the history of Europe and the history of bookmaking and literacy.

Secrets of Happiness

Silber’s fans, and readers who enjoy smart, humane contemporary fiction that doesn’t talk down to them, will enjoy this work.

Milk Blood Heat

Highly recommended; catch this writer early in her game.

Land of Big Numbers

Told in a straightforward journalist’s style, Chen’s stories are filled with individuals facing hardships of varying degrees, with no happy endings to be found She delves into the human psyche to ponder just how far individuals will go tolerate duress. Not light reading, but this collection may be of interest to those looking for book group titles addressing the challenges of finding success, happiness, love, and contentment.


A striking and memorable collection of surprising stories and shifting identities.

That Old CountryMusic: Stories

The multi-award-winning Barry (Night Boat to Tangier) dazzles with his word wizardry and the effortless grace of his perfect sentences. Highly recommended.

In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena

At turns dark, craggy, and heart-wrenching, Rash’s writing is never easy, but it is also lovely, moving, and rich in history and culture, just like the Appalachian region it so beautifully captures. Highly recommended for both those just discovering Rash and for returning readers. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/20.]

You Are Not What We Expected

Readers familiar with Toronto will appreciate the insider’s portrayal and even recognize specific buildings and blocks, but all readers can enjoy Ludwig’s (Holding My Breath) writing. She shows great empathy for her characters, even when they behave badly.

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears: Stories

These well-crafted and intelligent stories about the many ways a life can be haunted will gratify readers who enjoy perceptive, slightly gothic tales.


Fifty-Two Stories

Though some readers may prefer a more straightforward, colloquial style, fans of heightened language will enjoy this translation, which should appeal to a wide audience. A comprehensive volume that will satisfy the needs of many libraries.

How To Pronounce Knife

Cosmopolitan aficionados of pristine short fiction--think Paul Yoon, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Phil Klay--will want to read. [See Prepub Alert, 10/7/19.]



A dark and often unsettling collection that some readers will find difficult but that will reward those seeking fierce, intimate writing. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

Heathcliff Redux and Other Stories

This short collection takes a respectable look at the ways we evade our own truths but doesn’t engage as deeply as its subjects merit. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges

Each story is vivid, unexpected, and satisfyingly weird. Darkly comic and whip-smart, this collection is recommended for readers of Aimee Bender and Alexandra Kleeman.

Grand Union: Stories

The caliber of these pieces varies, but Smith’s keen intellect shines through them all. Both her fans and readers who enjoy smart fiction with an up-to-the-minute sensibility, will find much to like. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/19.]

A Dream Come True: The Collected Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti

The haunting yet engaging stories in this comprehensive collection will expose Onetti to a much broader readership than has heretofore existed.

Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

Though some of the stories feel overly experimental and some retellings work better than others, this reenvisioning of Ovid’s immortal work offers passages of unforgettable beauty and much strength in the voices of women trying to become themselves.

The Scent of Buenos Aires: Stories by Hebe Uhart

These stories cover a broad spectrum of situations and will appeal to a wide range of readers. A remarkable introduction to one of the unsung women writers of Argentine letters.

Kitchen Curse

Despite possible disappointment, Kurniawan groupies won’t be deterred; for newbies, go to the novels for greater fictional satisfaction.

Driving in Cars with Homeless Men

This dynamic--and often harrowing--collection beautifully spotlights lives that are rough around the edges; not standard fare but highly recommended.

Fly Already

Originally written in Hebrew, the pieces in this fine collection lose nothing in translation; the wit and humanity of each tale survive intact. Ideal reading for short bursts of time or short attention spans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]


She Was Like That: New and Selected Stories

These stories from National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist Walbert are poignant and compelling; each is complete in itself but will leave the reader wanting more. Recommended for all short story readers. [See Prepub Alert, 3/15/19.]


The World Doesn’t Require You

In a narrative playing fast and loose with grammatical convention, Scott offers a strongly developed sense of place that, fantastical though it may be, is evocative of Anderson and Faulkner. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

Being Various: New Irish Short Stories

A piercing look at the inner lives of a refreshing variety of Irish people.


Song for the Unraveling of the World

Readers of literary horror will not want to miss this one.

Selected Shorts | Reader's Shelf, October 15, 2018


The Art of the Short Story


Beautiful Days: Stories

Perceptive, unmissable work. [See Prepub Alert, 8/28/17.]


Well-observed, unexpected writing for fans and more. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]

The Wrong Heaven: Stories

Not just fun but full of smart ideas; as the woman-become-horse observes, "Would you rather transform your Core, or your entire being?"

Zolitude: Stories

Not for the fainthearted or lovers of straightforward plot, but brilliant for anyone preferring heightened reading.

A Good Day for Seppuku: Short Stories

Sparkling work for smart readers.

Good Trouble: Stories

Absorbing reading sophisticates will love. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]

Night Hawks: Stories

Highly recommended.

Last Stories

Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 11/6/17.]

The Affliction: A Novel in Stories

A heartfelt and well-crafted work.

All the Names They Used for God: Stories

Not all these stories startle, but Sachdeva is a writer to watch.

Come Westand See: Stories

The stories don't always connect as much as one is led to expect, but the writing is sure-footed and the disquieting sense of a world upended successfully delivered.

The Immigrant's Refrigerator

A keen, sobering work; ten percent of profits will go to the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Center.

The Owl That Carries Us Away

Excellent reading for those who value meditative, beautiful storytelling.

Fight No More: Stories

Top-notch, in-your-face work from the priceless Millet. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]

A Lucky Man: Stories

Fully developed stories that readers will savor.

The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story

Highly recommended for fans of modern short fiction.

She Loves Me Not

This collection extends the boundaries of the short story form while remaining centered on Nebraska and the human experience; enthusiastically recommended for all readers. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/12.]

Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

Like the Paris Review’s revered author interview collections, this anthology of short stories selected by some of the great practitioners of our time is bound to be read and studied for years to come.

Married Love: and Other Love Stories

There is not a lot of domestic bliss to be found in these finely rendered stories, but there are many small moments of everyday life made recognizable by an exceptional storyteller. Highly recommended.

Dancing Dogs

For fans of animal stories who have recovered enough from John Grogan’s Marley and Me to have another good cry (or several).

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