Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My 100 Favorite Short Story Collections of the Twenty-First Century

To mark the occasion of my 100th posting on the “Reading the Short Story” blog, I am offering a list of my 100 favorite short story collections (so far) of the twenty-first century. I am not naming the list “The Best” of anything, just a roll-call of collections I have read and, for whatever reason—made me laugh, made me think, made me envious, made me glad to love this form—I responded to as a grateful reader. If you have a favorite not on the list, let me know. I will be happy to include it in one of the following lists: (1) I read it, didn’t care for it; (2) I have it, but haven’t read it yet; (3) I will buy it and read it; thanks. (4) oops! I forgot that one.

A Bit on the Side, William Trevor
A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, Amy Bloom
A Kind of Flying, Ron Carlson
After the Quake: Stories, Haruki Murakami
All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Edward P. Jones
All Fall Down, Mary Caponegro
All Things, All at Once, Lee K Abbott
Animal Crackers , Hannah Tinti
At the Jim Bridger, Ron Carlson
Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2, Annie Proulx
Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black, Nadine Gordimer
Between Trains, Barry Callaghan
Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, Maile Meloy
But Come Ye Back, Beth Lordan
Call If You Need Me, Raymond Carver
Changing Planes, Ursula K. Le Guin
Cheating at Canasta, William Trevor
Collected Stories, Carol Shields
Damned If I Do, Percival Everett
Dangerous Laughter, Steven Millhauser
Darling? Heidi Jon Schmidt
Day Out of Days, Sam Shepherd
Dictation: A Quartet, Cynthia Ozick
Dream Stuff, David Malouf
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer
Fascination, William Boyd
Female Troubles, Antonya Nelson
Fine Just the Way It Is, Annie Proulx
Fugue State, Brian Evenson
Georgia Under Water, Heather Sellers
Ghosts of Wyoming, Alyson Hagy
Girl With a Monkey, Leonard Michaels
God’s Gym, John Edgar Wideman
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage,
Alice Munro
Honored Guest, Joy Williams
How To Breathe Underwater, Julie Orringer
I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, William Gay
I Sailed with Magellan, Stuart Dybek
I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting With My Daddy,
Ellen Gilchrist
Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories, Joan Silber
In Persuasion Nation, George Saunders
It’s Beginning to Hurt, James Lasdun
Little Black Book of Stories, A.S. Byatt
Loot and Other Stories, Nadine Gordimer
Manhattan Monologues, Louis Auchincloss
Matters of Life and Death, Bernard MacLaverty
Miracle Boy and Other Stories, Pinckney Benedict
Mrs. Hempel Chronicles, Sarah Shun-Lien Brynum
My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales, Robert Antoni
Nice Big American Baby,Judy Budnitz
North of Nowhere, South of Loss, Janette Turner Hospital
Nothing Right, Antonya Nelson
Once the Shore, Paul Yoon
One Hour in Paradise, Joan Leegant
One More Year, Sana Krasikov
Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Danyal Mueenuddin
Our Story Begins, Tobias Wolff
Pastoralia, George Saunders
Rescue Missions, Frederick Busch
Runaway, Alice Munro
The Secret Goldfish, David Means
Servants of the Map, Andrea Barrett
Something for the Journey, Richard Cortez Day
Sonechka, Ludmila Ulitskaya
Ten Little Indians, Sherman Alexie
The Apple’s Bruise, Lisa Glatt
The Collected Stories of Clare Boylan
The Collected Stories of Richard Yates
The Dead Fish Museum, Charles D’Ambrosio
The Development, John Barth
The Dog of the Marriage, Amy Hempel
The Early Stories, John Updike
The Hermit’s Story, Rick Bass
The King in the Tree, Steven Millhauser
The Laws of Evening, Mary Yukari Waters
The Lemon Table, Julian Barnes
The One Marvelous Thing, Rikki Ducornet
The Red Convertible, Louise Erdrich
The Secret Goldfish, David Means
The Smallest People Alive, Keith Banner
The Spot, David Means
The Stories of Alice Adams
The Stories of Mary Gordon
The Teapots Are Out and Other Eccentric
Tales from Ireland, John B Keane
The Turning, Tim Winton
The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro
There a Petal Silently Falls, Choe-Yun
Things That Fall from the Sky, Kevin Brockmeier
Tooth and Claw, T. C. Boyle
Twilight of the Superheroes, Deborah Eisenberg
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
Walk the Blue Fields, Claire Keegan
What's Come Over You? Marian Thurm
White Wall: Collected Stories, Tatyana Tolstaya
Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work,
Jason Brown
Wild Child, T.C. Boyle
Yesterday’s Weather, Anne Enright
Young Irelanders, Gerard Donovan
Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail, Bobbi Ann Mason

16 comments:

Ann Graham said...

Wonderful! Thanks. I'm going to enjoy going through your list carefully. I keep a list of books I want to purchase.

Karol from NYC said...

This is a wonderful list, with some of my favorites and many I have not read, which leaves me a great deal of new stories (and authors) to explore. I would like to add a few of my favorites: "Talking to the Enemy" by Avner Mandelman; "A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies" by John Murray; "Valentines" by Olaf Olafsson; "Karma and Other Stories" by Rishi Reddi; and "The Whore's Child and Other Stories" by Richard Russo. In each of these collections, I adored more than 50% of the stories (a key test for my designation of a special story collection).

I just discovered your site a few days ago, and love it. Of all my reading friends, I am the only one who loves short stories. My friends have no idea what wondrous literary delights they are missing.

Hannah Tinti said...

Thanks, Charles! I'm honored to be on your list.

Miriam said...

Fascinating list, as lists like these often are. Much fodder for my reading list. How about Mary Gaitskill's "Bad Behavior," Lorrie Moore's "Birds of America" or Dan Chaon's "Among the Missing?"

Emily Perkins said...

Interesting list - thank you. (off topic, but thanks too for your 'The New Short Story Theories', a book I value.) How about Nam Le's 'The Boat'?

Sandra said...

Thanks for so many here I have not read. Theories of the Short Story is fascinating. Will you consider editing another edition? Here are a few collections I love hearing your opinions about: Our World, Kate Walbert; Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout; Women in Their Beds, Gina Berriault; Collected Stories, Carol Shields; Gasoline Wars, Jean Thompson; Dancing AFter Hours, Andre Dubus.

Harvey Freedenberg said...

In my spare time I'm a freelance reviewer. I stumbled across your impressive blog while doing some research for a guest blog post on short story collections I've enjoyed (I see some I've reviewed on your Top 100 list).

Thanks for all your efforts to share your love of short stories. I've put a link to the blog on my Twitter feed and will do the same on Facebook, and I hope you get some new readers as a result.

Charles E. May said...

Thanks, Harvey, for setting up links to my blog. Where can I find the omnibus review of short story collections you have done?

Tracy Koenig said...

Great list. I will share it with my story club when we meet this weekend. I was surprised, though, not to see Island by Alistair Macleod on the list. I picked it up after reading about it on your blog and was absorbed into its haunting sense of place and beautifully sustained voice. Did you find it too uneven to make the cut?

Charles E. May said...

Tracy, I did not include Island because the two collections that make it up were published in the last century. If I ever make up a list of my favorite collections of all time, Island will be near the top.

Anonymous said...

Quite right! I think, what is it excellent idea.

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

Ranger John said...

Just discovered your wonderful list and can't wait to delve into it. Two collections that come to mind that are not on your list are Cynthia Ozick's The Pagan Rabbi, and Jessamyn West's Love, Death, and the Ladies' Drill Team. Whoops! Realized it's a 21st century list.

Anonymous said...

no lost in the city on your list.it was actually better than all aunt hagars children

Unknown said...

I'd be interested to see your list of 100 favorite short stories of all time.

Anonymous said...

No junot diaz drown, smh. Lol