Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twelve Short Story Gift or Wish List Suggestions for the Twelve Days of Christmas

If you love the short story and celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts, then what better gift to give than a truly great collection of stories by one or more of the very best short story writers of the twentieth century? Or if someone has asked you for a gift idea, and you do not have all the following collections, send this list to your friend with your choice starred; you can’t lose on any of them. Short stories are truly the gift that keeps on giving, for unlike novels, you can read them again and again, year after year. My reward for posting this? Your gifting and reading pleasure.

Unless marked otherwise, the following prices are for paperbacks from Amazon, who, for my money, consistently has the best prices.

Flannery O’Connor,
Complete Stories $12.24
This is the collection that won “best of best” of National Book Awards. Challenging but unforgettable stories.

Eudora Welty
Collected Stories $10.88
Shortlisted for the “best of best” of National Book Awards. This is the one I voted for. Welty’s mythic world and unerring use of language are national treasures.

John Updike
Early Stories $13.57
A big fat book of crisp Updike stories from early in his career. Some of his best.

Alice Munro
Selected Stories $11.53
Runaway $10.20
Some of the best early Munro stories, classics of the genre, and, in my opinion, her best more recent collection.

Andre Dubus
Selected Stories $10.85
Dancing After Hours $11.76
The best of vintage Dubus and his memorable final collection.

William Trevor
Collected Stories $19.80
Selected Stories $23.10 (hardcover)
The first is a delicious fat volume of most early Trevor stories. The second includes stories from his last four collections. Not to be missed.

T. C. Boyle
T.C. Boyle Stories $13.60
Ah, he’s a lot a fun—lightweight and a showman, but still passes the time pleasantly.

Annie Proulx
Close Range $10.20
Bad Dirt $11.20
Fine the Way It Is $10.20
These are the three Wyoming Stories collections; they show what a truly great short story writer Proulx is.

Tobias Wolff
Our Story Begins $10.85
This is a selection of his vintage stories, plus a few recent ones. The early ones are better, but Wolfe is always worth reading. A master of the form.

David Means
Assorted Fire Events $5.44
The Secret Goldfish $5.58
The Spot $15.64 (hardcover)
These are David Mean’s three best books. If you haven’t read him, take advantage of Amazon’s cut-rate price on the first two.

Raymond Carver
Collected Stories $26.40 (hardcover)
This is the classic Library of America collection. Gotta read Carver again and again.

Bernard Malamud
The Complete Stories $13.60
Still one of the best short-story writers of the 20th century. Even Flannery O’Connor liked him.

Happy Holidays, whatever your holiday, and thanks for reading "Reading the Short Story"


Mark Laurila said...

Excellent suggestions, to which I would add this:

Charles E. May

Fiction's Many Worlds $4.94

A 1992 college text that contains 142 short stories from nearly 100 authors. Lots of great choices, but what sets it apart from similar anthologies is the quality of the accompanying essays, which offer a distillation of Dr. May's thinking on the genre. One stop shopping for readers of this blog.

Charles E. May said...

Thanks, Mark.

elliot said...

Excellent list, Charles, and could I suggest: How about a second list of stories in translation? Chekhov, Borges, Bolano, Calvino - just for starters. Would love to know your thoughts and selections. - elliot

Charles E. May said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Elliott. I will take a look at translations.

Ann Graham said...

Love your post about gifts of short stories!!!