If your attention span suffers from news fatigue these days, you might find it difficult to commit to reading a novel or longform work of nonfiction. Filled with digestible bites of fiction, these 23
new short story collections are just what you need to get your reading back on track.
Despite being such a difficult year on the whole, 2020 has seen a lot of great
new book releases. From highly publicized new collections such as Zora Neale Hurston's Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick and Laura van den Berg's I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, to a number of sleeper hits, including Leesa Cross-Smith's So We Can Glow and Scholastique Mukasonga's Igifu.
Regardless of whether you're looking for a new collection of literary fiction or just want to read some fun, speculative stories, there's something that is just right for you here.
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Jenny Bhatt's debut collection of short fiction moves between and through the lives of the Indian diaspora, examining efforts to succeed — whatever that means to them as individuals.
The Twilight renaissance is real, and there's no better example than
Vampires Never Get Old: Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker's new anthology of YA vampire fiction. Featuring stories from a wide-ranging lineup of authors that includes Dhonielle Clayton, Julie Murphy, and Rebecca Roanhorse, this is one of the year's best genre-fiction collections. 3 Whiskey & Ribbons author Leesa Cross-Smith's So We Can Glow flew mostly under the radar when it was released, but this literary collection of 42 — 42! — short stories is an unapologetic exploration of the lives of girls and women in all their messy glory. 4
New in 2020 from
The Girls author Emma Cline, Daddy digs underneath the fingernails of the human experience, examining lives upended by the unthinkable. Engrossing and unsettling, this is the perfect story collection for anyone who isn't interested in a bunch of happy endings. 5
Confronting contemporary issues of race, class, and gender, Danielle Evans'
The Office of Historical Corrections deserves a place on your TBR this year. The stories here feel ripped from the headlines, but each offers an insightful glimpse into the strange world we've built beneath ourselves. 6
Normal People author Sally Rooney, Nicole Flattery's Show Them a Good Time introduces readers to relatable women relegated to side-character roles in the lives of powerful men. 7
With a title like that, how can you not want to check this book out? The title story in Julián Herbert's
Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino features a Tarantino doppelganger planning an attack on his double kidnaps another man and forces him to discuss the Pulp Fiction director's movies. 8
Reworking old stories into new forms perfectly suited for contemporary life and thought, Lucy Hughes-Hallett's
Fabulous pulls from ancient myths, Biblical legends, and more to show that things stay the same, no matter how much they change. 9
A collection of "lost" stories from the author of
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick contains eight stories — all new to the modern reader — pulled from the author's archives and the little magazines of the Harlem Renaissance. 10
Bridging body horror and cyberpunk, Julian K. Jarboe's
Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel is a diverse and compelling collection of new queer myths and sci-fi legends. 11 Nov. 10
Alaya Dawn Johnson's new collection of short stories moves between marginalized communities throughout the United States, from the real to the fantastic. Whether you're looking for Hawaiian vampires or tales from the front lines of the Civil War,
Reconstruction has plenty to love. 12
A new collection exploring the global definitions and limits of manhood, Nicole Krauss'
To Be a Man is a literary collection of short fiction filled with insights and explorations that will linger long after you've finished reading. 13 A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L'Engle is no longer with us, but her fiction continues to captivate and inspire today. Read 18 of her stories, many of them never before seen, in The Moment of Tenderness. 14
From the author of
The Paper Menagerie comes this new collection of short stories by speculative-fiction master Ken Liu. From the depths of the mundane to the heights of science fiction, The Hidden Girl has it all. 15
Drawing from the author's experiences growing up during the Rwandan genocide, Scholastique Mukasonga's
Igifu is a haunting exploration of the darkness that lies in wait within the human heart. 16
In a collection that examines and expands the definition of a war casualty, Japanese-American author Asako Serizawa's interconnected stories span the Pacific, taking on the impact of World War II's Asiatic-Pacific Theater.
Another 2020 debut, Stephanie Soileau's book contains 11 stories situated along one hurricane-battered corner of Louisiana.
Last One Out Shut Off the Lights offers up a raw, but sympathetic, look at rural desperation. 18
Hailed as a book brimming with feminist fairy tales, Amber Sparks'
And I Do Not Forgive You is just the kind of cathartic story collection you need when and if you find yourself at an all-time low. 19
Shruti Swamy's debut is
A House Is a Body: a collection of 12 literary stories that stand at the edge of slipstream and the surreal. With tales ranging from melancholic lows to high-stakes thrills, A House Is a Body has a story for whatever mood you're feeling right now. 20
A collection about marginalization and belonging, Souvankham Thammavongsa's
How to Pronounce Knife has been one of the year's breakout hits. There's plenty to love and savor in this literary debut. 21
From the author of
Find Me and The Third Hotel comes I Hold a Wolf by the Ears: a short-fiction collection filled with tales of intrigue and grit. As powerful as it is unnerving, Laura van den Berg's new book offers a compelling take on our interpersonal relationships. 22
Janeites should take special note of this under-the radar gem. Karen Tei Yamashita's
Sansei and Sensibility transplants Jane Austen's characters and archetypes into new climes and circumstances. 23 The Small Backs of Children author Lidia Yuknavitch brings her signature ability to capture the exposed tendon of a story to this collection of short fiction. Comprising 20 tales of raw power, Verge is an unputdownable read.
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