10 Short Story Collections You Can Read During Your Lunch Break

Isn't it lovely how short story collections can give you a tiny reprieve from real life? They invite you to take a quick dip inside an author's imagination, without having to commit to a full-length book. Even if you only have a few minutes, a short story can take you to entirely new places. So of course, reading a short story on your lunch break is a wonderful way to shake up your work day.

Sometimes it can be hard to take an actual break for lunch. It's tempting to eat at your desk and continue to get things done. Plus, even when I do insist on stepping away, all too often my mind stays stuck in my to-do list. But I've found that taking a few minutes to read a short story during your break is a great way to give yourself a breather from all the demands of your job.

The wonderful thing about short stories is that, well, they're short. In just a matter of pages, a good short story will open up an entirely new world to you, breathe characters into existence, and get the wheels in your head turning. They're the perfect brain food to keep you going for the rest of the day. Here are 10 short story collection you can pick up during your lunch breaks:

'A Thousand Beginnings and Endings' edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

In this anthology, 15 authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia. Edited by author Elsie Chapman and We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh, this collection contains enchanted stories filled with romance, adventure, and magic.

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'Lagos Noir' edited by Chris Abani

How about taking in a good mystery story during your break? This book, the latest in Akashic's noir, is entirely set in Lagos, Nigeria, and contains stories by Chris Abani, Nnedi Okorafor, E.C. Osondu, Jude Dibia, Chika Unigwe, and A. Igoni Barrett.

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'Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories' by Kelly Barnhill

This collection is filled with the strange, mystifying stories about sasquatches, invisible girls, and the power of love and imagination.

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'Willful Creatures' by Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender has a flair for pushing past the normal limits of the universe in ways that are darkly funny, deeply profound, and absolutely unforgettable.

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'What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky' by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah is a master storyteller, and each one of these stories will make the rest of the world fall away entirely. This book is dark, funny, and subversive, and you won't be able to shake Arimah's writing from your brain for the rest of the afternoon.

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'Florida' by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff's newest story collection, Florida, is a powerful, politically-charged ode to the titular state. These tales of the Sunshine State delve into wild terrain, but they're grounded by an exploration of what it means to be human in a world that is on fire.

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'Some Trick: Thirteen Stories' by Helen DeWitt

In this new collection from powerhouse writer Helen Dewitt, you'll find stories that invite you inside and then shoot straight past your expectations.

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'Daydreams of Angels' by Heather O'Neill

Though they're all original stories, Heather O'Neill's stories feel like fairy tales retold for the modern age. In her collection, a Soviet experiment produces hundreds of clones of a famous ballet dancer; a grandmother explains where babies come from: a beach where mothers-to-be hunt for infants in the water; Jesus shows up in the sixth grade.

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'Awayland' by Ramona Ausubel

The stories in this wonderful collection will transport you all over the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic Circle. There are heaping helpings of the strange in these stories, including a Cyclops who gives online dating a try to a mayor who offers a prize to any baby born on Lenin's birthday. You'll be absolutely hooked.

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'The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories' by Ken Liu

Ken Liu is one of today's greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy. This collection of Liu's award-winning short stories is imaginative and transportive, and each story asks questions about our universe that will make your head spin.

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