Short stories are sort of the underdogs of the literary world. I say sort of because I think poetry is the true underdog. Personally, I love short fiction. It fits well with my ability to concentrate and my time for reading as of late (not long and not much, respectively). And because of my book pushing nature, I want everyone else to give them a chance too. I would love for this to be an elegant plea to read some of the wonderful short story collections there are (and please note I’ll be recommending modern short story collections, because if you somehow missed that you were supposed to read Flannery O’Connor at some point in your life, you need to ask yourself who you are, what you’re doing, and get yourself to the library forthwith), but…it’s not. It’ll hopefully end up a mildly persuasive suggestion to pick up one of these books if you haven’t already.
And hey, it’s late Friday night, take chances, step outside your comfort zone, read a short story collection, and party hard. Because Daria says so*.
One for those who like their fiction a little weird: Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. Supernatural, macabre, and often quite funny, this quirky little collection is worth a shot.
One for those who like their fiction a little classic: Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work by Jason Brown. Weighty stories set in the desolate woods of northern New England. Also, what a great title.
One for those who like their fiction a little gritty: Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill. A group of stories featuring next to no characters you would ever want to meet.
One for those who like their fiction a little disturbing: Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock. Gorgeously written and worth every penny of the purchase price.
One for those who like their fiction a little scary: Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. It runs the gamut from excellent (The Mist) to plainly awful (Survivor Type)
One for those who like their fiction with a side of realism: The Things We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. Just brilliant and possibly one of the pillars of the modern short story.
One for those who like their fiction just a little science fiction: The Universe in Miniature in Miniature by Patrick Somerville.
One for those who like their fiction linked: Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. Both moving and sad, it’s a must read (and watch, for that matter).
As any good teenager of the ’90s, Daria and Angela Chase are my idols.