'Tis the season for shorts? You bet Short stories make excellent audios, and this season's selections are better than ever. American Masters: The Short Stories of Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and John Updike (Random House AudioBooks, $29.95, 7.5 hours, 0375404767) offers you the literary luxury of hearing 20 unabridged selections from the collected works of these three extraordinary creators of short fiction. The 17 superb stories that make up Selected Fictions and Poems (Penguin Audiobooks, $24.95, 6 hours, 0140868488) by Jorge Luis Borges are taken from the brilliant new translation of his entire opus by Andrew Hurley and read here by George Guidall. Best-selling author Jeffrey Archer shows off his gift for adroit, entertaining plot twists and suspense in Selected Stories (HarperAudio, $25, 6 hours, 069452056X), performed with perfect aplomb by British actor Martin Jarvis. Ethan Coen of the Coen brothers who gave us Fargo and Blood Simple has written Gates of Eden (Simon ∧ Schuster Audio, $25, 5.5 hours, 0671582801), a collection of short stories, read by an all-star cast, that echoes with the same intensity, irony, and imagination that mark his films. And if you know any cat lovers, what could be more purrrfect than The Greatest Cat Stories of the 20th Century (6 hours), ten tales of feline-centered intrigue, murder, and crime by ten masters of mystery fiction.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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