'Tis the season for spooky reads! As the days in October get a little colder and the nights get a little longer, it's the perfect time to curl up with best-selling author Audrey Niffenegger's new and lovingly curated collection of ghost stories, Ghostly. Featuring Niffenegger's original illustrations and a few of her own stories alongside classics (Poe's "The Black Cat") and newer works by Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link, readers are sure to find something that moves and quietly haunts them in this book.
Some people would have you believe that short stories are the literary equivalent of baseball’s minor leagues, a place to hone your skills until you’re ready for a bigger and more prestigious stage. But as masters such as Alice Munro have proven, a great short story is no less of an achievement than a great novel. These four collections demonstrate that a new generation of authors is happy to experiment with the possibilities of the short form.
Each year since 1915, a volume of Best American Short Stories has been published, offering a selection of the finest short fiction that has appeared in magazines and journals throughout the year. To celebrate the centenary, editors Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor have compiled a best of the best collection, 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories.
It takes a writer of immense confidence and talent to fashion beautiful stories that chronicle ordinary people coping with devastating challenges. Adam Johnson demonstrated this talent in his novel The Orphan Master’s Son, which received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He now does the same in Fortune Smiles, a collection of six powerful short stories in which characters are forced to contend with some of life’s biggest tragedies.
Shirley Jackson, who died 50 years ago this month at the much too early age of 48, left behind a solid literary opus anchored in two indelible works: the iconic short story “The Lottery” and the classy ghost story novel, The Haunting of Hill House. Let Me Tell You collects 29 stories, including 21 that have never before been published, as well as many essays and humor pieces.
Rebecca Makkai’ s novels—The Borrower and The Hundred Year House—have established her as one of the most talented literary voices today. Her short fiction has been selected for The Best American Short Stories four years in a row. Now the acclaimed writer returns with Music for Wartime, an anticipated collection of short stories, several of which were inspired by the lives of her paternal grandparents.
Steven Millhauser is our patron saint of elsewhere. He is the bard of an Arcadia we long for (but also dread), a sorcerer who can materialize phantoms in our backyards, where they’ve been standing all along, just there, behind the bushes.
A dose of dark humor, a captivating historical novel and the 2014 National Book Award winner for fiction make great selections for reading groups this month.
Kelly Link tends to inspire a range of comparisons to other authors—usually, some blend of Angela Carter and Haruki Murakami—but, in fact, nobody writes stories like hers. Link’s fantastical worlds feel utterly real, partly because they’re intensely matter-of-fact. Her characters are sassy, moody and cool, and they never, ever make any big deal out of the fact that there are monsters, aliens, vampires or ghosts hanging around, or that they might stumble into a pocket universe or some alternate dimension. Mostly they’re concerned with cute guys and flirting and drinks, plus occasionally needing to save the world.
This radiant collection of short stories features a set of flawed yet sympathetic women in a whole mess of compromising positions.