Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

100 Must-Read Short Story Collections

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Cassandra Neace

Staff Writer

Cassandra Neace is a high school English teacher in Houston. When she's not in the classroom, she reads books and writes about them. She prides herself on her ability to recommend a book for most any occasion. She can be found on Instagram @read_write_make

I discovered my love of short fiction in school. Novels are great, but for someone with zero patience (like me), a good short story is just what I need – near instant gratification.

The list below is made up of some collections of the best short fiction out there, and it all packs the kind of punch that a good short story should.  There’s a mix of authors from different places and different times. The subject matter is all over the place. Some of it sweet. Some of it is strange. All of it is good.

This list is just a jumping off point. There is so much more out there, and we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

These collections are some of my personal favorites from the list.

These collections are some of my personal favorites from the list.

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Paradise Elsewhere by Kathy Page

The Great Frustration by Seth Fried

Volt by Alan Heathcock

Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sisters Husband and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Lovers on All Saints’ Day by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Indigo by Satyajit Ray

What is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

The Pier Falls and Other Stories by Mark Haddon

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry

These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson

Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane

The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan

Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

Amor and Psycho by Carolyn Cooke

Spectacle by Susan Steinberg

Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

The Loss of All Lost Things by Amina Gautier

American Housewife by Helen Ellis

In the Country by Mia Alvar

Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd  by Ana Menéndez

Ayiti by Roxane Gay

The Safety of Objects by A.M. Homes

Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf

The Garden Party by Katharine Mansfield

Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter

Falling In Love With Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Boat by Nam Le

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Trash by Dorothy Allison

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

Night Shift by Stephen King

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson

Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

Gut Shot by Amelia Gray

Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood

Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros

Brownsville by Oscar Casares

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg

Delicate Edible Birds by by Lauren Groff

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Monstress by Lysley Tenorio

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders  by Neil Gaiman

The Magic of Blood by Dagoberto Gilb

Family Furnishings by Alice Munro

Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

Enormous Changes at the Last Moment by Grace Paley

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

East, West by Salman Rushdie

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

Oblivion by David Foster Wallace

We Should Never Meet by Aimee Phan

Zigzagger by Manuel Munoz

You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down by Alice Walker

Lady with the Dog and Other Stories by Anton Chekov

The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul

How to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capó Crucet

The Southern Cross by Skip Horack

How to Escape from a Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique

Cities I Never Lived In by Sara Majka

Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman

There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter

The Love Object by Edna O’Brien

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

The Barrens and Others by F. Paul Wilson

High Lonesome by Joyce Carol Oates

Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut

The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender

A Better Angel by Chris Adrian

Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue

Burning Bright  by Ron Rash

Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino