I never have as much time as I would like to read. As much as I read, there is always more. And I bet all readers feel this way. But you know what is great for reading when you have limited time? Short story collections! You can pepper your day with a story here and a story there. And there are SO many amazing collections to choose from! Really, it’s almost hard to pick, so here are eight of the best new short story collections to get you started.
Short stories are great for when you are standing in line or sitting in your car waiting to pick someone up. They are also great for breaking reading slumps! Feel like you haven’t read anything good lately? Try a story. The feeling of investing less time for what could still be a great reward might get your brain back on track. Some collections are linked stories, like Real Animals by Brandon Taylor, so they’re fun to read in one sitting. Or you can read several stories over several days that are vastly different, like my favorite collection, All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you find hours and hours of reading enjoyment with the books on this list. And if you are looking for more short story recommendations, we’ve listed a few more options at the bottom. Happy reading!
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century: Stories by Kim Fu
I am a huge fan of Fu’s last book, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore. But I love this new collection even more! These 12 stories are filled with tales that offer a taste of strange to ordinary lives, like haunted dolls and sea monsters and humans sprouting wings. And one of the stories, “#ClimbingNation,” has been optioned for development into a film.
Night of the Living Rez: Stories by Morgan Talty
This is one of the most anticipated collections, nay, books of 2022! It’s 12 incendiary stories set around a Native community in Maine. They explore the experience of Natives in America in the 21st century, revolving around family and community, and will make you laugh and cry.
Rainbow Rainbow: Stories by Lydia Conklin
This prize-winning collection of stories features queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters. They deal with issues such as love and family in the time of COVID. A lesbian couple searches for an acceptable sperm donor; a nonbinary writer engages in a risky affair; an office worker accompanies his nephew to a trans convention. All are excellent!
A Calm and Normal Heart: Stories by Chelsea T. Hicks
This is a fresh and engaging collection of stories about young Native characters, such as a Native college student wondering what to do on Thanksgiving break, a young Osage woman trying to find her way in mid-century Oklahoma, and a young professional trying to declare her independence from her past.
The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang
Not all story collections have to be by the same author! This excellent collection brings together the the first English translations of 17 Chinese-language science fiction and fantasy stories by female and nonbinary writers.
Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories by Sindya Bhanoo
Bhanoo shines in her debut collection about South Indian immigrants and the families they left behind. There’s a widow awaiting the arrival of her daughters from America; a woman finally getting a taste of freedom from her marriage when she inherits a home, and more. This collection includes “Malliga Homes,” which won an O. Henry Prize.
Thank You, Mr. Nixon by Gish Jen
This might very well be the most critically acclaimed collection of the year so far! Jen is an award-winning author with many stories and novels under her belt. This is an exceptional collection of 11 stories that examine U.S.-China relations, starting with a letter written by a young girl addressed to Richard Nixon in Hell.
Bliss Montage: Stories by Ling Ma
Okay, this book isn’t out until September 13th, but it was important you know about it, because it has been several years since we heard from Ma, the author of the excellent novel Severance. And this collection of eight stories about people and their realities, real or otherwise, does not disappoint. Mark it down on your TBR now!
And if you’re looking to fill your brain to the brim with more short stories, check out 100 Must-Read Contemporary Short Story Collections, Very Short Stories to Devour in Record Time, and The 34 Best Short Stories Of All Time.