Riot Recommendation

36 of Your Favorite Short Story Collections By Women

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

This Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Flatiron Books.

The women in Lara Williams’ debut story collection, A Selfie as Big as the Ritz, navigate the tumultuous interval between early twenties and middle age. In the title story, a relationship implodes against the romantic backdrop of Paris. In “One of Those Life Things,” a young woman struggles to say the right thing at her best friend’s abortion. In “Treats,” a single woman comes to terms with her loneliness. As Williams’ characters attempt to lean in, fall in love, hold together a family, fend off loneliness, and build a meaningful life, we see them alternating between expectation and resignation, giddiness and melancholy, the rollercoaster we all find ourselves on.

From Roxane Gay’s wonderfully titled Difficult Women to the hilarious collection American Housewife by Helen Ellis, women are writing fantastic short story collections. We try to read them all, since we look forward to reading about as many types of women as possible, which makes our list of favorites excellently long! We asked you to tell us your favorite short story collections by women and you answered. Here are your 36 favorites:

Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due

The Safety of Objects by A.M. Homes

Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

Emerald City by Jennifer Egan

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

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

Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker

Happiness, Like Water: Stories by Chinelo Okparanta

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Bad behavior by Mary Gaitskill

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Her Body And Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara

Short and Strange by Betsy Nelson

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter

The Complete Stories by Alice Walker

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

Word Puppets by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mother Aegypt and Other Stories by Kage Baker

What are your favorite short story collections by women? Find even more of our coverage on the short story here.