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Riot Recommendation: What Outstanding Short Stories Have You Read?

Vanessa Diaz

Managing Editor

Book Riot Managing Editor Vanessa Diaz is a writer and former bookseller from San Diego, CA whose Spanish is even faster than her English. When not reading or writing, she enjoys dreaming up travel itineraries and drinking entirely too much tea. She is a regular co-host on the All the Books podcast who especially loves mysteries, gothic lit, mythology/folklore, and all things witchy. Vanessa can be found on Instagram at @BuenosDiazSD or taking pictures of pretty trees in Portland, OR, where she now resides.

Zikora by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

From the award-winning author of Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Amazon Original Stories comes a powerful short story of becoming a mother. When Zikora, a DC lawyer from Nigeria, tells her equally high-powered lover that she’s pregnant, he abandons her. But it’s Zikora’s demanding mother, in town for the birth, who makes Zikora feel like a lonely little girl all over again. As she reflects on her mother’s painful past, Zikora begins to understand what her own mother wants for her, for her new baby, and for herself. Prime members read or listen to Zikora for free.

2020 finally turned me into a for-real short story reader. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy short stories before, I just sought them out casually at best. I was convinced that I could only truly be invested in or inspired by a full-length work of fiction. This idea is, of course, a load of hooey. Hooey, I say! I’m a little ashamed it took a reading slump brought on by the stress of a global pandemic and <insert your favorite 2020 disaster here> to make me see the light.

Some of you are in the same boat with me, and some have yet to approach the vessel o’ short fiction. So today I’m talking to you seasoned lovers of bite-sized stories. Tell me and your fellow Riot readers: what outstanding short stories should we read next? Come shout them at us on Facebook and Twitter, then we’ll round up your answers and be back next week to share a roundup with the group. Give us individual short stories, collections, anthologies—dealer’s choice!