Charming Short Story Collections You Don’t Want to Miss

These winning collections are big on heart.

From award-winning releases to must-read debuts, the following fresh short story collections are filled with heartwarming and captivating tales, with characters that stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

By Jessica Dukes

We Love Anderson Cooper

By R.L. Maizes

What does it mean to fit in? Why do we strive to satisfy others even if it goes against our own desires? These are the questions asked by the characters in R.L Maizes’ debut collection. All outsiders, the characters in We Love Anderson Cooper wrestle with acceptance and seek meaningful connections. From an ostracized painter who inks tattoos that come to life to a teenager who comes out at his bar mitzvah, the characters in this warm and witty collection find ways to build a life that works for them.

First Person Singular

By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)

Fans of Murakami will adore his newest collection, while newcomers will delight in his mind-bending literary world. Many of the author’s favorite themes are on full display in First Person Singular, from youthful indiscretions and the way music shapes our lives to grappling with the mystery of who we were compared to who we are today. Murakami and his characters rarely offer answers to such quandaries — instead they invite readers to explore the questions themselves, finding solace in the journey.

Attrib. and Other Stories

By Eley Williams

The people in Eley Williams’ award-winning new collection just want to express themselves and be understood. A simple request, right? Hardly. Relationships blossom and fizzle as heart-thumping events leave characters on the verge of new beginnings. Through it all, Williams’ characters struggle to say and do the right things at the right time. The moments captured in Attrib. are funny and sweet, painful and awkward, and they’re always delightfully human.

Home Remedies

By Xuan Juliana Wang

Xuan Juliana Wang beautifully captures the lives of Chinese millennials in her celebrated debut collection, teasing universal truths out of small slices of modern-day life. From tales of a glass-swallowing qigong master and the children of “new money” parents to an immigrant family living in a New York City Chinatown apartment, the moving stories in Home Remedies double as powerful snapshots of a new generation.

Why I Don't Write by Susan Minot

Why I Don't Write

By Susan Minot

Susan Minot’s newest collection is her first in 30 years, which perhaps begins to explain the book’s title and its recurring themes. A writer catalogs the many reasons why she cannot write. A dying woman calls out the name of a man who isn’t her husband. Young lovers yearn for each other only to succumb to bickering and jealousy. Throughout, a message emerges: Love is a distraction. And yet, the deeply realized characters in Why I Don’t Write love sincerely — they just know that there’s a greater truth to be found.

The Rock Eaters

By Brenda Peynado

Magical realism and flashes of straight-up magic fuel these stories about people seeking connection in a painfully divided world. A family depends on thoughts and prayers to ward off violence. A hoarder disappears into the clutter of her apartment. Characters are shocked when parts of their body go missing. Flying children eat rocks to literally stay grounded in their hometown. In all of Brenda Peynado’s beguiling tales, ostracized people find ways to connect and survive together.

F*ckface

By Leah Hampton

Set in rural Appalachia, Leah Hampton’s latest collection strikes a captivating balance between hilarious and devastating. Characters contend with difficult parents, medical mysteries, dead bodies, and a potentially life-changing visit to Dollywood in an attempt to understand who they are and where their lives are headed. Throughout, characters are forced to make a choice: Stay in Appalachia and build a better life, or leave family, friends, and home behind in search of something new.

You Will Never Be Forgotten

You Will Never Be Forgotten

By Mary South

In this provocative collection, Mary South invites us into spaces where technology has rewired our lives and our relationships to others, from a rehab camp for internet trolls to the dark obsessions of a search engine content moderator. In our digital-first era, South’s stories will make you reconsider how we use technology for better or for worse, and how it can both build and destroy empathy.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

By Deesha Philyaw

In Deesha Philyaw’s award-winning collection, four generations of Black women seek balance in their faith and their desires. The gap between the demands of the church and where one’s passions lie is real, but the need to live a life of their choosing is what drives the women in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Among them is a woman in a new relationship who’s struggling to accept her body, a young woman with a crush on the preacher’s wife, a serial mistress navigating her relationships with married men, and a host of others who find love and friendship in surprising places.

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