10 Must-Read Short Story Collections

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that’s all about, you guessed it, top ten bookish lists. This week’s prompt is ten hidden gems in any given genre, and because my tastes are all over the place and I couldn’t come up with ten in any one specific genre, I’m going with short stories. All short stories seem to fly under the radar for some reason. I don’t actually read them that often, but I haven’t met many that I didn’t like. Here are ten that I really did.

best short stories.pngAll images from Amazon.

Welcome to Bordertown
ed. Holly Black

Bordertown is the city between our realm and the elfin realm where runaway teens from both come to find adventure. A continuation of Terri Windling’s Bordertown series, this collection introduces new voices to the classic urban fantasy genre. I read it a long time ago, but it includes a few authors I love, so I definitely think it’s worth a read.

My True Love Gave to Me
ed. Stephanie Perkins

I stumbled across this book of short stories because I loved Stephanie Perkin’s books. It’s a cute collection of YA holiday-themed stories by some of the biggest names in the industry. Nothing too deep, just good YA fun.

Four Short Novels
Herman Melville

Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve only read one of these. But the man who wrote Bartleby, the Scrivener couldn’t possibly have written bad stories. I just haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of them yet.

The Time Traveler’s Almanac
ed. Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer

With a name like that, what’s not to love? This collection of fantasy and sci-fi stories is everything it promises and more. It’s got authors from every decade of good time-travel literature, and it even includes a few non-fiction articles for the avid time-traveler. It’s perfect. And it doesn’t hurt that the cover is gorgeous, too.

Krik? Krak!
Edwidge Danticat

I had to read this book of Haitian short stories for a college class, and it stuck with me. It’s got bright, colorful descriptions and heartbreaking stories, and the prose is music. Highly recommend.

Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde

My best friend got this book for me for Christmas, and I didn’t know it existed, which is pretty much a miracle considering I love Oscar Wilde. It lived up to everything I hoped it would be. It’s all the wit and charm and bitterness of Wilde’s other writings, but they’re fairytales. It’s great.

The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories
Oscar Wilde

Yeah, I like Oscar Wilde. So he’s on here twice. But the plot of this short story is pretty much me, in a plot: a young American family moves into an old European house haunted by a very respectable ghost. Being of modern sensibilities, the family refuses to be scared by the ghost and pretty much just keeps telling him to get his act together. I love it so much. If you’ve never read anything by Oscar Wilde and don’t want to start with The Picture of Dorian Gray, start with this.

Civilwarland in Bad Decline
George Saunders

George Saunders is one of the main inspirations for what’s now become my voice. His other collections of short stories are good, too, but I think this is my favorite of the ones I’ve read. If Oscar Wilde were alive now, I think he’d approve.

Nine Stories
J.D. Salinger

I buy this book for everyone I can. I love it so much, and it’s infinitely better than The Catcher in the Rye. I recently wrote an essay involving one of the stories in this book, and it won me money. So I love it just a little bit more now. Do read, if you get a chance.

The Octopus Rises
Ryan Boudinot

This is my favorite book of short stories, hands down. I love it even more than Oscar Wilde’s short stories. *gasp* I laughed so hard I cried while reading this. That pretty much never happens. Ever. But “The End of Bert and Ernie” is phenomenal. It’s everything I want to be as a short story writer. Go read this. Now.

Did I miss any of your favorite short story collections? Let me know in the comments!




  1. I’ve had “My True Love Gave to Me” on my list for a while, but I forgot to read it last winter. Hopefully I can remember this year!

    Of course, I also enjoyed Krik? Krak! But I haven’t read the others (that I’m aware of), so I’ll have to look into them! 🙂

  2. I haven’t read these but all of these sounds super! 🙂

    Have you read any out of these: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman, 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill or Tenth of December by George Saunders?

    1. I’ve read Tenth of December. George Saunders is one of my favorites. But those others sound right up my alley! I’ll have to check them out! I love Neil Gaiman.

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