Six for Sunday is a bookish meme created and hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot.
This Sunday’s topic:
Favorite Short Stories
Short stories aren’t my favorite things, so I haven’t read many of them. But every once in a while, I’ll pick up a collection to read. The following are some of my favorites.
The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman
The copy I own contains both “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and “Herland,” but I’ve only read the former so far and really liked it. When I read it back in 2014, I was surprised to find a classic so… readable and entertaining, despite being unsettling too. The story is semi-autobiographical and is about a woman who’s depressed and is prescribed bed rest by her physician husband. There’s a hint of horror to the story, but it’s not scary; it’s more of a psychological horror, I think.
The Inheritance by Robin Hobb
This is a collection of short stories written under the pseudonyms Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb. I didn’t love the collection, but I certainly enjoyed the stories written under Robin Hobb because they are all set in the Realm of the Elderlings world. If you have read the Realm of the Elderlings books and are curious about the first people to live in the Rain Wilds, I highly suggest that you pick up this collection (maybe borrow it) and read “Homecoming.” It’s about how the Rain Wilds were settled and who were the first people to settle there and how they went about it. Reading this makes it more obvious that the Realm of the Elderlings stories are about the sacrifices of women — even Fitz’s story touches on that.
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez, transl. by Megan McDowell
I really enjoined this collection. The stories are macabre, haunting, and unsettling, yet so gripping that I could hardly put the book down and kept wishing the stories were longer. The stories cover a variety of topics, but the constant ones were political and sociological climate in Argentina. I have several favorites in the collection but the foremost was the titular one, which is about women protesting physical abuse by burning themselves.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
I read this collection last year and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It’s a collection of nine stories about the lives and experiences of Black women in America and almost all are about protagonists accepting themselves and coming to terms with certain expectations placed on them. Two of my favorites are “How to Make Love to a Physicist,” which is about an artist who meets a physicist she likes at a conference. I love how the story is written: It flows like a poem. The other is “Instructions for Married Christian Husbands,” which a woman apparently provides to the married men she has affairs with. I like the snarky tone of it.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
My copy is part of the Penguin Little Black Classics (number 31) and is actually a collection of three of Poe’s short stories. My favorite of the three is the titular one, which reads like a fast-paced psychological thriller and is about a young man tortured by guilt after killing a blind old man. It’s the narrator’s voice that hooked me and made me speed through the short story. It’s one I’d like to reread.
Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Macabre Tales by Washington Irving
This was one of the first books I read and reviewed on here. It’s been such a long time since I read it (back in 2012) that I can’t remember much details of the stories, but I recall my reading experience — that I enjoyed the stories, was hooked and sped through them. I think the one I liked the most was of the dude who fell asleep and woke up old or several years in the future or something… I should reread these too.
10 thoughts on “Six for Sunday: Fav Short Stories”
I loved Philyaw’s stories too and I think those two were also my favourites. Around the same time I also “discovered” Carolyn Ferrell’s short stories and thought there were some similarities between the two (focus on character, voice, etc.) and overall I had a stellar story year last year. Lately I’ve finished a collection by Khanh Ha called A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories, which resituates the experiences of ordinary people in the American War (which, in North America is called the Vietnam War): very good indeed.
Oh cool! It’s the first I’ve heard of those authors.
And that’s great last year was good reading for you!
I’ve always loved short stories and used to subscribe to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Ficiton for my almost monthly fix. But eventually I just wasn’t able to keep up with them and have too many unread issues, along with many best of year collections. These days I don’t read shorts nearly as often but still enjoy them from time to time. I love many of the classics, like just about anything by Poe, and Irving is fun, too. Slightly more contemporary, I’ve enjoyed many of Stephen King’s short stories. And most anything by Ken Liu.
That’s cool. I’d like to try something by King as well.
I’ve considered subscribing to one of those SFF magazines for the short stories, but I have a feeling they’d start piling up on me too.
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These days there are many short story magazines that let you read online for free (and can purchase, as well), or at least have some stories free. And many authors publish shorts on their website for free. It’s a perfect time for those who just want to read them every so often as there’s plenty of stuff out there. Check out https://www.tor.com/category/all-fiction/, they post a short story every so often, sometimes by lesser known and sometimes more well known speculative authors.
Oh I forgot Tor has free short stories… although I should know since I get their newsletters, lol! THanks for the link.
I want to read The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. I’m reading a short story collection right now that I’m enjoying – The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans.
I’ve heard some good stuff about that one.
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I just really enjoyed The Book of Reykjavik, a book of short stories set in Iceland’s capital – I don’t really love short stories as a genre but it’s so rare to find a non crime/noir Iceland book I bought it immediately I heard about it!
That’s wonderful you enjoyed it. It’s the first I’ve heard of that one.