It’s the winter solstice today, which (finally) means that the days will start to lengthen from this point until June 21. With this being the shortest day of the year, then, it’s a good excuse to hibernate a little with a good book. And what’s more appropriate on the shortest day than to read a book of short stories? Here are a few we recommend from 2016/2017:
The Best Place on Earth – Ayelet Tsabari
- A collection of eleven short stories, the protagonists of which are mostly Israelis of Mizrahi background (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent). In illustrating the lives of those whose identities swing from fiercely patriotic to powerfully global, the author explores Israeli history even as she reveals the universality of war, love, heartbreak and hope.
Children of the New World – Alexander Weinstein
- A collection of short stories explores the near-future world of social-media implants, immersive virtual reality games, and frighteningly intuitive robots.
Bad Dreams and Other Stories – Tessa Hadley
- A collection of stories by the award-winning author of The Past explores a theme of the exceptional nature of seemingly mundane things, depicting such characters as sisters who quarrel over an inheritance and new baby, a child who explores her home in the middle of the night and a housekeeper who uncovers an elderly charge’s secrets.
An Unrestored Woman – Shobha Rao
- A collection of intense tales of turmoil and tragedy that explores the reverberations of Partition through generations, from a mapmaker’s gamble to a grandfather who cannot speak of what he escaped as a young boy.
The Virginity of Famous Men – Christine Sneed
- This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love?
Homesick for Another World – Ottessa Moshfegh
- A highly anticipated first collection by the award-winning author of Eileen features protagonists who stumble on their own base impulses in their unsettling and laugh-out-loud pursuits of fulfillment.
Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
- In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen
- While the stories, mostly set in the Vietnamese community in California, represent Vietnamese refugee experiences in the US, the topics they explore — relationships, grief, the desire for fulfillment — speak to the human experience. Check them out if you’re interested in sympathetic characters, cultural dislocation, or the experiences of refugees.
What Is Yours Is Not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi
- A collection of stories by the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird features entries about literal and metaphorical keys that open or shut the fates of lovers, the heart of a puppeteering student and the doors of a house of locks that holds unobservable developments.
For a Little While – Rick Bass
- Rick Bass is unparalleled in his ability to evoke the enduring verities of the human heart amid astonishing portraits of wilderness both within and without. In his world we encounter larger-than-life characters–a couple that escapes from a sudden blizzard by traversing a frozen lake beneath the ice, or a young boxer who flees from a charging horse as a means of training for bar fights–each attempting to triumph against fate and time, in rugged landscapes that both save and destroy.
In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper – edited by Lawrence Block
- A newly commissioned anthology of 17 stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper is complemented by quality full-color reproductions and includes contributions by such forefront authors as Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King and Lee Child.
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky – Lesley Nneka Arimah
- In these twelve powerful stories that embrace magical-realist elements while deploying a powerfully empathetic understanding of character and circumstance, Arimah explores how parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, navigate conflicting cultures and struggle to reconcile conflicting desires, wants, and needs.
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