You Should Check Out These Short Story Collections

Attending our friend Kathryn’s Press 53 award ceremony last Saturday, where she was recognized for her short story “Vermin,” got me back on a short story kick. I’ve been a fan of short stories for years, and have such admiration for that style of writing. After all, think of how much you have to be able to accomplish in so few pages with a good short story — you introduce characters, build a scene, create some sort of conflict or incident, and wrap things up in some form or fashion all without using many words.

So yes, I’m very impressed. (Kudos to all you short story writers out there!)

And since we’re talking short stories, I thought I’d pass along a few of my favorite short story collections. (Some of these are a bit odd, but that’s what I love about them. Just wanted to give fair warning.):

  • Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. This is most definitely NOT the same side of author Roald Dahl that we saw in such children’s classics as The BFG and Matilda. The short story Dahl is dark and unexpected and, at times, downright malicious. It’s wonderful. I first discovered this short story collection in a used bookstore while studying abroad in London, and it quickly became a favorite (or, should I say, “favourite”?).

Kiss Kiss

  • Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. As is true, I assume, for most, I first fell for Salinger after reading The Catcher in the Rye, and quickly moved on to Franny and Zooey (also great) and then discovered the writer’s wonderful short story offerings.


  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Indian author Lahiri penned the beautiful novel Namesake, and her writing continues to shine in this collection of tales. Her writing is captivating and lovely, and Lahiri’s ability to develop truly dimensional characters is wildly impressive.


  • The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber. This is a bit of a sentimental pick for me, because my dad’s a big Thurber fan and he used to read me his stories when I was a kid. Thurber, a humorist in the ’30s and ’40s, was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorker magazine as well as short story collections like this one. (“The Night The Bed Fell” is a Swindle family favorite, for the record.)

thurber carnival

If you’re a short story fan, what are some of your favorite collections?

9 thoughts on “You Should Check Out These Short Story Collections

  1. Anna- I absolutely LOVED Roald Dahl as a kid! As an adult, I have a penchant for dark and twisted tales- so, as a result of reading this post- have a copy of KIss Kiss on it’s way and can’t wait to read! Thanks for these recommendations!

  2. I ended up with a short story collection that included more than Kiss Kiss- My Uncle Oswald and Switch Bitch, (series of other stories) also included- I read all of the Kiss kiss stories and LOVED them! Still reading the rest…what fun they are- definitely brings back some of my memories of the incredibly imaginative and somewhat dark themes that run through Mr. Dahl’s children’s books…Good Stuff!Thanks, Anna! Also just finished Possession, by A.S. Byatt- that was a good, twisted romantic mystery….I would recommend- though, by no means, a short story…

  3. What a great recommendation, kiss kiss, was! I got lucky- loving the ‘two extra” collections that came with my edition of Kiss Kiss. Now, I feel I must return the favor and suggest My Uncle Oswald and Switch Bitch, by Roald Dahl- though I must warn these are more salacious, but had me laughing from the edge of my seat! Having loved the first recommendation from you, I am inspired to try another… Hope to have Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri before Thanksgiving! Thanks again, Anna- Happy Thanksgiving!!

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