I’m still mulling over which short story collections to include on my reading list for the Short Story Reading Challenge. In the meantime though, with the idea that it might provide some new possibilities for other participants, I've compiled a list of my all-time favourites from the short story reading that I’ve done up to this point in my life. I’ve broken it down into three categories: all-time favourite short story collections, short story writers whose entire collected works I treasure, and individual stories that stand out for me as masterpieces of the form. For the collections and stories listed below that I’ve previously written about on my blog, I’ve linked back to the relevant blog post. Of course, I freely admit that this is a very subjective and partial list. I’m hoping that this year’s short story reading prompts me to add several items to each category!
My All-Time Favourite Short Story Collections
Caroline Adderson, Pleased to Meet You (Thomas Allen, 2006);
Roberto Bolaño, Last Evenings on Earth (New Directions, 2006);
Bonnie Burnard, Women of Influence (Coteau Books, 1988);
Jackie Kay, Why Don’t You Stop Talking? (Picador, 2002);
John Lent, Monet’s Garden (Thistledown Press, 1996);
Lorrie Moore, Birds of America (Knopf, 1998);
Alice Munro, Who Do You Think You Are? (published in the U.S. under the title The Beggar Maid) (Macmillan, 1978);
James Salter, Last Night (Knopf, 2005);
Ali Smith, The Whole Story and Other Stories (Random House, 2003);
Guy Vanderhaeghe, Man Descending (Macmillan, 1982);
Thomas Wharton, The Logogryph (Gaspereau Press, 2005); and,
Michael Winter, One Last Good Look (The Porcupine’s Quill, 1999).
Brilliant Short Story Writers Whose Collected Works I Treasure:
Raymond Carver, Anton Chekhov, John Cheever, Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Mansfield, and Jean Stafford.
“Falling” by Caroline Adderson (from Pleased to Meet You);
“The Lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhov (from Anton Chekhov’s Stories);
“The Dead” by James Joyce (from The Dubliners);
“In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” by Delmore Schwartz (from In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories);
“The Book Club” by Ali Smith (from The Whole Story and Other Stories); and,
“Helping” by Robert Stone (from Bear and His Daughter).