Occasionally we here at Library Ladies get an email asking for some Reader’s Advisory. Sometimes it’s a general ‘what should I read next?’, and sometimes it’s a specific genre or theme that the reader is asking for. We do our best to match the reader to some books that they may like based on the question they give us.
I find I read some of the same authors over and over again, or really similar kinds of books. Are there short story collections that will introduce me to a variety of new authors? Bonus points for a wide range of settings/perspectives!Short Story Newcomer
Can’t wait to see what you find!
That’s one of the beauties of short story collections: you can find a lot of great new authors that you wouldn’t have found otherwise! Here are a few edited collections across the genres that may tickle your fancy…
Book: “A Phoenix First Must Burn” by Patrice Caldwell
This is a sci-fi/fantasy collection that focuses on telling the stories of Black women as explored through the lens of speculative fiction. There are folktales, post-apocalyptic stories, space adventures and more. What really makes this collection stand out is that, while many of the stories touch on tough topics such as betrayal, strength, and resistance, they all also ultimately focus on hope. It’s a great collection full of women from all walks of life and covering a wide scope of fantasy sub-genres. For those looking for a double dipper or fantasy short stories but all tales that focus on topics that are very relatable today, this is definitely a collection worth checking out.
Book: “Odd Partners: An Anthology” by Anne Perry
Mysteries seem like quite the challenge to write in short story format, but this collection features a long list of well-known mystery authors willing to take on the task! The collection focuses on the theme of, well, odd partners. So if you like stories that feature oddball team-ups, like the classic Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, than this is definitely the collection for you. Of course, many of the authors take this theme even further, applying it to the clashes between arch-enemies, as well as the more bizarre teams up, like those between humans and animals.
Book: “The Book of Dragons” by Jonathan Strahan
It’s pretty commonly accepted that dragons are by far the most popular fantasy creature in lore. So it is only fitting that they get a series of short stories all to themselves. Not only does this collection focus on dragons, but it comes with a star-studded list of authors including Garth Nix, Ann Leckie, Kate Elliot, Jane Yolen, and many more! The collection also includes beautiful black and white line art, and its stories are presented in a variety of formats, including poetry. There are also dragons and dragon legends from around the world, including China, Europe, Africa and North America. Definitely a must read if you’re a fan of these epic beasts!
Book: “Slasher Girls and Monster Boys” by April Genvieve Tulchoke
Calling all horror fans, if you are looking for a wide variety of haunts and horrors, “Slasher Girls and Monster Boys” is the book for you! This collection brings together a wide array of YA authors from many backgrounds and perspectives, and challenges them to write a short horror story taking influence from other horror works. So that means that you could be reading a whole new tale of terror, but it could be taking influence from such iconic horror lore as “Final Destination”, “Psycho”, “The Omen”, and many many more. With authors like Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, Marie Lu, and many more, you will no doubt be able to find something that will whet your terror pallet.
Book: “Flying Lessons and Other Stories” by Ellen Oh
We read this book in our book club a few years ago, but it still is a collection that stands out in our minds of being a well rounded group of stories. The We Need Diverse Books organization published this book of juvenile fiction that has characters and authors that are from many different diverse backgrounds, and are within stories of different genres. From fantasy to realistic fiction to poetry, “Flying Lessons and Other Stories” has a large swath of tales. With authors like Grace Lin, and Kwame Alexander, the stories can be funny, or sad, or suspenseful at times, but always relatable for readers to be sure.
Book: “Fresh Ink” by Lamar Giles
We finish out our list with another collection in conjunction with We Need Diverse Books, this time with a focus on a YA Own Voices authors. “Fresh Ink” is similar to “Flying Lessons” in its content, and has some overlap with the authors from that anthology, but this one has some more mature themes. Once again we have many different Own Voices authors dabbling in various genres. From Jason Reynolds to Nicola Yoon to Walter Dean Myers and more, “Fresh Ink” also happens to have a graphic novel form short story which makes it a little more unique when compared to other books on this list.
Do you have a favorite short story collection or anthology? Let us know in the comments!