Best Short Stories

The Second Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards got off to a great start this week – thank you to all who shared their picks for best translated work!

Today I’m focusing on short story collections. I love short stories. It wasn’t until university that I really began to appreciate them – before that my short story exposure was primarily the smattering we read in high school English class. But while studying Creative Writing, we were encouraged to both read and write short stories and I saw them as full of possibility. Now I appreciate them also for the ease in which I can dip in and out of a book.

Honourable Mention:

Look How Happy I’m Making You by Polly Rosenwaike

A collection of short stories, each focusing on or featuring motherhood in some way. Sure, I’m the perfect target audience of this book but I also appreciate its variety of stories and perspectives and enjoyed Rosenwaike’s style.

Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji

A collection of linked short stories. These tackle poverty, immigration, but mostly they’re about being young and female and I appreciated their gritty honesty.

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

I almost hesitate to include this book. Not because it isn’t good but because this collection of linked stories read more like a novel to me. I’ll leave it simply because it was very good and I loved the main character of Kara.

Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp

This book is delightfully weird. The characters are delightful and weird and some of the plots are just weird. But it works and it charms the reader. There’s no one else writing quite like Richard Van Camp is writing right now.

And the Winner is….

Late Breaking by K.D. Miller

While this wasn’t exactly a collection of linked stories, they were definitely connected and they ran in and out of each other in ways that I really enjoyed following. The world Miller created in each of her stories and in the book as a whole was realistic yet unique. I also really appreciated that she consistently chose characters and points of view that were fresh and different than what I’ve read so often before.

Do you enjoy short stories? What was the best short story collection you read this year?

Next category: Best Book by a Canadian (coming Monday)

11 thoughts on “Best Short Stories”

  1. you should get the short story advent calendar! They go on sale in the new year (for obvious reasons) so you can order it online for cheap. I’m loving the stories included so far, such a great variety.

    Also-have you ever seen Richard Van Camp speak in public? He’s absolutely hilarious.

    1. That’s a good idea! I don’t know if I could get it in the new year and then wait most of the year though!

      Yes! Richard Van Camp was at our writers festival this summer here. He’s great!

  2. I read lots of genre short stories but don’t get along so well with ‘proper’ ones somehow. If I enjoy one I always end up wishing the author had turned it into a novel…

    1. I find a lot of modern short stories are much more open-ended than older stories especially the genre type ones, and not everyone likes that. What I liked about several of these collections is that they showed one or more characters in multiple stories and so it felt closer to a novel in that you got to see what happened next.

  3. I haven’t heard of Late Breaking but I’ll look it up now! I think my favorite short story collection I’ve read this year is Young Skins by Colin Barrett, but Through the Woods by Emily Carroll was great! I also love short story but like you it took me a while to grow to appreciate them.

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