Short Story Collections??
I admit, for years the short stories I read were the ones I was forced to analyze in school.
They were often very weird (drugs), very sad (closeted) or so metaphorical (posh) that I started to doubt my understanding of my mother tongue.
They weren’t my favorites, that’s what I’m trying to say.
It wasn’t until I picked up a short story collection by one of my favorite authors that I changed my mind.
When to read them.
Whenever you feel like it but short story collections are particularly great to relax between larger novels or help you out of a #readingslump.
They are the kind of bougie book that looks great on your shelf and on Instagram while giving your other books an inferiority complex.
Regardless of that, here are some of my favorite short story collections 🙂
#ReadingSlump-busting Short Story Collections
The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future by Veronica Roth
The End and Other Beginnings is not only one of my favorite short story collections but one of my favorite books.
Every story in this book is a perfect example of its genre: long enough to occupy a couple of hours each, detailed enough to immerse us completely and short enough to leave us wanting more.
Veronica Roth made sure to write women that carried weapons and women that wondered about which earrings to wear to a date.
We get to read about men that care for their families and their other halves and men that need to be protected by them.
And we get to read about worlds that have more in common with ours than what we would like and worlds we wish we lived in.
I loved every moment.
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
Remember what I told you about beautiful editions?
This is one of those short story collections that you would sell your firstborn to a witch to have.
“The Language of Thorns” is best appreciated by those that have a love for folklore.
In true Bardugo style, every story is dark and twisted, the characters often being animals, which only makes it creepier.
The gloominess of the story only makes the pastel illustrations the more delicate, giving the entire book an ethereal effect.
Although these stories are supposed to be Ravkan and Ketterdanian lore, they are interesting on its own and you don’t need any previous knowledge of the world.
Although the Darkling does appear, if I’m not mistaken.
The Fork, The Witch and the Worm: Tales from Alagaesia Vol. 1 by Christopher Paolini
I. HATE. THIS. TITLE. SO. MUCHHHHHH!!!!
(Yes, I believe that is an appropriate reaction to a book title. Don’t judge. I know you have cried and raged at books as well.)
I’m sure this was a ploy by the publisher to remind the world that Paolini is still alive so when his “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars” comes out at the end of the year, we’ll remember why we like him, but guess what?
I didn’t find any of the tales in this short story collection particularly unforgettable but Eragon was one of the first fantasy books I ever read so it was like being among old friends.
After all these years I still think Saphira is perhaps the best dragon in fantasy and I was able to appreciate the world-building a lot more.
Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
Another edition so beautiful it should be criminal coupled with illustrations out of this world.
I DNFed the first book in the series long ago so I couldn’t be more surprised about being tempted to read this after flipping through its pages.
As in “The Language of Thornes”, these stories are supposed to be lore inside the Peculiar Children’s universe so it’s not necessary for you to have read the other books in the series.
Ransom Riggs has a very particular brand of delightfully weird to which no one else can compare.
The man is very weird, is what I’m trying to say but that only makes his stories better.
Emphasis on the weird though. BIG emphasis.
All Out: The No Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Through the Ages Edited by Saundra Mitchell
Queer fairytales? Yes, please!
“All Out” truly means “all”.
This are about more than the white gay boy, even though he also features.
Some of these stories are retellings, some are original but they’re all diverse in every sense of the word from geography, to timeline to featuring several sexual orientations and gender identities.
If you like fairy tales and queer stories, a lot of them dealing with gender identity and sexual orientation, you should definitely consider this.
“Out Now: Queer We Go Again” (I’m here for the title as well:) ) is coming out at the end of May if you are interested in more
The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J. K. Rowling
Although I’m currently on a J. K. Rowling cleanse (if you are an active Potterhead, you know why) I couldn’t glance over this book.
(Take a note J. K. It’s what you are supposed to do over LGBTQ rights.)
Seeing as Harry Potter is the golden egg goose, I feel confident predicting we will still see some of this on the big screen eventually but ignoring this book would be criminal.
The edition is adorable and the illustrations inside were drawn by J. K. Rowling herself and complement the book’s vibe perfectly.
The stories inside are absolutely endearing and perfect for every age.
For die hard-fans, this is supposed to be the copy Albus Dumbledore left in his will to Hermione and is annottated by Albus’s hand.
The Assassins’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
I urgently need to revisit my Throne of Glass series but I remember when I first read it, I liked this short story collection better than the actual novels.
I still maintain that opinion.
The short stories inside are set right before the first book and introduce us to some characters that are already dead by the time the story actually starts and others that are introduced only towards the last books.
This is not a necessary read for the rest of the series, but it’s definitely worth it.
The Celaena in this book is even more arrogant (hard to believe I know, but she wears it well) and is still training.
TAB ends right before “Throne of Glass” and details what threw Celaena into Endovier. Although you could reasonably hold off on reading it until after Heir of Fire.
That all depends on in which order you’d prefer to read the Throne of Glass series.
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Cassandra Jean
You mean I get to know what my favorite bisexual wizard has been doing in the last few centuries? Oh, you didn’t need to…
But it would be really sad if this was just a standalone right? I mean, Magnus has been immortal for centuries. There have to be more stories…
This was, of course, a mixed bag of emotions – sometimes incredibly sad, sometimes incredibly funny, always heartwarming – it’s Magnus Bane we are talking about.
(And if you say anything bad about him, I hope all your favorite jeans become magically acid washed for the rest of your life.)
Bane is both used as comedic relief, and to show readers the cost of being different being that because of his race, his species, or his sexual orientation.
Cassandra Clare is a genius when it comes to educating people without them knowing.
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
Set between City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight, TftSA focuses on the years Simon resides in the Academy and trains to become a Shadowhunter.
(Reads like and exercise montage from a movie. One where the lead is very bad at exercise.)
TftSA can be seen as a epilogue to the book before and a prologue to “The Dark Artifices” with several characters from both series making appearances.
If you are looking for Jewish main characters, you cannot go wrong with Simon Lewis.
It is also a book where politics and the mentalities inside the Shadowhunters and Downworlders universe change the most, so the previous books are necessary reads.
Odds are it’s gonna break your heart but at least you can still read about most of these characters in the following series.
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, Robin Wasserman
Have you caught up to how this works yet?
It’s a Cassandra Clare short story collection folks. It’s gonna break your heart. It’s a rule.
Another rule? You are gonna love Jem Carstairs.
GotSM can be read as an epilogue for “The Dark Artifes” Trilogy and a prologue to “The Last Hours” trilogy that is set in Edwardian England so expect a lot of stories set in the 1900s.
Did I mention the heartbreak? I’ll warn you once again. It will break your heart.
Was I able to bring you to the dark side? What do you thing about my selection?
Tell me in the comments 🙂