Short Stories: Adult Core Collection

A short story can be read in one sitting, but can have the power to stay with you the rest of your life. Check out this Core Collection that contains short prose pieces that are both episodic or anecdotal in a variety of genres and styles.

Moore, Lorrie and Heidi Pitlor (editors)

Collects forty short stories published between 1915 and 2015, from writers that include Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, and Alice Munro that exemplify their era and stand the test of time.

Updike, John (editor)

Now THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY brings together the best of the best - fifty-five extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed accomplishments in this quintessentially American literary genre. Here are the stories that have endured the test of time: masterworks by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Saroyan, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Cynthia Ozick, and scores of others. These are the writers who have shaped and defined the landscape of the American short story, who have unflinchingly explored all aspects of the human condition, and whose works will continue to speak to us as we enter the next century. 

VanderMeer, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (editors)

What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, you'll find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the New Wave, and more. Learn about the secret history of science fiction, from titans of literature who also wrote SF to less well-known authors from more than twenty-five countries, some never before translated into English. In The Big Book of Science Fiction, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Immerse yourself in the genre that predicted electric cars, space tourism, and smartphones. Sit back, buckle up, and dial in the coordinates, as this stellar anthology has got worlds within worlds.

VanderMeer, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (editors)

From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird, and its practitioners include some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

Achebe, Chinua

Twelve stories by the internationally renowned novelist which recreate with energy and authenticity the major social and political issues that confront contemporary Africans on a daily basis.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

A collection of twelve stories includes the tale of a medical student in hiding with a poor Muslim woman, and a woman who discovers a devastating secret about her brother's death.

Akpan, Uwem

This singular collection of five stories takes the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa.

Atwood, Margaret

In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle - and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

Baldwin, James

By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying--and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators--Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers.

Berlin, Lucia

A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday--uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin's stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form.

Blasim, Hassan

An explosive new voice in fiction emerges from Iraq in this blistering debut by "perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive" (The Guardian) The first major literary work about the Iraq War from an Iraqi perspective, The Corpse Exhibition shows us the war as we have never seen it before. Here is a world not only of soldiers and assassins, hostages and car bombers, refugees and terrorists, but also of madmen and prophets, angels and djinni, sorcerers and spirits. Blending shocking realism with flights of fantasy, Hassan Blasim offers us a pageant of horrors, as haunting as the photos of Abu Ghraib and as difficult to look away from, but shot through with a gallows humor that yields an unflinching comedy of the macabre. Gripping and hallucinatory, this is a new kind of storytelling forged in the crucible of war.

Borges, Jorge Luis

This edition at last brings together all of Borges' magical stories, and all of them newly rendered into English in a superb translation by Andrew Hurley. Collected Fictions is the perfect one-volume compendium for all those who have long loved Borges, and the perfect introduction to the master's work for all those who have yet to discover him.

Bradbury, Ray

Classic Bradbury, this collection of tales offers images that are as keen as a tattooist's needle and as colorful as the inks that stain the body. Featuring a new Introduction, "The Illustrated Man" presents 18 startling visions of humankind's destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin.

Butler, Octavia E.

Bloodchild and Other Stories is renowned author Octavia E. Butler's only collection of shorter work and features the Hugo and Nebula award-winning stories "Bloodchild" and "Speech Sounds." These works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. Butler proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature's strongest voices.

Calvino, Italo

So begins Italo Calvino's compilation of fragmentary urban images. As Marco tells the khan about Armilla, which "has nothing that makes it seem a city, except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be," the spider-web city of Octavia, and other marvelous burgs, it may be that he is creating them all out of his imagination, or perhaps he is recreating fine details of his native Venice over and over again, or perhaps he is simply recounting some of the myriad possible forms a city might take

Chiang, Ted

Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder.

Cisneros, Sandra

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous–it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Dahl, Roald

Containing all the stories from Roald Dahl's world-famous books – Over to You, Someone Like you, Kiss Kiss and Switch Bitch – plus eight further tales of the unexpected, this is the definitive collection by one of the great masters of the short story. Macabre, unsettling and deliciously enjoyable, these stories make the perfect bedtime read – but be warned, once you've started reading you won't be able to stop . .

Díaz, Junot

Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

Doyle, Arthur Conan

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand magazine, in which they were first published, and won immense popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including 'The Red-Headed League', 'The Blue Carbuncle', and 'The Speckled Band'. Although Holmes gained a reputation for infallibility, Conan Doyle showed his own realism and feminism by having the great detective defeated by Irene Adler - the woman - in the very first story, 'A Scandal in Bohemia'.

Erdrich, Louise

A stunning collection of short stories selected by the author herself from over three decades of work. A veritable masterclass in the art of short fiction, The Red Convertible features 31 previously published stories and 5 never-before-published pieces. Presented in one collection for the first time, the stories of The Red Convertible cement Louise Erdich’s position in the pantheon of consummate, innovative writers of the American short story alongside such luminaries as Flannery O’Connor and Charles Baxter. 

Fajardo-Anstine, Kali

Kali Fajardo-Anstine's magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

Gaiman, Neil

This third collection of short fiction by Gaiman includes previously published pieces of short fiction -- stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013 -- as well "Black Dog," a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods.

Gay, Roxane

A collection of stories of ... hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

Presents fiction and non-fiction selections from the twentieth-century American feminist and sociologist, displaying keen analysis of economic and women's issues.

Groff, Lauren

The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive.

Hill, Joe

A compilation of short fiction includes the tales of Imogene, the legendary ghost of the Rosebud theater, and Francis, an unhappy, hopeless human turned giant locust seeking revenge on his Nevada hometown.

Jackson, Shirley

The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. "Power and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery:" with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson's remarkable range--from the hilarious to the truly horrible--and power as a storyteller.

Johnson, Adam, 1967-

"In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door. "Nirvana," portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In "Hurricanes Anonymous" a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind"-- Provided by publisher.

Klay, Phil.

"Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains-of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation"-- Provided by publisher.

Lahiri, Jhumpa.

"Traveling from India to New England and back again, the stories in this debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, they also speak with universal eloquence to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story - Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and the baffling New World."--BOOK JACKET.

Liu, Ken, 1976-

Presents the author's selection of his best short stories, as well as a new piece, in a collection that includes "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary," "Mono No Aware" and "The Waves."

Machado, Carmen Maria, author.

Contains short stories about the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

Munro, Alice, 1931-

This collection of stories illuminates moments that shape a life, from a dream or a sexual act to simple twists of fate that turn a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Set in the countryside and towns of Lake Huron, these stories about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.

Murakami, Haruki, 1949- author.

From the surreal to the mundane, an anthology of short fiction captures a full range of human experience, emotion, and relationship in works that chronicle a chance reunion in Italy, a holiday in Hawaii, and a romantic exile in Greece.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh, 1971- author.
Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938-

A collection of thirteen spellbinding stories that maps the eerie darkness within us all.

O'Connor, Flannery.
Ogawa, Yōko, 1962-
Oyeyemi, Helen, author.

The stories collected here are linked by more than the exquisitely winding prose of their creator: Helen Oyeyemi's ensemble cast of characters slip from the pages of their own stories only to surface in another. The reader is invited into a world of lost libraries and locked gardens, of marshlands where the drowned dead live and a city where all the clocks have stopped; students hone their skills at puppet school, the Homely Wench Society commits a guerrilla book-swap, and lovers exchange books and roses on St Jordi's Day. It is a collection of towering imagination, marked by baroque beauty and a deep sensuousness.

Proulx, Annie.

"Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and wrong kinds of love. In "The Mud Below," a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. In "The Half-Skinned Steer," an elderly fool drives west to the ranch he grew up on for his brother's funeral, and dies a mile from home. In "Brokeback Mountain," the difficult affair between two cowboys survives everything but the world's violent intolerance."--BOOK JACKET. "These are stories of desperation, hard times, and unlikely elation, set in a landscape both brutal and magnificent. Enlivened by folk tales, flights of fancy, and details of ranch and rural work, they juxtapose Wyoming's traditional character and attitudes - confrontation of tough problems, prejudice, persistence in the face of difficulty - with the more benign values of the new west."--BOOK JACKET.

Russell, Karen, 1981-

In these ten stories, Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolflike girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells.

Strout, Elizabeth.

At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her.

Vonnegut, Kurt.

Tender stories of love, incisive essays on human greed and misery, and imaginative tales of futuristic happenings reveal Vonnegut's versatility and vision.

Wallace, David Foster.

"David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets hear. In this new collection, the author extends his range and craft in twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions."--BOOK JACKET. "These stories venture inside minds and landscapes that are at once recognizable and utterly strange: a boy paralyzed by fear atop a high diving board ("Forever Overhead"), a poet lounging contented beside his pool ("Death Is Not the End"), a young couple experiencing sexual uncertainties ("Adult World"), a depressed woman soliciting comfort from her threadbare support network ("The Depressed Person," chosen for Prize Stories 1999: The O. Henry Awards). The series of stories from which the book takes its title is a tour de force sequence of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women. These portraits of men at their most self-justifying, loquacious, and benighted explore poignantly and hilariously the agonies of sexual connection."--BOOK JACKET.

Williams, Joy, 1944- author.

"This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. It's the Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass--a ... collection of seemingly random life moments. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, O. J. Simpson to a pack of wolves"--Amazon.com.

Zane, author.

New York Times bestselling author Zane presents a tantalizing short story collection, Zane's Sex Chronicles, which is now the basis of the Cinemax series Zane's Sex Chronicles -- the first urban erotic series on television. The series calls for a sexual revolution and brings forth our favorite characters -- Patience James aka Zane, Maricruz, Lyric, Eboni, and Ana Marie -- as a force to be reckoned with as they balance common day-to-day issues, a slew of hot sex, and the fine men in the big city. Learn more about their backgrounds in this special tie-in edition. Like the series, Zane's Sex Chronicles is about empowerment and liberation -- both in and out of the bedroom. Pleasurable from beginning to end, this anthology brings together fifteen hunger-inducing stories from the original bestselling editions of The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth and Gettin' Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II. Zane's Sex Chronicles weaves together a compilation of bold characters and provocative stories of passion and intoxicating eroticism to seduce both men and women.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.