Long Days, Short Stories

These days have begun to feel elastic: even the most banal social practice upended, oceans of time in front of us that feel by and large destined to be filled by anxiety. Oh, the new normal. The importance of maintaining routine are stressed upon us, the vague semblance of normality holding us together with tape and string. I myself never thought I could abide shoes in the house but am now cheered by the simple act of lacing them each morning, even if only to tread the same exact square footage as yesterday.

Reading is still a kick, though, now that I’ve got the hang of it again. I spent days digging around my TBR pile without catching even a glimpse of gold. I’m too scattered, too jittery, from the news cycle to take on anything new - I just can’t process any new information that does not directly correlate to the steady earthquake of the headlines.

Nostalgia, however, has proven to be another story entirely and I’ve given myself over entirely to rereading favorite short stories. A James Salter here, a Leslie Marmon Silko folktale there. Whatever feels right in my hands. Or whatever takes my mind off my hands. The tried, true, foolproof comfort they offer. Kind of like a hug if you remember those.

 

 

 

 

These are my old faithfuls but be sure to poke around our staff picks page - it is generously spiced with even more robustly endorsed story collections. The short form can be enormously soothing when the days are long and abbreviated attention spans rule every hour. Plus, all orders of $25 or more ship for free (via Media Mail), so you may as get two or three, yeah?

Wildly prolific writer with nary a dud in the bunch, I personally find Millet most exciting in short form. Mordant and moving in equal measure, Fight No More is a fantastically absorbing collection.


Compared to Flannery O’Connor and widely praised by the likes of Zadie Smith and John Updike, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is over fifteen years old but feels just as fresh today as when it was first published. This has been a staple on my shelf for years and never fails to satisfy me. A true modern classic


This most recent collection by Eisenberg is perfect for for fans of The New Yorker. Always timely, always comforting, she is a national treasure.


Unrivaled in her ability to pack maximum human truths and absurdity in a minimal page count, no one can do zany restraint like Robison. She is hands-down my favorite writer and I’m not embarrassed to say her work is my one true love. These stories never feel like anything short of a divine gift.


Interconnected stories swiftly plotted and peopled with unforgettable characters, if you haven’t read Yellow, your quarantine is looking up. Don Lee is one of our greatest contemporary writers with a finger on the American pulse like few others.


The master. With its charm and subtle menace, “The Children’s Party” will haunt me the rest of my life. This collection is full of stories to read aloud if you’re into that kind of thing.