Short story collections we loved in 2018

Our staff share some of their favourite short story collections from the past year.

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld might be one of my favourite short story collections ever. Clever and sharply funny, this near-perfect book is ideal for reading on a breezy summer afternoon.’

Nina Kenwood

‘Daniel Ortberg’s columns for the (sadly departed) Toast website were always a highlight for me, and his screamingly funny debut, Texts From Jane Eyre, never fails to give me the giggles. When I heard that he was expanding upon his popular Children’s Stories Made Horrific series I put my order in immediately. The Merry Spinster re-imagines classic fairytales through a decidedly subversive lens and the result is an unsettling, unexpectedly melancholic collection that includes a murderous Little Mermaid, a psychopathic Velveteen Rabbit, and a gender-fluid Cinderella. It’s perfect for fans of Carmen Maria Machado.’

Lian Hingee

‘Three story collections stood out for me this year. A.M. Homes is always great and arguably at her strongest in short form and her latest collection, Days of Awe, easily demonstrates this, with her usual sense of humour and focus on what it’s like to live now, in these times. Under the Sea is the first story collection from Mark Leidner and it’s funny, smart and bizarre. Who wouldn’t want to read a novella about ants? And The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the final work Denis Johnson finished just before his death in 2017. It’s a fitting goodbye.’

Chris Somerville

‘I actually first read Pulse Points by Jennifer Down in 2017, but as winner of this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, it warranted a re-read. It’s not very often that a book has the same impact on me the second time I read it, but Down’s writing is exceptional – it felt as fresh as it did the first time around, and my reaction to her stunning, nuanced portrayal of people’s innermost emotional lives was just as strong. Down is a marvellously talented author. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it forever: everyone should read her work!‘

Ellen Cregan

‘I’ve been slowly working my way through the Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, a stunning book with a top quality selection of stories. I love the way this book is arranged thematically and the foreword by Haruki Murakami provides a really interesting introduction to Japanese literature and the authors included.’

Kim Gruschow

'I loved two story collections this year that would make perfect holiday reading.

Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It is probably the book I recommended to the most people all year – and it’s definitely the one where the most people have later thanked me for the recommendation. In my review, I commented that she’s one of the few authors who can make me laugh out loud and this statement is especially true for this whip-smart, hugely entertaining collection.

Like many others, I also thoroughly enjoyed Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties which I’ve earlier described as a queer, feminist delight. Machado thrills and provokes in her stories, and I feel confident that the first story in the collection, 'The Husband Stitch’, is one that will stay with me for years to come.

I’ve also just begun reading Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, which is surely one of the most hyped fiction debuts of 2018.‘

Bronte Coates

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You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories

You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories

Curtis Sittenfeld

$19.99Buy now

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