Oldies and Goodies

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Oldies and Goodies

Short Story Collections by Men Writers

Get ready for some time travel and teleportation. As a follow-up to “Short and Spicy: Short Story Collections by Women Writers,” this list features short story collections by men. The first books in this list bring us back to early twentieth century America while the later suggestions immerse us in more modern times and international perspectives.
 
The Best Short Stories of O. Henry by O. Henry
Written a century ago, these 600 vignettes are characterized by vivid descriptions and those signature O. Henry twist endings. These simple and straightforward tales will have you chuckling at humanity’s foibles and marveling—simultaneously—at how far we’ve come and how little we’ve changed in 100 years. My top recommendations: “The Romance of a Busy Broker” and “Transients in Arcadia.”
 
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway
Published in 1987, this volume contains seventy short stories written throughout Hemingway’s lifetime, many of them previously unavailable. The stories present Hemingway’s familiar themes of war, hunting, class and maleness in stark and precise terms. I enjoyed revisiting these works through the lens of determining which ones held up over time and which remained in the time they were written. My top recommendations: “After the Storm” and “A Clean, Well-lighted Place.”
 
Collected Stories by Gabriel García Márquez
Published in 1984 and translated from the Spanish, this collection presents twenty-six beloved short stories by 1982 Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Whether you call it magical realism or surrealism, these stories render the very real themes of family, faith, hardship and mortality in dazzling and captivating strokes. My top recommendation: “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings.”
 
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
Published in 2016, this science fiction collection contains fifteen of Liu's more than seventy published short stories. Liu does his magic through powerful metaphors and imagery—such as origami creatures roaring and pouncing around the room—to effectively transplant humanity’s deepest sorrows and emotions from his characters to us. The title story, “The Paper Menagerie,” won the Nebula, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy Award, as well as my top recommendation.
 
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Published in 2017 and chosen as the 2018 DC Reads book, this collection of short stories spans decades and examines the continuing impact of the Vietnam War on its refugees in America. The protagonists present different perspectives: among them of those that made the harrowing boat journey out of Vietnam, of a young man grappling with his sexuality, and of an American Vietnam veteran struggling to relate to his Vietnamese wife and 1st generation American daughter. These works touch on questions of home, identity, an humanity under extraordinary circumstances. My top recommendation: “The Americans.”