These masterful historical and contemporary American short story collections should be added to your to-be-read list.
1. Love of Life and Other Stories by Jack London
“John Griffith ‘Jac’ London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone. Some of his most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories “To Build a Fire”, “An Odyssey of the North”, and “Love of Life”. He also wrote of the South Pacific in such stories as “The Pearls of Parlay” and “The Heathen” and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf. London was a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers and wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel.”
2. Babylon Revisited and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Written between 1920 and 1937, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was at the height of his creative powers, these ten lyric tales represent some of the author’s finest fiction. In them, Fitzgerald creates vivid, timeless characters — a dissatisfied southern belle seeking adventure in the north; the tragic hero of the title story who lost more than money in the stock market; giddy and dissipated young men and women of the interwar period. From the lazy town of Tarleton, Georgia, to the glittering cosmopolitan centers of New York and Paris, Fitzgerald brings the society of the “Lost Generation” to life in these masterfully crafted gems, showcasing the many gifts of one of our most popular writers.”
3. Pretty Chrysanthemum and Other Stories by Nancy Lane
“These sixteen stories remind readers how family is at the core of human experience and how relationships, especially those between parent and child, rely on the power of love to overcome challenges. Throughout these historical and contemporary tales, the pull of family, the power of love, and unshakeable human decency prevail.”
4. Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
“Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.”
5. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor
“These classic stories—including ‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own,’ ‘Good Country People,’ ‘The Displaced Person,’ and seven other acclaimed tales—are sure to inspire a new generation of Flannery O’Connor lovers, and remind existing readers why she remains a master of the short story.”
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