Sometimes we love a shorter read because we are in a reading slump and reading a doorstopper novel just doesn’t sound appealing. This is when we would seek out anthologies and short story collections. We know they are not for everyone, as some people might need a longer story to feel connected to the characters. Either way, here are 5 anthology collections that we have loved. Stay tuned for some short story collection recommendations next time.
Number of stories: 15
Authors we have heard of: Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Caroline O’Donoghue, Emma Donoghue etc.
To celebrate Virago’s 50th anniversary as a feminist imprint, 15 acclaimed women authors gathered to write gripping original tales about women from all walks of life. The stories featured are of different genres and different time periods. For example, we have to chat about Virago by CN Lester, a story acknowledging gender identity in history and is loosely based on a real life story. So powerful and thought-provoking as CN Lester contemplates the role of medical science on this social issue. There are stories in this collection celebrating powerful women, which we love, but more importantly, there are stories acknowledging the issues that women face, such as menopause, aging and grief.
Out There Screaming edited by Jordan Peele
Number of stories: 19
Authors we have heard of: /
We have all heard of Jordan Peele, director of horror movies Get Out and Us, but we must admit that we haven’t heard of any of the 19 authors who contributed to this anthology. But this just means we discovered 19 new Black authors! These 19 authors have different interpretations of ‘horror’, and while some might argue it’s not the creepy Halloweeny horror that readers might have been looking for, we definitely enjoy reading everyone’s creativity as this is one of the main points of reading anthology collections. Some wrote about the horror of prejudice and racism, the horror of AI and modern technology, while some wrote fantasy horror and apocalyptic horror. Some hit and some miss, but again, not too unusual for an anthology.
When We Become Ours edited by Shannon Gibney and Nicole Chung
Number of stories: 15
Authors we have heard of: Mark Oshiro
This is such a special collection — When We Become Ours is an anthology acknowledging the experiences of adoptees. Adopted children don’t get enough representation in the media, especially as no two adoptees have the same experience. This collection is written by adoptee authors (#OwnVoices) and highlights transracial adoption — some stories focus more on the adoption experience while some focus on the transracial part. A must read to learn more about adoptee experiences.
Magic Has No Borders edited by Sona Charaipotra and Samira Ahmed
Number of stories: 14
Authors we have heard of: Sabaa Tahir, Sangu Mandanna, Nikita Gill
While we have always tried to highlight Asian authors here, we must admit that we don’t highlight enough South Asian authors. This anthology is perfect for those who want to learn more about South Asian folklores and myths. Each story is accompanied by a gorgeous illustration and the writing itself in gorgeous in most, if not all, of these stories. What makes this anthology even more magical is that there are author notes accompanying the story, which makes the nerdy side of us geeks out, as they provide the perfect starting point for us to Google all the myths as our heart desire.
Transmogrify edited by G. Haron Davis
Number of stories: 14
Authors we have heard of: Emery Lee, Sonora Reyes, Mason Deaver
Transmogrify has a great premise and we love shining light on LGBTQ+ authors. However, while the idea is great, unfortunately the trans + magic concept is perhaps too niche to translate well on the pages. Especially since the fantasy genre needs many pages to flesh out the magical system. Pages that an anthology collection unforunately does not provide. And we understand that trans experience is broad and it is difficult to capture all types of experiences in just one single anthology collection but we can only wish there are even more representations in this book that is supposed to bring representation to our shelf. Either way, we are grateful to have read this collection.