A Guide to Being Born: Stories


Ramona Ausubel - 2013
    Major literary talent Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, coming Summer 2016, combines the otherworldly wisdom of her much-loved debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, with the precision of the short-story form. A Guide toBeing Born is organized around the stages of life—love, conception, gestation, birth—and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life. In each of these eleven stories Ausubel’s stunning imagination and humor are moving, entertaining, and provocative, leading readers to see the familiar world in a new way.In “Atria” a pregnant teenager believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in “Catch and Release” a girl discovers the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house; and in “Tributaries” people grow a new arm each time they fall in love. Funny, surprising, and delightfully strange—all the stories have a strong emotional core; Ausubel’s primary concern is always love, in all its manifestations.

Refund


Karen E. Bender - 2015
    Who has it. Who doesn’t. How you get it. How you don’t.In Refund, Bender creates an award-winning collection of stories that deeply explore the ways in which money and the estimation of value affect the lives of her characters. The stories in Refund reflect our contemporary world—swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents — who try to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth?In “Theft,” an eighty-year-old swindler, accustomed to tricking people for their money, boards a cruise ship to see if she can find something of true value—a human connection. In “Anything for Money,” the creator of a reality show is thrown into the real world when his estranged granddaughter reenters his life in need of a new heart; and in the title story, young artist parents in downtown Manhattan escape the attack on 9/11 only to face a battle over their subletted apartment with a stranger who might have lost more than only her deposit.Set in contemporary America, these stories herald a work of singular literary merit by an important writer at the height of her power.

How We Are Hungry


Dave Eggers - 2005
    "Another""What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust""The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water""On Wanting to Have Three Walls Up Before She Gets Home""Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance""She Waits, Seething, Blooming""Quiet""Your Mother and I""Naveed""Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will Not Die Alone""About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her""Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly""After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned"From the Trade Paperback edition.

Inside Madeleine


Paula Bomer - 2013
    Bomer takes us from hospitals, halfway houses, and alleyways, to boarding schools and Park Avenue penthouses, exploring the complex relationships girls have with their bodies, with other girls, and with boys. The title novella tracks the ins and outs of an outsider’s life: her childhood obesity and kinky sex life, her toxic relationships, whether familial or erotic, and her various disappearing acts, of body and mind.

Bad Kansas: Stories


Becky Mandelbaum - 2017
    In this darkly humorous collection, Kansas becomes a state of mind as Mandelbaum's characters struggle to define their relationship to home and what it means to stay or leave, to hold on or let go.When a desperately lonely woman finds herself on a bad date with a rugged man, she must decide whether to sacrifice the life of a bear in order to keep the man's affection. After having a nightmare about a mallard, a young man wakes to discover he's choking the woman he loves. When his mother starts dating a slimy pizza parlor owner, a young boy must carefully consider his loyalties. The appealing and peculiar characters in Bad Kansas are determined to get what they want, be it love or sex or power, in a world determined to overlook them.

Hits and Misses


Simon Rich - 2018
    Simon Rich is "one of the funniest writers in America" (Daily Beast) -- a humorist who draws comparisons to Douglas Adams (New York Times Book Review), James Thurber, and P.G. Wodehouse (The Guardian). With Hits and Misses, he's back with a hilarious new collection of stories about dreaming big and falling flat, about ordinary people desperate for stardom and the stars who are bored by having it all. Inspired by Rich's real experiences in Hollywood, Hits and Misses chronicles all the absurdity of fame and success alongside the heartbreaking humanity of failure. From a bitter tell-all by the horse Paul Revere rode to greatness to a gushing magazine profile of everyone's favorite World War II dictator, these stories roam across time and space to skewer our obsession with making it big -- from the days of ancient Babylon to the age of TMZ.

Dog Run Moon


Callan Wink - 2016
      A construction worker on the run from the shady local businessman whose dog he has stolen; a Custer’s Last Stand reenactor engaged in a long-running affair with the Native American woman who slays him on the battlefield every year; a middle-aged high school janitor caught in a scary dispute over land and cattle with her former stepson: Callan Wink’s characters are often confronted with predicaments few of us can imagine. But thanks to the humor and remarkable empathy of this supremely gifted writer, the nine stories gathered in Dog Run Moon are universally transporting and resonant.   Set mostly in Montana and Wyoming, near the borders of Yellowstone National Park, this revelatory collection combines unforgettable insight into the fierce beauty of the West with a powerful understanding of human beings. Tender, frequently hilarious, and always electrifying, Dog Run Moon announces the arrival of a bold new talent writing deep in the American grain.

Bubblegum


Adam Levin - 2020
    Rather, a wholly different species of interactive technology--a "flesh-and-bone robot" called the Curio--has dominated both the market and the cultural imagination since the late 1980s. Belt Magnet, who as a boy in greater Chicago became one of the lucky first adopters of a Curio, is now writing his memoir, and through it we follow a singular man out of sync with the harsh realities of a world he feels alien to, but must find a way to live in. At age 38, still living at home with his widowed father, Belt insulates himself from the awful and terrifying world outside by spending most of his time with books, his beloved Curio, and the voices in his head, which he isn't entirely sure are in his head. After Belt's father goes on a fishing excursion, a simple trip to the bank escalates into an epic saga that eventually forces Belt to confront the world he fears, as well as his estranged childhood friend Jonboat, the celebrity astronaut and billionaire.      In Bubblegum, Adam Levin has crafted a profoundly hilarious, resonant and monumental narrative about heartbreak, longing, art and the search for belonging in an incompatible world. Bubblegum is a rare masterwork of provocative social- (and self-) awareness and intimate emotional power.

Homeland and Other Stories


Barbara Kingsolver - 1989
    A rich and emotionally resonant collection of twelve stories of hope, momentary joy, and powerful endurance.

The Best American Short Stories 2012


Tom PerrottaGeorge Saunders - 2012
    Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.The Best American Short Stories 2012 includesThe last speaker of the language / Carol Anshaw --Pilgrim life / Taylor Antrim --What we talk about when we talk about Anne Frank / Nathan Englander --The other place / Mary Gaitskill --North Country / Roxane Gay --Paramour / Jennifer Haigh --Navigators / Mike Meginnis --Miracle polish / Steven Millhauser --Axis / Alice Munro --Volcano / Lawrence Osborne --Diem Perdidi / Julie Otsuka --Honeydew / Edith Pearlman --Occupational hazard / Angela Pneuman --Beautiful monsters / Eric Puchner --Tenth of December / George Saunders --The sex lives of African girls / Taiye Selasi --Alive / Sharon Solwitz --M&M world / Kate Walbert --Anything helps / Jess Walter --What's important is feeling / Adam Wilson

How to Breathe Underwater


Julie Orringer - 2003
    In "When She is Old and I Am Famous" a young woman confronts the inscrutable power of her cousin's beauty. In "Note to Sixth-Grade Self" a band of popular girls exerts its social power over an awkward outcast. In "Isabel Fish" fourteen-year-old Maddy learns to scuba dive in order to mend her family after a terrible accident. Alive with the victories, humiliations, and tragedies of youth, How to Breathe Underwater illuminates this powerful territory with striking grace and intelligence.

Too Much Happiness


Alice Munro - 2009
    In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy’s disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky—a late-nineteenth-century Russian émigré and mathematician—on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician. With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.

Everything Inside


Edwidge Danticat - 2019
    From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love.Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart—a master at her best.

You Think It, I'll Say It


Curtis Sittenfeld - 2017
    A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

Zombie


Chuck Palahniuk - 2013
    Howes Ltd.