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Late Summer Short Stories

Image credit: Fiction Chick

The long, hot summer might be coming to an end, but there is still enough time to squeeze in some late-summer reads before fall. For those binge readers, who prefer to devour a book in one sitting, we have selected ten short story collections that will offer a much-needed fix for your literary cravings.

Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link


Image credit: Random House Trade

Favourite quote: "The face, the whole body, the way you moved in it, just a guise. You put it on, you put it off again. What was underneath belonged to you, just you, as long as you kept it hidden."

If you have ever experienced the transitional state of consciousness when boundaries between fantasy and reality seemed blurred, you will be drawn to this book like no other! This eagerly anticipated collection of stories for adult readers comes from “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction”. From superheroes, evil twins and ghosts to Pyramids and hurricanes, these nine dark tales feel like a melting pot of your wildest dreams that are about to come true! A liberally sprinkled dose of humour and a dash of weirdness will keep you entertained throughout the entire book!

The Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway


Image credit: Scribner

Favourite quote: "In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken."

"Masculine and unintentionally subversive, this is the fourth volume in the Hemingway Library series. To this reviewer's mind, reading these short stories is just as rewarding as reading, say, 'The Sun Also Rises'. Writing one story that takes root in literary history is remarkable, but here is classic after classic, including 'Indian Camp', 'Big Two-Hearted River', 'The Killers', 'Hills Like White Elephants', 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place', and 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber'. Some of the stories, such as 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro', appear with alternate endings and notes showing additions and deletions. This material has long been available to scholars, but it’s presented here in a thoroughly accessible way by Seán Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson, who edited the volume and provides a helpful introduction." - H.H.

Moon-Face and Other Stories by Jack London (adventure/human psychology)


Image credit: CreateSpace Publisher

Favourite quote: "His business in life, whereby he lived, was to appear in a cage of performing leopards before vast audiences, and to thrill those audiences by certain exhibitions of nerve for which his employers rewarded him on a scale commensurate with the thrills he produced."

Immerse yourself in the thrilling adventure with Jack London’s fascinating collection of short stories. Partly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, these tales of rivalry and murder, explore the entire spectrum of human flaws. Jealousy, greed, violence and hatred all come together in this melting pot of deftly crafted stories enriched with full-bodied imagery. Despite the broad range of literary styles, ranging from horror and sci-fi to romance, this collection delivers a delicious treat for time-travelling escapists.

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan


Image credit: Allen&Unwin

Favourite quote: "I wished the light were as warm as it looked; I wished the music were filling my ears. I dreamed - hard, as if the vehemence of my dreaming would make it happen - that my shiny black horse would surge forward beneath me, and that I would be spun away from this place and this night, lifted and lowered instead past Lake Geneva, past Constantinople, past Windermere and Tokyo Palace and Gay Paree, past Geneva again, and the Lake, again and again around the whole picturesque gilt-framed world, for as long as ever I needed."

"Reading Yellowcake is like spending the afternoon with a beautiful sociopath... exactly the sort of character you're likely to meet in Margo Lanagan's book. The writing was evocative and spare, sometimes lovely, sometimes repellent. These are not for the faint of heart, or the average fairy-tale seeker. Happily-ever-after is definitely NOT on the menu. A word of caution for younger readers - there are themes of intimate violence toward women in more than one story, and her characters - whether she views them as heroes or villains - are unrepentant to a person. Everything seems to swirl around the lack of a moral centre. But if you'd like to be disturbed and unsettled, it's certainly worth a read!”- Catherine Edwards

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin


Image credit: Found on Youtube

Favourite quote: "What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being."

One of the most controversial writers of her time, Kate Chopin challenged the perception of gender roles in 19th century society. Hailed as an icon for feminist writing, the author offers a glimpse into the soul of a woman, swept up in the the world of desires and dreams. From The Story of an Hour to A Respectable Woman, the recurring symbol of a caged bird desperately fighting for its freedom heightens the readers' alertness to subtle nuances of the inner drama unfolding in the life of a female character.

The Troll Garden: Short Stories by Willa Cather


Image credit: CreateSpace Publisher

Favourite quote: "He knew it in all the deceitful loveliness of its early summer, in all the bitter barrenness of its autumn." "This collection of Willa Cather stories—her first book of fiction and the capstone of her early career—is as relevant today as at the time of its initial publication. As different and individually distinguished as the seven stories may be, they share as their subject the role and status of the artist in American society. The passions, ambitions, and pretensions, the cant and the pathos of the art world, artists, pseudo-artists, aficionados, and dilettantes—all are amply represented here in the midst of their foibles, grand affairs, and failures, drawn with great style and subtlety by a writer gathering her formidable powers. With the psychological precision of her early master Henry James and the practical wisdom and wit of her contemporary Edith Wharton, Cather shows us innocents seduced, sophisticates undone, marriages sundered, idealism compromised, and the rare soul uplifted by art." CreateSpace Publishers

Popular Tales from the Norse by Sir George Webbe Dasent


Image credit: Watchmaker Publishing

Favourite quote: "It is said that true tricksters can make trouble between two pans in a kitchen."

Translated and presented to modern readers by George Webbe Dasent, this collection of Scandinavian folk tales might awaken some of your childhood memories of Grimm’s fairy tales read at night. Set against the backdrop of a lush landscape, these unique stories interweave elements of Christianity and socio-economic issues into Norse mythology.

Seasoned with violence and garnished with humour, forty-two bizarre yet addictive tales are filled with giants, trolls, mermaids and other mythical creatures that have the power to lure you into their fantasy world.

The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov


Image credit: Sovereign Publisher

Favourite quote: "My father of blessed memory used to like to have his heels tickled by peasant women after dinner. I am just like him, with this difference, that after dinner I always like my tongue and my brains gently stimulated."

Published in 1920, The Schoolmistress collection of tales offers some generous slices of life in the land of the tsars. Layered with a diverse cast of morally ambiguous characters- ranging from cynical teachers and corrupt railway officers to promiscuous old men- the tales offer an incredible insight into the complexity of human nature with its vices and virtues. Often recognised as the father of the modern short story, Anton Chekhov revolutionised the genre, influencing many future storytellers of the 20th century.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro


Image credit: Penguin Publisher

Favourite quote: "There was a danger whenever I was on home ground. It was the danger of seeing my life through other eyes than my own." "Alice Munro's gifts are understated; she is so good at what she does that her work is nearly artless. Munro's stories are unsentimental, but at the same time they seem very personal. She revisits themes over and over in this collection -- marriage, illness and caretaking, a relative's visit -- but always has something new to say about them, and each story feels as true as memoir or memory. One of the best pieces in this collection was Queenie, a story unusually (for Munro) grounded in a particular time. Narrated by her step-sister, it's about Queenie's escape from home, and then her escape from that escape. I also liked the tender but funny title story, in which an idle prank engineered by a teenage girl alters the lives of two unhappy adults in a way she didn't intend, and The Floating Bridge, which depicts a very sick woman's reacquaintance with joy in the form of a careless, confident young man." - Kate Awesome

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


Image credit: Scholastic Classics

Favourite quote: "Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details."

A master storyteller, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, created the timeless collection of detective stories that has transcended literature and continues to enthral readers around the world. Each story revolves around Sherlock Holmes who uses the science of deduction and exceptional powers of observation to catch criminals. From A Scandal in Bohemia to The Boscombe Valley Mystery, each tale has a unique plot interweaving unexpected twists and turns, perfectly executed red herrings, end-of-chapter cliff hangers, grand climaxes and exhilarating conclusions.

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