As promised, here is the second half of my Best of List. This time I'm focusing on some of my favorite short stories I read this year, and in compiling this list, I've discovered a new year's resolution. Keep better track of what stories I read!
I read so many great short stories this year, but didn't keep a log, and it's so frustrating because I know I'm forgetting some stories that deserve a mention. So that's going to change in 2018.
Without further ado, here are some of the stories that stuck with me.
"The Familiars" by Micaela Morrissette. Published in The New Black, Ed. by Richard Thomas. If I had to pick my favorite short story of the entire year it's probably this one. Morrissette does such a wonderful job capturing the magic of pretend play. It's one of those stories that makes me want to immediately sit down and start writing. Unfortunately, you can't find this story online, but if you head over to My Bookish Ways you can read a short excerpt. You'll be seeing other stories from this anthology. It's worth the buy. One of my favorite anthologies this year.
"The Great Silence" by Ted Chiang. Published over at E-Flux. This is a very short story told from a very unique point of view--a parrot. Don't let that fool you though. This is a serious story that'll punch you in the chest. Don't take my word for it. It was chosen for inclusion in 2016's Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and Best American Short Stories. You can read the story by clicking the link above.
"Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" by Alyssa Wong, published in Nightmare Magazine OCT. 2015 (Issue 37): QUEERS DESTROY HORROR! I love women who write horror. Nothing is more frustrating than telling someone you write fiction and they respond with, "Ah. Romance, I bet." But that's another post.
This is a delightfully creepy story and an excellent example of taking a well-used trope and making it new and original. She's another writer that makes me want to sit down and write. And no wonder. She's greatly talented and has the award noms to back it up. (John W. Campbell, Hugo, Bram Stoker, & Shirley Jackson Award finalist.) Read the story by clicking the link.
"Father, Son, Holy Rabbit" by Stephen Graham Jones. Published in The New Black, Ed. by Richard Thomas. A father and son caught out in the woods during a snowstorm, and a miraculous bunny that provides for them like manna from heaven. This story is disturbing, and heartbreaking, and so, so good. The relationship between father and son is a common theme in Mr. Jones' work, and it never fails to get me right where it hurts.
"The Little Men" by Megan Abbott. Published in Bibliomysteries. I've long been a fan of Megan Abbott's. She's another author who makes me want to sit down and write. This story was chosen for inclusion in 2016's Best American Mystery Stories.
Set in old Hollywood, this mystery's dream-like atmosphere will haunt you the rest of the day. The story is eerily surreal, and Abbott's prose is gorgeous. She captures such a strong sense of time and place that you'll feel ill-fitted to your world once the story is done.
"See You Later, Fry-O-Lator" by Monica Drake. Published in The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, Ed. by Richard Thomas. Drake does some really interesting things with symbols in this story, and you can't help but hurt for the protagonist. Her writing is so vivid you can see the yellow on the snow, hear the pop and sizzle of hot oil, and feel the cold on your skin.
"When I Make Love to the Bug Man" by Laura Benedict. Published in The Lineup and at Pank. "Are you there?" That depends, you want something subversive? This one is guaranteed to make your skin crawl. But don't let that keep you from reading. This story packs a punch. It'll leave you hurting in so many ways.
There were a lot of books published this year that I'm excited to read, but haven't had the time.
1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
3. The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
4. The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
5. The Power by Naomi Alderman
6. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Marie Machado
That's all for now. Go forth and read, and if you find something you enjoy, let a writer know. Have a short story I absolutely need to read? Comment below!