Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece ‘Rashomon’ is an amalgamation of two stories from this outstanding collection, which ranges from nightmarish tales set in feudal Japan, to semi-autobiographical meditations on disillusionment.
by Kazuo Ishiguro
A moving collection of short stories from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Remains of the Day. Some are heart-breaking, others are filled with moments of great comedy, but all stay true to the human condition, and how we all strive for a better life.
by Tom Hanks
Uncommon type is a collection of seventeen short stories – in turns inventive, wise and, just like its author, hilariously funny. A hectic sexual affair between two best friends is a particular standout in a genuinely excellent book.
The Lottery and Other Stories
by Shirley Jackson
Master of the macabre, Shirley Jackson’s stories are all imbued with a sense of dread, uncertainty and anticipation. The title story famously received a torrent of backlash on its publication, shocking the public with its startling culmination.
Her Body & Other Parties
by Carmen Maria Machado
Formally experimental and at times fiercely brutal, this collection borrows tropes from sci-fi, horror and fairy tale and twists them into erotic and disturbing stories that prove incredibly difficult to forget. A fearless new voice.
Men Without Women
Seven tales of men who in their own way find themselves alone. This is a really enjoyable and pitch perfect collection of short stories imbued with Murakami’s wise ruminations on youth, age and the failings of both.
Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives
by David Eagleman
Neuroscientist and all-round genius David Eagleman presents forty scenarios as to what might await us after death. At times humorous, at times downbeat, these very short stories are hugely imaginative and truly compelling.
The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story
edited by Philip Hensher
The great irony with this one, of course, is that for a book boasting some masterful acts of compression (thirty to be precise), the title seems to go on for weeks. But once you’ve made it past the front cover, you’ll find some truly wonderful works from iconic British authors, including: Zadie Smith, Martin Amis, Hilary Mantel, Will Self, and Irvine Welsh.
The Collected Stories
by Grace Paley
While the Penguin book finds great novelists turning their hand to writing short stories, with Paley you are in the hands of a true master. Widely considered to be one of the greatest exponents of the craft, she combines humour, pathos, sadness, and a microscopic eye to detail to create an invigorating and fascinating world – namely New York’s Lower East Side in the latter half of the 20th Century.
The Last Girlfriend on Earth
by Simon Rich
Simon Rich is famous across the Pond for being one of the youngest ever writers (possibly the actual youngest) on Saturday Night Live. This collection of rib-ticklers mixes the sublime with the ridiculous, and often the very silly. A word of warning would be to read this away from the silent carriage. Point being, you will LOL (laugh out loud). Don’t make people wonder if you’re insane.