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Short Story Collections (Also: We Love You, Alice Munro)

We're certainly not short on love for short stories over here at So we were super excited when we found out that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature last week. Munro --- who writes mainly about female protagonists and small-town dramas --- is a gracious and deserving winner, and her triumph inspired us to put together a bookshelf of some of our favorite short story collections. It was tough whittling this one down to just 20 books (and apologies to all you Carver-enthusiasts out there --- the king of modern minimalism was voted out by a margin as narrow as a printout of "Cathedral"), but we finally landed on a selection we think meets the Munro standard of being "astonishing." The best short stories are surprising, poignant and pack a mean punch --- and, maybe best of all, can be read in the small, quiet spaces between our daily concerns. So take a coffee break and enjoy some of these masterpieces of short fiction.