Monday, December 16, 2013

Best Short-Form Works of 2013

I've been hearing all year long that 2013 is the "Year of the Short Story".  I'm not sure how true that was for everyone else, but it was definitely true for me.  I've also included a few collections of essays in this list, since this seemed the most logical place for them.

Short Stories


George Saunders wasn't even on my radar at the beginning of the year, so I'm grateful that so many book blogs raved over Tenth of December.  Listening to Tenth of December is really what kicked off my passion this year for the short story and led me to several of his other collections, including In Persuasion Nation.


Vampires In the Lemon Grove is another that got rave reviews when it was released in February, including some comparisons to Saunders.  I've had the author's novel Swamplandia! on my shelf for ages, but I decided to start out with her short stories and I'm glad I did.  I'll still get around to the novel, but both of these collections were amazing and the perfect follow-ups/companions to Saunders' stories.


This is an example of a book where the cover just reached out and grabbed me.  I kept seeing on the FLP website and finally bit the bullet and checked it out.  It's a beautiful collection, featuring stories that center around mothers and daughters.  I have high hopes for the author and will definitely read her future works.


I had my doubts going into this collection of interconnected short stories.  Lots of authors are putting out memoirs or YA novels these days, and I didn't want to see Ringwald fail, especially in taking on something more literary.  To my delight, the book was a total success.  I loved the stories and the way they all seemed to fit together. 

Essays


If you enjoy David Sedaris, you need to give Rakoff a try.  He's got the same dry, sarcastic humor that makes Sedaris a favorite of mine.  And he's not afraid to say what he's thinking, even if it's not always nice.  He's an admitted pessimist and brings that dark humor to his essays.


And of course Sedaris himself earns a spot with his latest collection of essays.  These are an absolutely hilarious take on daily life and its trials and tribulations.


Probably my favorite essay collection of the year, this one is a compilation of Patchett's non-fiction writings for various periodicals from major literary publications to travel writings to articles about her pets.  I particularly enjoyed the wealth of knowledge she shares on writing.

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