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December 4, 2012

Favorite Short Story Collections of 2012

These are the short fiction collections I have recommended most to blog readers, friends, and family throughout the year.

All links go to the authors' contributions to the Book Notes series if appropriate. I have reposted my original review below each book.

What was your favorite short story collection of 2012?


Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

In her debut short story collection Battleborn Claire Vaye Watkins marries character to landscape as well as anyone I have read in years. These stories set in the Nevada desert are gritty and brilliant, and foretell an auspicious literary future for their author.

Birds of a Lesser Paradise

Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman

Megan Mayhew Bergman's Birds of a Lesser Paradise is a stellar debut, a collection of stories notable for the empathetic portrayals of its characters (both human and animal) as well as the resiliency of the women portrayed.

The Odditorium

The Odditorium by Melissa Pritchard

Melissa Pritchard's new short fiction collection The Odditorium contains eight ambitious and fantastic stories that transcend genre while fascinating with their language and historical figures brought to life.

Safe as Houses

Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino

The Iowa Short Fiction Award has introduced me to many talented short story writers over the years, and one of the most impressive is Marie-Helene Bertino. Her debut collection Safe as Houses is brilliantly inventive and surreal, with each of its stories original and filled with dark humor.


Understories by Tim Horvath

The stories in Understories are clever and imaginative, and have earned Tim Horvath comparisons to Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Kevin Brockmeier. This stunning collection revels in wordplay and inventiveness, and is one of the finest short fiction collections I have read all year.

Brian Evenson

Windeye by Brian Evenson

With his latest short fiction collection Windeye, Brian Evenson once again proves himself a master at creating suspenseful, literary horror.

also at Largehearted Boy:

online "best of 2012" book lists

Largehearted Boy favorite short story collections of 2011
Largehearted Boy favorite short story collections of 2010
Largehearted Boy favorite short story collections of 2009
Largehearted Boy favorite short story collections of 2008

previous lists at Largehearted Boy
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks book reviews