Short And Sweet: TPM’s Short Story And Essay Collections Recommendations | Talking Points Memo

As a lifelong novel consumer who enjoys throwing myself into other worlds for hours on end, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I don’t read too many short stories.

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Anything, but a collection called ‘Labyrinths’ is a good start.

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Salman Rushdie has several essay collections. Here’s his latest …

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Knockemstiff is an excellent book. I haven’t read They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (yet), but I’m currently reading Hanif Abdurraqib’s latest A Little Devil in America and it is great.


So many short story collections to mention, but I’ll go with “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” by Nathan Englander. As far as essay collections are concerned, I recommend pretty much everything by Philip Lopate.

And now I’ll probably think of a half-dozen more …


I discovered Chekhov’s short stories when I was 13. I’m 79 now and so grateful the good doctor got me off on the right foot.


I’ve found, even as an adult, Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino to be very rewarding. Many of the folk tales are for children, of course, but the lessons implied within those tales still resonate strongly for the adult reader. If you have children, this collection is a must read! Calvino is a master storyteller, and his written works read so much like he is simply talking to you. Very worthwhile reading!

One older essay collection worth considering:
The Night Country by Loren Eiseley. Really, anything by Eiseley.
A newer collection:
Explorations of a Mind Traveling Sociologist by Renee Fox. Fox, who essentially founded medical sociology, wrote this at age 91, shortly before she passed. A stellar mind melded to a generous heart.

So did I, in high school I think, and I’ll second that pick. Great stuff. For essays it occurs to me that long ago I picked up Nora Ephron’s “Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media” and loved it. If you only know her from the romantic comedies prepare to meet her acid-tongued, brilliantly incisive evil twin sister. It’s from 1978 and today’s media are obviously very different but if you don’t mind that I’m sure it’s still a good read.

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So glad to see TPM partnering with Bookshop rather than that …umm… other business.

It doesn’t, disco… Really.

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Thank you! I’ll be reading this a few times.

Cool. Don’t let the Reading Police catch you. Like listening to the BBC in occupied France during WW2.