Tuesday, December 23, 2014

29 Highly Recommended Short Stories from my 2014 Reading

Top 29 Short Stories Read in 2014

Short Stories: A Celebration

This may seem an odd list to many as it just includes the best of my own reads this year. It’s not a list of the best stories published in 2014, although there are a number of stories from 2014 on this particular list. This year I read 118 stories so I thought that a list of 29 , around a quarter, might be more appropriate (realise it's all a bit OC).

I also had ‘Reeling for the Empire’ (a magnificent story) and ‘Vampires in the Lemon Grove’ in last year’s list as I read Karen Russell’s  collection over this year and last. Furthermore, The New Veterans by Karen Russell will be in this year's recommended novella list along with Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brian Sanderson and Halfhead Bay by Nam Le. 

There’s a variety of genre here, ranging from ‘lit’ to ‘pulp’, so I’m happy to answer questions regarding any of the listed stories . 

I could have included many more, especially from The Best Australian Stories 2014 Ed. Amanda Lohrey, but a cut off had to occur somewhere. This yearly list is a celebration of short fiction rather than anything more sinister and, as always, many great reads miss out. 

Stories in bold were published in 2014. 

29 Superb Stories

“The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis” Karen Russell (from Vampires in the Lemon Grove originally in Conjunctions (Fall 2010)                                                  

‘Natasha’ David Bezmozgis (from My Mistress Sparrow is Dead ed. Jeffrey Eugenides, originally in Natasha by David Bezmozgis)                                                 

“Old Habits” Nalo Hopkinson (from Eclipse Four ed. Jonathan Strahan)    

“My Heart is Either Broken” Megan Abbott (from Dangerous Women ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                               

“The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach” Karen Russell (from Vampires in the Lemon Grove originally in Tin House, Fall 2009)                                          

“The Dancing Dwarf” Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes)                      
“Neighbors” by Meghan Lindholm (from Dangerous Women ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois) fantastic take on dementia                                   

“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress (from Dangerous Women ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                        

“Barn Burning” Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes originally in The New Yorker)                                                                                                                   

“Dying Young” Peter M. Ball (from Eclipse Four ed. Jonathan Strahan)         

‘Flicking the Flint’ Anna Krien (The Best Australian Stories 2014)                

“Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice” Nam Le
(The Boat originally in Zoetrope: All Story)     
“The Last Lawn of the Afternnoon” Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes)
“Some Desperado” Joe Abercrombie (from Dangerous Women ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois )                                                                               

“The Examination” Ryan O’Neil (Wet Ink 14)                                                      

‘Bring Closer What is Left to Come’ Julienne van Loon (The Best Australian Stories 2014)                                                                                                       
‘Sugar Bag Dreamin’ Country’ Mark Smith (The Best Australian Stories 2014)          
“Proving Up” Karen Russell (from Vampires in the Lemon Grove originally published as “The Hox River Window” in Zoetrope: All Story, Fall 2011)     

‘Meeting Elise” Nam Le (The Boat originally in One Story)                               

“Family Affair” Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes)                               

“A Small Cleared Space” Josephine Rowe (Overland 214 Autumn)                  

“The Venetian Cat” Cherith Baldry (Kisses by Clockwork ed Liz Grzyb)          

‘Ill Met in Lankhmar’ Springers’ Fritz Leiber (Selected Stories ed Jonathan Strahan & Charles N. Brown, first published The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Apr. 1970)                                                                                                   

“Hiroshima” Nam Le (The Boat originally in Harvard Review)                          

“TV People” Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes originally in The New Yorker)                                                                                                                              
“Wrestling Jesus” Joe R. Lansdale (from Dangerous Women ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois) pulpy genre                                                              

“Smoke Ghost” Fritz Leiber (Selected Stories ed Jonathan Strahan & Charles N. Brown originally in Unknown Worlds, Oct. 1941)                                             
“Tourists” James Patrick Kelly (from Eclipse Four ed. Jonathan Strahan)     

‘The Panther’ David Brooks (The Best Australian Stories 2014)                       

‘The Peacock’ Arabella Edge (The Best Australian Stories 2014)                      



  1. You obviously really liked the Murakami collection, Anthony. I'll have to read it sometime. I read his most recent novel a couple of months ago and I was not at all impressed. Maybe he's better at a shorter length.

  2. Hi Guy.
    Hope it helps, the post below has a bit on the collection.