10 Essential Alternative Anthologies for the Modern Reader

We’ve all been exposed to the classic anthologies — your Nortons, your Oxfords, your Best American series — but sometimes we need to step out of the box a little bit and reach for the anthologies that weren’t handed out to everyone we know in Freshman Lit, whether because they’re too specific or just too out there. Here, we’ve put together a list of a few alternative anthologies that we think should be on everyone’s to-read list. They might not be quite what you’re used to, but hey, it’s always good to learn something new. And of course, these are simply the anthologies that have spoken to us — there are many more alternative collections, some more or less essential depending on your interests, so we hope that you’ll add your own favorites to our list in the comments.

My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro, ed. Jeffrey Eugenides

We think everyone needs a go-to pack of love stories for emergencies, and this is ours. Just take it from Eugenides himself, who writes in the introduction, “It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price. I offer this book, then, as a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery. Read these love stories in the safety of your single bed. Let everybody else suffer.”