People can argue all day about the greatest novels, but there is never enough discussion about short story collections. In honor of the first exceptional example of 2014 — Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus — and the fact that The New Republicis publishing short fiction again, we were inspired to come up with this list of essential collections by masters of the form and up-and-comers alike. Some entries in this canon are anthologies of an author’s complete works, while others are individual books that are perfect on their own; either way, these 35 volumes are required reading.
Airships, Barry Hannah
If we were to build a Mount Rushmore of great southern writers, Barry Hannah’s face would be placed right alongside Faulkner and O’Connor. This 1978 collection, edited by Gordon Lish, is the perfect place to start if you want to experience Hannah’s sense of humor and storytelling at its finest. Just be prepared to get hooked.