Brilliant Short Stories

A few choice short story collections that leave you thinking about them for a long time to come.
The Virginity of Famous Men
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The Virginity of Famous Men

by Christine Sneed

About the book:  The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed's deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have taken thus far. In "The Prettiest Girls,†? a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with this older American man who takes her with him back to California. "Clear Conscience†? focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether "doing the right thing†? is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In "Beach Vacation,†? a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenaged son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, "The Virginity of Famous Men,†? explores family and fortune. Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in--and often the source of--both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.

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Sum
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Sum

by David Eagleman

About the book:  In the afterlife you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. Or you may find the afterlife contains only those people whom you remember. In some afterlives you are split into all your different ages, in some you are recreated based on your credit card records, and in others you are forced to live with annoying versions of yourself that represent what you could have been. In these wonderfully imagined tales – at once funny, wistful and unsettling – Eagleman kicks over the chessboard of traditional notions and offers us a dazzling lens through which to see ourselves here and now. His stories are rooted in science and romance and awe at our mysterious existence: a mixture of hope, love and death that cuts through human nature at innovative angles.

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A Manual for Cleaning Women
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A Manual for Cleaning Women

by Lucia Berlin

About the book:  The New York Times bestseller 'This selection of 43 stories should by all rights see Lucia Berlin as lauded as Jean Rhys or Raymond Carver' Independent The stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction. With extraordinary honesty and magnetism, Lucia Berlin invites us into her rich, itinerant life: the drink and the mess and the pain and the beauty and the moments of surprise and of grace. Her voice is uniquely witty, anarchic and compassionate. Celebrated for many years by those in the know, she is about to become - a decade after her death - the writer everyone is talking about. The collection will be introduced by Lydia Davis. 'With Lucia Berlin we are very far away from the parlours of Boston and New York and quite far away, too, from the fiction of manners, unless we are speaking of very bad manners . . . The writer Lucia Berlin most puts me in mind of is the late Richard Yates.' LRB, 1999

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The Illustrated Man
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The Illustrated Man

by Ray Bradbury

About the book:  Eighteen science fiction stories deal with love, madness, and death on Mars, Venus, and in space.

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The High Priestess Never Marries: Stories of Love and Consequence
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The High Priestess Never Marries: Stories of Love and Consequence

by Sharanya Manivannan

About the book:  A Sri Lankan mermaid laments the Arthurian Fisher King; a woman treks to a cliff in the Nilgiris with honey gatherers of the Irula tribe; a painter fears she will lose her sanity if she leaves her marriage, and lose her art if she stays faithful within it; one woman marries her goddess; another, sitting in a bar, says to herself, 'I like my fights dirty, my vodka neat and my romance anachronistic.' The women in this collection are choice makers, consequence facers, solitude seekers. They are lovers, vixens, wives to themselves. And their stories are just how that woman in the bar likes it - dirty, neat and sexy as smoke.

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The Tiny Wife
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The Tiny Wife

by Andrew Kaufman

About the book:  A robber holds up a Canadian bank but instead of stealing money he takes from each person the item of most sentimental value. As time passes the loss of these items have a dramatic effect on the victims: one discovers God under her sofa, another is attacked by her lion tattoo when it comes to life, & the wife of our narrator starts to shrink.

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After The Quake
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After The Quake

by Haruki Murakami

About the book:  For the characters in after the quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Fourteen-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Earthquake Man is trying to stuff her inside a little box. Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive burrowing worm. 'When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes,' says Frog. 'And right now he is very, very angry. ** Murakami’s new novel is coming ** COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE 'The reason why death had such a hold on Tsukuru Tazaki was clear. One day his four closest friends, the friends he’d known for a long time, announced that they did not want to see him, or talk with him, ever again.'

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