Short Takes | Wyatt’s World

As we enter the heart of the fall book season, some of the biggest titles just happen to be made up of smaller pieces. Here are five collections getting attention.

  • Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar).
    This may be Eugenides’s first collection of short tales, but it spans decades of writing and is supported by the pillars of two new stories. As with his novels (The Virgin Suicides; Middlesex), these narratives are character rich and thematically resonant.
  • Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks (Knopf).
    Actor Hank becomes author Hanks with these bright, fast tales that make for companionable reading. From friends who go bowling to war buddies with strained connections, these stories highlight an economy of prose and a very Hanksian sensibility. [An October LibraryReads Pick.—Ed.]
  • Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill (Morrow).
    Designed to unnerve, this compilation of novellas draws on the best in horror, with everyday characters facing extraordinary circumstances, such as killer rain, raging fire, or a stranger with sinister power. [An October LibraryReads Pick.—Ed.]
  • Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf).
    One of the most talked about books of the season and a finalist for the National Book Award, Machado’s debut is a work of sharp magical realism with a hard edge. Heady, hot, and eerie, this brew of stories tells of women and what can happen to them.
  • A Selfie as Big as the Ritz: Stories by Lara Williams (Flatiron: Macmillan).
    Newcomer Williams’s carefully crafted and sharp-eyed group of 21 tales mine common experiences, such as the emotional travails of dating, work, and divorce.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at


  1. Dodie says:

    Hi Neal! I’d like to add another title to your list. The Refrigerator Monologues are the stories of the “iced” girlfriends, lovers, wives, etc …. of superheros. None that you have ever heard of before – Miasma, Insomniac, RedCon … and all having rather bizarre superpowers. The ladies that are left behind form the the Hell Hath club, and this is where we hear them tell their stories. They are angry, foul-mouthed, sweet, manipulative, sad, joyful, and looking for catharsis. This terrific collection from Catherynne Valente is funny while still keeping the pain of the glass ceiling close by.

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