The Rime of the Postmodern Mariner

More ramblings of Rhys Hughes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 10 Best Short-Story Collections Ever

Having thought about this for several years, I think that I can now give a list that won't change too much in the near future. I only own five of my top ten, and so the above photo only shows half the list. That's better than nothing, I suppose! Here is the full list... Normally in such lists I issue a disclaimer that the books "aren't in any particular order" but in this case they are in order, with the best first.

The Complete Cosmicomics -- Italo Calvino
Sixty Stories -- Donald Barthelme
The Cyberiad -- Stanislaw Lem
Vermilion Sands -- J.G. Ballard
Collected Fictions -- Jorge Luis Borges
Locos: a comedy of gestures -- Felipe Alfau
Unlikely Stories, Mostly -- Alasdair Gray
Marcovaldo -- Italo Calvino
Keep the Giraffe Burning -- John Sladek
Complete Short Stories -- Saki

I'm sorry not to include anything by Primo Levi, Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny, Barrington Bayley, etc, but the point of top 10 lists is that great things do get left out. I'm also sorry to leave out Donald Barthelme's Forty Stories, which is almost as good as Sixty Stories. I wish he had combined them into one volume!


Blogger valdemar said...

Gray, Ballard, Borges, Saki, Sladek - all brilliant. Others unread, as yet. But those five are indeed solid choices.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Sing Clementine said...

Props for a great list, but it's a pretty narrow palate there, chief. No ladies, no one from Africa, Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, and all lodged in the 20th Century.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Postmodern Mariner said...

Good point, Sing Clementine... There are many African, Asian and Indian, etc, writers I enjoy, and I did consider some of them for my list.

But this list is just focussed on short story collections. I'll create a list of ten ten novels next and the mix should be different. Watch out for that on my main blog here:
Spoons That Are My Ears

1:42 PM  
Blogger Postmodern Mariner said...

My list of "10 Best Novels Ever Written" is now up on my main blog here:
10 Best Novels

9:53 AM  

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