2020 favorites

2020 Favorites

Seven years in and going strong on the SSMT website.

It was a difficult 2020 all around. And as life got infinitely more stressful, the notion of having time to sit back and read a short story seemed comical.

But, I would argue, taking time to read a short story (at least every so often) becomes even more important during times of adversity. Art can lift us out of our own anxiety, away from our own grief, and give us someone else’s perspective. Getting out of your own head, even only temporarily, was essential self-care in 2020.

So in keeping with SSMT tradition, here is the annual list ranking the stories highlighted this year on the site, sorted in order of my own enjoyment.

And look for a new spin on things in 2021 here. Every week, we’ll be highlighting stories from a different country. After leaning overwhelmingly American for seven years, it seemed like it was well past time to expand my reading horizons. Can’t hurt to change things up for 2021.

So look forward to that, and have a happy new year! Continue reading

December 2020 favorites

December 2020

The December stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Mirrorball’ by Mary Gaitskill
  2. ‘Accident Brief’ by Karen Russell
  3. ‘The Unknown Masterpiece’ by Honoré de Balzac
  4. ‘Drinking Coffee Elsewhere’ by ZZ Packer
  5. ‘The Half-Husky’ by Margaret Laurence
  6. ‘Home For Christmas’ by Carson McCullers
  7. ‘Seven’ by Edwidge Danticat
  8. ‘A Room Forever’ by Breece D’J Pancake
  9. ‘The Weirdos’ by Ottessa Moshfegh
  10. ‘Irina’ by Mavis Gallant
  11. ‘The Lily-White Boys’ by William Maxwell
  12. ‘The Pocketbook Game’ by Alice Childress
  13. ‘The Dancer’ by Patricia Highsmith
  14. ‘The Yo-Yo’ by P.D. James
  15. ‘Temptation’ by Clarice Lispector
  16. ‘Ordinary Nudes’ by Stuart Dybek
  17. ‘Neighbors’ by Anthony Tognazzini
  18. ‘The Canebrake’ by Mohammed Mrabet
  19. ‘Odd Behavior’ by Lydia Davis
  20. ‘The Warmth Of Things’ by Nélida Piñón
  21. ‘Times’ by Ann Beattie

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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November 2020 favorites

November 2020

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Love Letter’ by George Saunders
  2. ‘A Temporary Matter’ by Jhumpa Lahiri
  3. ‘The Lie’ by Maeve Brennan
  4. ‘The Dead’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  5. ‘The Lady With The Pet Dog’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. ‘The Clever One’ by Maeve Brennan
  7. ‘Going To Meet The Man’ by James Baldwin
  8. ‘Horses In The Night’ by Margaret Laurence
  9. ‘The Turn Of The Screw’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  10. ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ by Maeve Brennan
  11. ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  12. ‘The Devil In Us’ by Maeve Brennan
  13. ‘The Barrel Of Rumors’ by Maeve Brennan
  14. ‘Fern’ by Jean Toomer
  15. ‘John Inglefield’s Thanksgiving’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  16. ‘The Boy Who Painted Christ Black’ by John Henrik Clarke
  17. ‘Mouses’ by Thom Jones
  18. ‘Housewife’ by Amy Hempel
  19. ‘Where I Lived, And What I Lived For’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  20. ‘My Brother At The Canadian Border’ by Sholeh Wolpé

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

October 2020 favorites

October 2020

The October stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Sphinx’ by Edgar Allan Poe
  2. ‘The Pram’ by Roddy Doyle
  3. ‘The Invalid, Or The Bedridden’ by Patricia Highsmith
  4. ‘The Female Novelist’ by Patricia Highsmith
  5. ‘Stone Mattress’ by Margaret Atwood
  6. ‘The Coquette’ by Patricia Highsmith
  7. ‘Mark Of Satan’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  8. ‘The Adventure Of The German Student’ by Washington Irving
  9. ‘You Can’t Be Any Poorer Than Dead’ by Flannery O’Connor
  10. ‘Paranoia’ by Shirley Jackson
  11. ‘The Hand’ by Patricia Highsmith
  12. ‘The Fully Licensed Whore, Or, The Wife’ by Patricia Highsmith
  13. ‘The Mirror’ by Haruki Murakami
  14. ‘Asleep In Armageddon’ by Ray Bradbury
  15. ‘The Middle-Class Housewife’ by Patricia Highsmith
  16. ‘The Breeder’ by Patricia Highsmith
  17. ‘The Flowering Of The Strange Orchid’ by H.G. Wells
  18. ‘The Bold Dragoon, Or The Adventure Of My Grandfather’ by Washington Irving
  19. ‘The Annex’ by Amy Hempel
  20. ‘The Afterlife’ by Jonathan Lethem

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

September 2020 favorites

September 2020

The September stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Heaven’ by Mary Gaitskill
  2. ‘The First Seven Years’ by Bernard Malamud
  3. ‘Notes From A Lady At A Dinner Party’ by Bernard Malamud
  4. ‘The Profile’ by Willa Cather
  5. ‘Simmering’ by Margaret Atwood
  6. ‘The Mourners’ by Bernard Malamud
  7. ‘On The Divide’ by Willa Cather
  8. ‘The Garden Lodge’ by Willa Cather
  9. ‘My Son The Murderer’ by Bernard Malamud
  10. ‘Angel Levine’ by Bernard Malamud
  11. ‘Dirty Deceivers’ by Chester Himes
  12. ‘The Under Graham Railroad Box Car Set’ by James McBride
  13. ‘My Flamboyant Grandson’ by George Saunders
  14. ‘Cooking Lesson’ by Rosario Castellanos
  15. ‘Dragged Fighting From His Tomb’ by Barry Hannah
  16. ‘The Egg Race’ by John Updike
  17. ‘The Namesake’ by Willa Cather
  18. ‘Cortés And Montezuma’ by Donald Barthelme
  19. ‘The Children’ by Andrea Lee
  20. ‘Cranberry Relish’ by Katherine Heiny
  21. ‘The Richer, The Poorer’ by Dorothy West
  22. ‘The Doctor And The Rabbi’ by Aimee Bender

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

July 2020 favorites

July 2020

The July stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

    1. ‘Wenlock Edge’ by Alice Munro
    2. ‘The Green Banana’ by J.F. Powers
    3. ‘Corrie’ by Alice Munro
    4. ‘Family Furnishings’ by Alice Munro
    5. ‘A Bird In The House’ by Margaret Laurence
    6. ‘The Mask Of The Bear’ by Margaret Laurence
    7. ‘To Set Our House In Order’ by Margaret Laurence
    8. ‘Mademoiselle Pearl’ by Guy de Maupassant
    9. ‘Gravel’ by Alice Munro
    10. ‘Father Abe’ by James McBride
    11. ‘The Loons’ by Margaret Laurence
    12. ‘A Priest In The Family’ by Colm Tóibín
    13. ‘Robert E. Lee Is Dead’ by Danielle Evans
    14. ‘Brownies’ by ZZ Packer
    15. ‘Some Get Back’ by Robert J. Williams
    16. ‘The Sound Of The Singing’ by Margaret Laurence
    17. ‘Cattle Haul’ by Jesmyn Ward
    18. ‘Visitor’ by Bryan Washington
    19. ‘The Creature’ by Edna O’Brien
    20. ‘Funny Little Snake’ by Tessa Hadley
    21. ‘Connection’ by Mary Gaitskill
    22. ‘Trying To Be’ by Mary Gaitskill
    23. ‘At The Seminary’ by Joyce Carol Oates
    24. ‘An Affair, Edited’ by Mary Gaitskill
    25. ‘The Rise Of Capitalism’ by Donald Barthelme
    26. ‘Exteriors’ by Kathleen Collins
    27. ‘Prue’ by Alice Munro

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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June 2020 favorites

June 2020

The June stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Like It Or Not’ by Deborah Eisenberg
  2. ‘Across The Lake’ by Deborah Eisenberg
  3. ‘The Rug’ by Edna O’Brien
  4. ‘Mrs. Reinhardt’ by Edna O’Brien
  5. ‘Number Ten’ by Edna O’Brien
  6. ‘The Flaw In The Design’ by Deborah Eisenberg
  7. ‘The Connor Girls’ by Edna O’Brien
  8. ‘Comfort’ by Mary Gaitskill
  9. ‘All The Way In Flagstaff, Arizona’ by Richard Bausch
  10. ‘Fatality’ by Richard Bausch
  11. ‘The Girl On The Plane’ by Mary Gaitskill
  12. ‘In The Hours Of Darkness’ by Edna O’Brien
  13. ‘The Two Davises And The Rug’ by Lydia Davis
  14. ‘Twilight Of The Superheroes’ by Deborah Eisenberg
  15. ‘Aren’t You Happy For Me?’ by Richard Bausch
  16. ‘I Live On Your Visits’ by Dorothy Parker
  17. ‘Wedlock’ by Richard Bausch
  18. ‘Nobody In Hollywood’ by Richard Bausch
  19. ‘The Third Tower’ by Deborah Eisenberg
  20. ‘Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest’ by Sherman Alexie

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

May 2020 favorites

May 2020

The May stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Debt Of Honor’ by V.S. Pritchett
  2. ‘The Adventure Of The Dancing Men’ by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. ‘A Woman On The Roof’ by Doris Lessing
  4. ‘First Love, Last Rites’ by Ian McEwan
  5. ‘Mrs. Fortescue’ by Doris Lessing
  6. ‘To Room Nineteen’ by Doris Lessing
  7. ‘The Wheelbarrow’ by V.S. Pritchett
  8. ‘England Versus England’ by Doris Lessing
  9. ‘Hunted Down’ by Charles Dickens
  10. ‘Flesh And The Mirror’ by Angela Carter
  11. ‘The Interlopers’ by Saki
  12. ‘The Marvellous Girl’ by V.S. Pritchett
  13. ‘Second Best’ by D.H. Lawrence
  14. ‘How I Finally Lost My Heart’ by Doris Lessing
  15. ‘The Sunday Following Mother’s Day’ by Edward P. Jones
  16. ‘The Fall’ by V.S. Pritchett
  17. ‘The Fly In The Ointment’ by V.S. Pritchett
  18. ‘On Saturday Afternoon’ by Alan Sillitoe
  19. ‘La Sainte-Vierge’ by Daphne du Maurier

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

April 2020 favorites

April 2020

The April stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Witness For The Prosecution’ by Agatha Christie
  2. ‘An Error In Chemistry’ by William Faulkner
  3. ‘The Adventure Of The Norwood Builder’ by Arthur Conan Doyle
  4. ‘The Little Men’ by Megan Abbott
  5. ‘The Absence Of Emily’ by Jack Ritchie
  6. ‘The Case Of The Missing Will’ by Agatha Christie
  7. ‘The Chocolate Box’ by Agatha Christie
  8. ‘The Fascinating Problem Of Uncle Meleager’s Will’ by Dorothy Sayers
  9. ‘The Parker Shotgun’ by Sue Grafton
  10. ‘The Adventure Of The Cheap Flat’ by Agatha Christie
  11. ‘Miss Marple Tells A Story’ by Agatha Christie
  12. ‘The Veiled Lady’ by Agatha Christie
  13. ‘Billy’s Girl’ by Gordon Jackson
  14. ‘The Genuine Tabard’ by E.C. Bentley
  15. ‘The Queer Feet’ by G.K. Chesterton
  16. ‘The Coin Of Dionysius’ by Ernest Bramah

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.