• SHORT STORIES

Forever Rumpole

John Mortimer's death three years ago, and the subsequent cessation of new Rumpole adventures, can be ameliorated slightly by the appearance of this volume, an expansion of The Best of Rumpole that adds seven stories to the seven which Mortimer himself selected as his prime cuts. The bewigged barrister shines here, triumphing in case after case against impossible circumstances.

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  • SHORT STORIES

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

This aptly named teensy tome, edited by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with help from his online creative collective, hitRECord, is packed with illustrated stories so short they can often be read in a single breath. Some of the stories and pictures in this slender volume are worthy of longer contemplation and repeat reading. Others are good for a chuckle. All of them push the boundaries of what we think of as short fiction.

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  • SHORT STORIES

The Outlaw Album

In his first collection of short fiction, Daniel Woodrell returns to the Missouri Ozarks of his haunting "country noir" Winter’s Bone -- recently adapted as a ruggedly powerful film. These brief, explosive tales are like muzzle flashes in the night, momentarily illuminating a rogues gallery of characters who would be the “bad guys” in any other book. But Woodrell -- whose early novel, The Ones You Do, was a B&N Discover Great New Writers selection -- assembles these short takes into a compelling mosaic of life on the wrong side of the tracks.

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  • SHORT STORIES

Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories

Combining Jim Thompson-level darkness with Richard Ford-style insights into character and place, Frank Bill delivers a set of stories that dive into an economically depressed Midwest-via-Dante, chronicling a desperate realm of drug deals, murders, and familial bitterness. These are the rural noir tales behind the missing headlines the mainstream media won't print.

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  • SHORT STORIES

Best of Times, Worst of Times

America's first Gilded Age produced Mark Twain, Henry James, Willa Cather, and a flock of other notables. Will our current climate of economic imbalance, ruinous vanity, joyous nihilism, and wild-eyed millennialism produce a similar wealth of literary talent? Only posterity can say for sure. But this volume of stories from such luminaries as Junot Diaz, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Walter Mosley sets the bar admirably high.

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  • SHORT STORIES

Volt

If the Coen Brothers filmed Flannery O'Connor's stories using the ghost of Grant Wood as set and costume designer, the resulting film might resemble the tales in this career-launching collection from Alan Heathcock, a writer distinguished by his poetic treatment of the quotidian violence that underpins too much of American life.

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  • SHORT STORIES

While Mortals Sleep

These posthumously uncovered stories from the great philosophical fantasist and humorist hail from the early part of his career, when he was writing for the "slick magazine" marketplace. Consequently, they exhibit more whimsy than savagery, and an Eisenhower-era perspective on life—albeit infused with Vonnegut's trademark lateral thinking.

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  • SHORT STORIES

Gryphon

Having displayed equal finesse with both short and long fiction (especially the sublime novel, Feast of Love), Charles Baxter here offers 23 allied stories detailing the lives of his sober and good-intentioned but still somewhat afflicted Midwesterners, crafting a sympathetic portrait of the region that's part Garrison Keillor, part Sherwood Anderson, and part Alfred Hitchcock.

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  • SHORT STORIES

The Empty Family

Colm Tóibín probes the destinies of immigrants and those returning home in nine stories that trace the ghostly contours of the past onto lives distanced from it by loss and longing.

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  • short stories

Dusk and Other Stories

A new edition of James Salter's deservedly revered story collection affords readers a fresh opportunity to admire the poised and quietly virtuosic prose of a modern master. Read more...

  • short stories

The Surf Guru

Following up his award-winning debut novel, Alive in Necropolis, with a collection of off-kilter stories, Doug Dorst displays a sly affection for eccentrics and outlaws, including the elderly wave-rider of the title piece. Read more...

  • short stories

Stories

Fantastic—in both senses—and all-new fiction from the likes of Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Stewart O'Nan, Chuck Palahnuk, Jodi Picoult, Peter Straub, and the volume's editior, Neil Gaiman, distinguishes this imaginative collection. Read more...

  • short stories

The Microscripts

The perennially rediscoverable mid-20th-century Swiss master Robert Walser (Jakob von Gunten; Selected Stories) reputedly was guided by the motto, "To be small and to stay small." Aptly, he wrote in minuscule scripts on receipts and other scraps of paper—an entire story could be inscribed on the back of a business card. This volume reproduces such works in all their tiny glory. Read more...

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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