Tiny Windows Into Other Worlds: Notable Short Story Collections of 2023

short story collections 2023

Neil Gaiman has said that “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds, and other minds, and other dreams. They’re journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.” So today, in celebration of “National Short Story Day,” here are some of the collections of “tiny windows” that were published in the past year– all of which you can check out with your Livingston Library card. (Descriptions provided by the publishers) Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri Rome–metropolis and monument, suspended between past and future, multi-faceted and metaphysical–is the protagonist, not the setting, of these nine stories. In “The Boundary,” one family vacations in the Roman countryside, though we see their lives through the eyes of the caretaker’s daughter, who nurses a wound from her family’s immigrant past. In “P’s Parties,” a Roman couple, now empty nesters, finds comfort and community with foreigners at their friend’s yearly birthday gathering–until the husband crosses a line. And in “The Steps,” on a public staircase that connects two neighborhoods and the residents who climb up and down it, we see Italy’s capital in all of its social and cultural variegations, filled with the tensions of a changing city: visibility and invisibility, random acts of aggression, the challenge of straddling worlds and cultures, and the meaning of home. These are splendid, searching stories, written in Jhumpa Lahiri’s adopted language of Italian and seamlessly translated by the author and by Knopf editor Todd Portnowitz. Stories steeped in the moods of Italian master Alberto Moravia and guided, in the concluding tale, by the ineluctable ghost of Dante Alighieri, whose words lead the protagonist toward a new way of life. Disruptions by Steven Millhauser Here are eighteen stories of astonishing range and precision. A housewife drinks alone in her Connecticut living room. A guillotine glimmers above a sleepy town green. A pre-recorded customer service message sends a caller into a reverie of unspeakable yearning. With the deft touch and funhouse-mirror perspectives for which he has won countless admirers, Steven Millhauser gives us the towns, marriages, and families of a quintessential American lifestyle that is at once instantly recognizable and profoundly unsettling. Disruptions is a provocative, utterly original new collection from a writer at the peak of his form. The People Who Report More Stress by Alejandro Varela A collection of interconnected stories brimming with the anxieties of people who retreat into themselves while living in the margins, acutely aware of the stresses that modern life takes upon the body and the body politic. In “Midtown-West Side Story,” lvaro, a restaurant worker struggling to support his family, begins selling high-end designer clothes to his co-workers, friends, neighbors, and the restaurant’s regulars in preparation for a move to the suburbs. “The Man in 512” tracks Manny, the childcare worker for a Swedish family, as he observes the comings and goings of an affluent co-op building, all the while teaching the children Spanish through Selena’s music catalogue. “Comrades” follows a queer man with radical politics who just ended a long-term relationship and is now on the hunt for a life partner. With little tolerance for political moderates, his series of speed dates devolve into awkward confrontations that leave him wondering if his approach is the correct one. This collection of humorous, sexy, and highly neurotic tales about parenting, long-term relationships, systemic and interpersonal racism, and class conflict from the author of The Town of Babylon, The People Who Report More Stress deftly and poignantly expresses the frustration of knowing the problems and solutions to our society’s inequities but being unable to do anything about them. Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go by Cleo Qian The electric, unsettling, and often surreal stories in Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go explore the alienated, technology-mediated lives of restless Asian and Asian American women today. A woman escapes into dating simulations to forget her best friend’s abandonment; a teenager begins to see menacing omens on others’ bodies after her double eyelid surgery; reunited schoolmates are drawn into the Japanese mountains to participate in an uncanny social experiment; a supernatural karaoke machine becomes a K-pop star’s channel for redemption. In every story, characters refuse dutiful, docile stereotypes. They are ready to explode, to question conventions. Their compulsions tangle with unrequited longing and queer desire in their search for something ineffable across cities, countries, and virtual worlds. With precision and provocation, Cleo Qian’s immersive debut jolts us into the reality of lives fragmented by screens, relentless consumer culture, and the flattening pressures of modern society-and asks how we might hold on to tenderness against the impulses within us. Holler, Child by LaToya Watkins In Holler, Child‘s eleven brilliant stories, LaToya Watkins presses at the bruises of guilt, love, and circumstance. Each story introduces us to a character irrevocably shaped by place and reaching toward something-hope, reconciliation, freedom. In ‘Cutting Horse,’ the appearance of a horse in a man’s suburban backyard places a former horse breeder in trouble with the police. In ‘Holler, Child,’ a mother is forced into an impossible position when her son gets in a kind of trouble she knows too well from the other side. And ‘Time After’ shows us the unshakable bonds of family as a sister journeys to find her estranged brother-the one who saved her many times over. Throughout Holler, Child, we see love lost and gained, and grief turned to hope. Much like LaToya Watkins’s acclaimed debut novel, Perish, this collection peers deeply into lives of women and men experiencing intimate and magnificent reckonings-exploring how race, power, and inequality map on the individual, and demonstrating the mythic proportions of everyday life. The Missing Morningstar and Other Stories by Stacie Shannon Denetsosie Stacie Shannon Denetsosie confronts long-reaching effects of settler-colonialism on Native lives in a series of gritty, wildly imaginative stories. A young Navajo man catches a ride home alongside a casket he’s sure contains his dead grandfather. A gas station clerk witnesses the kidnapping of the newly crowned Miss Northwestern Arizona. A young couple’s

Teen Take and Make – Winter Snow Globes

december teen take & make

This month’s Teen Take & Make project transported teens into a snowy, winter paradise by creating their own waterless snow globe! Teens enjoyed the project so much we ran out of kits in less than 2 hours! Take a look at some pictures from the project!   – Gail Lordi (Youth Services Assistant) and Jason Weissmann (Young Adult Librarian)