Short Story MonthWant to up your reading game but don’t have a lot of time? Are you a sucker for a challenge? Well, we have a treat for you! May is National Short Story Month and the perfect time to make a major dent in your reading by knocking out just one story a day!

“But I don’t really like short stories.” – Lara, about a million years ago.

Sound familiar? If you like reading, you can find a short story collection—or maybe even two—that you will like. Promise. And to help you find one, we are sharing some of our favorite collections (and single stories) for you to check out.

If you want to get social about it, join us on Instagram and post any images from your Story-a-Day-in-May adventure with the following hashtags: #StoryADayInMay #SnottyLiteratiStoryChallenge. We hope to see you there! Now for the gems, in no particular order.

Lara’s Pick: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The best war stories you will read. And by “best,” I mean hardest and most sobering. These stories should be required reading.

Jennifer’s Pick: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
I hate to copy you. These linked stories are also a philosophy on storytelling, a how-to in good-writing. They’re amazing.

Lara’s Pick: One More Thing by B.J. Novak
This really clever collection has one of my most favoritest stories of all time. And it’s super short. So short, I can show you:

Child: “Why does carrot cake have the best icing?”
Mom: “Because it needs the best icing. “

Jennifer’s Pick: One More Thing by B.J. Novak
Obviously, you know what the first two books you read need to be. This guy writes smart prose that’s delish.

Lara’s Pick: Come to Me by Amy Bloom
I read this years ago and it was one of the first collections I remember enjoying. Uncomfortable subject matter. Feels a bit voyeuristic.

Jennifer’s Pick: Anything by Lorrie Moore.
I feel like Lorrie Moore taught me how to use the exclamation point. She’s one of the few writers who really knows how to write in second person. And I fell to my knees when I first read “People Like That Are The Only People Here.”

Lara’s Pick: Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston
I’ve never been a Marlboro Man kind of gal, but Houston’s collection had me wanting to trade in city life for quiet spot under a big sky with the strong, rugged, and silent type.

 Jennifer’s Pick: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders
Come to the Master.

Lara’s Pick: Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle
Looks like chick-lit. Sounds like chick-lit. So much better than the typical chick-lit.

Jennifer’s Pick: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Is it a novel or a story cycle? Whatever it is, it’s quiet—like still, deep waters. I keep wondering why no one’s made it into a movie.

Lara’s Pick: The Freak Chronicles by Jennifer Spiegel
I am allowed to recommend Jennifer’s collection, but she is not. My biggest problem with many short stories is their lack of closure. This collection will take you across the globe and back, with beautifully written prose, and a whole bunch of closure.

Jennifer’s Pick: Drown by Junot Diaz
I’d read anything he wrote.

Lara’s Pick: Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny
I have friends who don’t like books because the characters weren’t ethical or repeatedly made bad choices. If you can get past that and just enjoy the writing, check out this collection.

Jennifer’s Pick: The Other Language by Francesca Marciano
I feel, slightly (since I don’t know her at all), like Francesca and I grew up together. Rules of the Wild was her novel when we were young and free in Africa. This is when we’ve arrived at womanhood, mature and wise. Still so damn beautiful.

Lara: The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rarely do I agree with the Pulitzers. This time, I did. Lahiri’s debut collection grabbed the top literary prize and exposed me to life on the other side of the world.

Jennifer’s Pick: Try out some hit singles. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger, “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, “The Country Husband” by John Cheever, “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor, “A & P” by John Updike, and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid.

Surely, after all of that you can round up thirty-one stories to read in May. And if you do, we’d love to hear about your experience! Follow us on Instagram! @OneLitChick and @JenniferSpiegel. And, remember the hashtags! #AStoryADayInMay #SnottyLiteratiStoryChallenge

Happy reading!