Best short stories and novellas to read in 2016

If you purchase an item through this post, we may get a small affiliate commission.
22 short stories and short story collections you have to read in 2017

Check out the newer list: 22 short stories and short story collections you have to read in 2017

Top article

Looking for short fiction from Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, or Karin Slaughter? We've collected their short stories published in 2017.

Best short stories to read in 2016

Most interesting short stories, short story collections, and novellas of 2016 in one handy list.

“I don’t have time for reading” in times of rebirth of short-form fiction is not an excuse any longer.

Short stories are a perfect read every time you’ve got a couple of spare minutes. Instead of scrolling through Facebook status updates (again), open another app – the book reading app.

And make sure to download some of the books listed below. You’ll find here stories by Lisa Gardner, Ken Liu, Lawrence Block, or Ayelet Tsabari.

The list includes mostly the books that were or will be released in 2016, but we’ve also added the most interesting books published at the end of 2015.

Electronic format makes it possible to publish short stories as standalone books, not only in collections. That’s why major ebookstores see a lot of potential in short books, and devoted special sections to promote new titles:

Kindle Singles – the books are carefully selected by Amazon editors. You can find here not only short stories or novellas, but also non-fiction.

Kindle Short Reads – Amazon describes them as “great stories in one sitting”. The books are grouped according to their reading time: from 15-minute to 2-hour reads.

Nook Snaps – Barnes & Noble’s selection of exclusive quick reads includes short stories, long-form journalism, from the “most compelling voices.”

Kobo Exclusive Shorts – Kobo’s initiative to benefit from the revival of short form reading. So far, the list includes a few dozens titles.

At the end of this post you’ll find the infographic with the best short stories and novelas of 2016.

If there is any book you’d like to add to the list, please leave your suggestion in the comments below. Thanks!

50 short books for busy people

Read also 50 short books for busy people

Top article

Best short books you can read in less than three hours. Novels and novellas you can't miss, short stories, and most interesting non-fiction books.

Best short stories and novellas to read in 2016

Best short stories 2016: 3 Truths and a Lie - Lisa Gardner

3 Truths and a Lie

Lisa Gardner

January 5

This is Lisa Gardner’s second short story starring Detective D.D. Warren. The first one, The 7th Month was The New York Times bestseller.

Detective Warren takes on a new assignment: a fifty-minute class aimed at educating thriller writers on the ways of actual police work.

“Yet sometimes life really does imitate fiction, as D.D. takes the writers through the reality of one of her most twisted cases—a case that involves a seedy motel room, drugs, prostitution… and a severed leg.”

The book includes an early look at Gardner’s forthcoming suspense novel Find Her.

⇢ Kindle

Short story collections of 2016: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories - Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Ken Liu

March 8

Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection.

You’ll find here insightful and stunning stories that plumb the struggle against history and betrayal of relationships in pivotal moments, this collection showcases one of our greatest and original voices.

The collection features many of Ken Liu’s award-winning stories, including Mono No Aware, The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species, and The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Short stories 2016: A Tyranny of Petticoats - Jessica Spotswood

A Tyranny of Petticoats

Edited by Jessica Spotswood

March 8

Fifteen gripping historical fiction stories from fifteen most talented YA writers in an anthology compiled by Jessica Spotswood.

Enjoy a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course.

They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals.

And they all have a story to tell.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup

Gillian Flynn

November 3

The Grownup was written by Gillian Flynn, the author of the bestselling Gone Girl and Dark Places.

It’s a tribute to the classic ghost story and was originally published in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology. Now it’s published for the first time as a standalone book.

On a rainy April morning, a young woman – the narrator of the book – observes as Susan Burke walks in. Our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection.

However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore…

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Short story collections of 2016: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline - George Saunders

CivilWarLand in Bad Decline

George Saunders

April 26

A debut collection of six dystopian short stories and a novella by a short story master George Saunders, who “helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”

Being an inspiration for an entire generation of writers, the stories offer an unforgettable cast of characters, each struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world.

The 2016 edition features a new introduction by Joshua Ferris and a new author’s note by Saunders himself.

⇢ Print

A Manual for Cleaning Women - Lucia Berlin

A Manual for Cleaning Women

Lisa Berlin

August 18

A Manual for Cleaning Women collects the best work of the famous short-story writer Lucia Berlin. Lovers of the short from reading should read this exceptional collection from a master of the form.

With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the daily life.

She uncovers moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

2016 novellas: Resume Speed - Lawrence Block

Resume Speed

Lawrence Block

February 16

Resume Speed is a noir suspense novella from the author of A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Published exclusively on Amazon, as a Kindle Single, the book is a gripping tale of sudden endings and new beginnings.

Bill gets a job as a short-order cook in Cross Creek, Montana, having a chance to a start a new life.

He applies for a library card, and the next thing you know he’s having dinner with the librarian. One thing leads to another, and he can see a whole new life stretching out before him…

⇢ Kindle

Best short story collections of 2016: Interior Darkness - Selected Stories - Peter Straub

Interior Darkness: Selected Stories

Peter Straub

February 16

Sixteen short stories by the New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub, the celebrated master of horror.

In this collection, Peter Straub consistently changes the boundaries of genre, transcending horror and suspense to unlock the dark, unsettling, and troubling dissonances that exist on the edges of our perception.

“It is a thrilling, highly entertaining, and terrifying testament to the prodigious talent of Peter Straub.”

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Ball - Tara Ison


Tara Ison

November 10

A thrilling and provocative debut collection of short fiction by the acclaimed author of Rockaway and A Child Out of Alcatraz.

The stories explore the darker edges of love and sex and death, how they are intimately and often violently connected, with bright, vivid stories set mostly in contemporary Los Angeles.

In Cactus, a young girl comes to fear the outside world following the freakish, accidental death of her adventure-seeking boyfriend in the California desert.

Wig tells the story of a woman who must help her best friend face cancer while covering up an unseemly affair with her friend’s husband.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours - Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Helen Oyeyemi

March 8

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird comes a captivating collection of intertwined stories.

The collection is built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives.

Helen Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Short stories 2016: The Best Place on Earth - Ayelet Tsabari

The Best Place on Earth

Ayelet Tsabari

March 8

Ayelet Tsabari’s award-winning debut collection of stories is global in scope yet intimate in feel, beautifully written, and emotionally powerful.

From Israel to India to Canada, Tsabari’s indelible characters grapple with love, violence, faith, the slipperiness of identity, and the challenges of balancing old traditions with modern times.

These eleven spellbinding stories often focus on Israel’s Mizrahi Jews, featuring mothers and children, soldiers and bohemians, lovers and best friends, all searching for their place in the world.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa

Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa

Various Authors

April 12

This is the third annual anthology from Short Story Day Africa, which aim to break the one-dimensional view of African storytelling and fiction writing.

The stories selected for 2016 edition explore true and alternative African culture through a competition on the theme of water.

Short Story Day Africa brings together writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, teachers, and school children from all over the globe to write, submit, read, workshop, and discuss stories.

⇢ Print

Fall of Poppies

Fall of Poppies

Various Authors

March 1

An unforgettable collection of short stories set in the aftermath of World War I.

The world has changed forever. For soldiers, survivors, and their families, the years ahead are the hope in the midst of uncertainty.

Edited by Heather Webb, the collection includes stories from the bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Scary Old Sex - Arlene Heyman

Scary Old Sex

Arlene Heyman

February 11

In this stunning, taboo-breaking debut, Arlene Heyman, a practicing psychiatrist, gives us what really goes on in people’s minds, relationships, and beds.

A woman goes about certain rituals of sex with her second husband, sharing the bed with the ghosts of her sexual past. A beautiful young art student embarks on an affair with a much older, married, famous artist. A middle-aged woman struggles with the decline of her mother, once glamorous and still commanding.

Raw, tender, funny, truthful and often shocking, the collection explores the chaos and beauty of life.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

Short stories to read in 2016: Being Dad - Short Stories About Fatherhood

Being Dad: Short Stories About Fatherhood

Various Authors

March 3

More dads than ever before are staying home to be full-time parents to their children. As society changes its expectations, the question must be asked: what does it mean to be a father?

Being Dad is a collection of short stories written by sixteen contemporary writers. All are fathers by themselves.

From protective instincts gone awry to the ghosts of our fathers haunting every parenting decision, these stories shine a light on what it means to be a father in the twenty-first century.

⇢ Print

The Necklace and Other Short Stories - Guy de Maupassant

The Necklace and Other Short Stories

Guy de Maupassant

March 1

Nine memorable classics from the master of the short story Guy de Maupassant, including The Necklace, A Piece of String, Mademoiselle Fifi, and The Horla.

In The Necklace we follow madame Mathilde Loisel, who cannot go to a fancy party because she doesn’t have anything to wear.

Her husband tries to help her and gives her money to buy a new dress. She insists she also needs jewels so she borrows a diamond necklace from her friend, Madame Jeanne Forestier. After the party, Mathilde realizes that she lost the stunning necklace.

⇢ Kindle

2016 novellas: Proposal - A Mediator Novella - Meg Cabot

Proposal: A Mediator Novella

Meg Cabot

March 1

Something for fans of ghost fiction from the New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot.

Suze Simon is a mediator. She has a gift of communicating with the dead. She is spending her Valentine’s Day on a cemetery, at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons, whose drama didn’t end with death.

It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on – for good.

⇢ Kindle ⇢ Print

A Record of Our Debts - Laura Hendrix Ezell

A Record of Our Debts

Laura Hendrix Ezell

April 5

A debut collection of stories by Laura Hendrix Ezell, the winner of the 2015 Moon City Short Fiction Prize.

Ezell’s stories capture their characters not only at their most vulnerable and desperate, but also at essential moments of self-discovery, of purposeful recognition of the extenuating circumstances that have shaped their respective fates.

This is a harmonious chorus of resilient female voices – many speaking from the margins of their own lives, all contemplating their complicated relationships with the men who influence their trajectories.

⇢ Print

The Best American Short Stories 2015

The Best American Short Stories 2015

Editors: T.C. Boyle and Heidi Pitlor

October 6

The Best American Short Stories 2016, edited by Junot Díaz and Heidi Pitlor, will be released on October 4, but if you missed the 2015 edition, make sure to read it.

The Best American Short Stories 2015 is the one-hundredth volume of the most popular anthology of the short from writings by the best-known authors in contemporary American literature.

Guest editor T. C. Boyle selected for this compilation “what the best fiction offers, and there was no shortage of such in this year’s selections.”

The book includes 20 short stories that offer a vibrant range of characters and plots. You’ll find here The Siege at Whale Cay by Meghan Mayhew Bergman, Victor Lodato’s Jack, July, and Moving On by Diane Cook.

⇢ Kindle

Best short stories and novellas of 2016 – infographic

Best short stories and novellas to read in 2016 - infographic

Feel free to share this infographic on your site (Creative Commons license).

• • •

We frequently publish lists of best ebooks, covers and accessories, and gifts for book lovers. Please subscribe by RSS or email. Let’s also connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Recent lists to check out:

Want even more? Check out all articles in this topic: Lists.

Audible audiobooks

Start the discussion

Interesting: Best short stories and novellas to read in 2016
132.4K friends

Tips and tricks

Kindle Unlimited books among top Kindle bestsellers

How many Kindle bestsellers are available via Kindle Unlimited?

You won’t believe it: as much as 82 books on the list of Top 100 Kindle bestsellers of 2017 are included in…

Amazon Fire HD 8 2017 release - specs, reviews, comparisons, pics

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) – specs, reviews, comparisons, more

What to quickly decide whether Amazon’s Fire HD 8 tablet is right for you? Here you will find everything you need: full tech specs, comparisons with similar tablets, review highlights from top bloggers, and more.

Gift ideas

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 10 2017 cases, sleeves, and accessories

15 awesome case covers for your new Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

All-new Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) cases, sleeves, and accessories you can already get. The list is frequently updated with new items.

Top-rated iPad cases and accessories to get in 2018

10 top-rated iPad accessories you can get in 2018

Here is a round-up of iPad accessories that got highest ratings on Amazon – cases, keyboards, stands, chargers, screen protectors, and more.

Best 50

Best illustrations about reading and books

50 illustrations that cleverly describe what books are about

The best illustrations about books and reading. By Paweł Kuczyński, Andrea De Santis, Jungho Lee, Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu, Dale Edwin Murray, and Mariusz Stawarski, among others.

Best short books for busy people

50 short books for busy people

Best short books you can read in less than three hours. Novels and novellas you can’t miss, short stories, and most interesting non-fiction books.

Get free updates via email

Powered by MailChimp
You'll receive email digests on Fridays at 2pm GMT / 10am EST.