Posts Tagged ‘kevin brockmeier’

Cover Art for Our Favorite Stories

Novels often get the makeover treatment. Publishers redesign covers for paperback releases, anniversary and special volumes, and to update outdated imagery. Artists also love the challenge, and commonly produce alternative cover art for their favorite books. But what of the short story? Those special gems we treasure so much? We decided to make cover art for some of our favorites, and have included a song we feel best suits the mood, tone, or subject of the story below. Enjoy!


“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson debuted  in 1948 in The New Yorker and was an instant hit among readers. It received the largest number of letters to the magazine than any other story at the time and it’s easy to see why. Jackson went on to become an authoritative voice on the dark and sinister and has many bestsellers to her name. Read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson here.

Accompanied song: “The Killing Type” by Amanda Palmer

ceiling“The Ceiling” by Kevin Brockmeier is on almost everyone’s favorite short stories list. It won the O. Henry Prize in 2002 for Best Short Story and is about an object that appears in the sky that grows ever closer. The townspeople call it “the ceiling” and you can read about it here.

Accompanied song: “The Wilhelm Scream” by James Scream

Unicorn peel off from silver paper background“Ponies” by Kij Johnson was published by Tor in 2010 and won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story that year. In “Ponies” Barbara is invited to a “cutting out” party for her talking unicorn. As you can probably guess, Barbara and her pony, Sunny, are in for more than they bargained for. You can read “Ponies” by Kij Johnson, here.

Accompanied song: “You Gotta Suffer A Lot to Be Happy” by Sunny & Share Love You

St Lucy's“St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell was originally published in Granta and is the titular story for her first collection. In this piece, a group of girls who spent their childhood raised by wolves is sent away to live with nuns so they can transition into young women. Russell’s imaginative stories and beautiful writing have made her a favorite among short story readers. Read “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves” here.

Accompanied song: “Running With The Wolves” by AURORA

Kim Winternheimer

Anthology Judge Kevin Brockmeier’s Fifty Favorite Short Stories

Submissions for our 2015 anthology are now open! Our guest judge Kevin Brockmeier says he is “looking for the kind of stories that result when a writer combines imaginative daring with dynamic, exact, emotionally suggestive prose.” To give you a better idea of the sorts of stories he admires, here is a list of his fifty favorites. And, if you’re looking for still more inspiration, check out this list of Brockmeier’s  favorite fantasy and science fiction in our May interview.


Little Rock Author Kevin Brockmeier
Several Rules: (1) I have listed these stories in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, rather than in order of preference—though I’ve marked my ten current favorites with an asterisk. (2) I have chosen no more than one story (or in a few cases one novella) per author. (3) I have tried to be honest, which is why there are so many contemporary English-language stories on this list, as well as so many stories by science fiction writers, magic realists, and assorted other fantasists.


—Kevin Brockmeier, August 7, 2014

Fifty Favorite Stories

1. “Tickets on Time (Extracts from the diary of Jules Flegmon)” by Marcel Aymé
2. “The Voices of Time” by J.G. Ballard (*)
3. “Gryphon” by Charles Baxter
4. “The Last Song of Sirit Byar” by Peter S. Beagle
5. “The Accordion Player” by John Berger (*)
6. “Three Versions of Judas” by Jorge Luis Borges
7. “The State of Grace” by Harold Brodkey (*)
8. “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler
9. “The Time Machine” by Dino Buzzati
10. “The Light-Years” by Italo Calvino (*)
11. “American Dreams” by Peter Carey
12. “Sins and Virtues” by Jim Crace
13. “White Angel” by Michael Cunningham
14. “Pet Milk” by Stuart Dybek
15. “The Prophet from Jupiter” by Tony Earley (*)
16. “The Twenty-seventh Man” by Nathan Englander
17. “Grace” by Paula Fox
18. “From the Fifteenth District” by Mavis Gallant
19. “The Torturer’s Wife” by Thomas Glave (*)
20. “Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold” by Theodora Goss (*)
21. “Two Gentle People” by Graham Greene
22. “Monday” by Mark Helprin
23. “It Didn’t Bother Me” by Jeremy Jackson
24. “Emergency” by Denis Johnson
25. “Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor” by Franz Kafka
26. “The Joy and Melancholy Baseball Trivia Quiz” by Ken Kalfus
27. “The Dark Princess” by Richard Kennedy
28. “Bobcat” by Rebecca Lee
29. “Catskin” by Kelly Link
30. “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean
31. “The Boat” by Alistair MacLeod
32. “The Briefcase” by Rebecca Makkai
33. “Man in the Drawer” by Bernard Malamud
34. “Sandkings” by George R. R. Martin
35. “Singular Pleasures” by Harry Mathews
36. “The Thistles in Sweden” by William Maxwell (*)
37. “Twins” by Megan Milks
38. “The Next Thing” by Steven Millhauser
39. “Faith and Mountains” by Augusto Monterroso
40. “A Window” by Haruki Murakami
41. “Sugar Among the Chickens” by Lewis Nordan
42. “Reeling for the Empire” by Karen Russell
43. “Akhnilo” by James Salter
44. “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz” by George Saunders
45. “The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter” by Lucius Shepard
46. “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy (*)
47. “Extracts from Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary” by Mark Twain
48. “Escapes” by Joy Williams (*)
49. “The Dreamed” by Robert McLiam Wilson
50. “The Private Lives of Trees” by Alejandro Zambra