I’m Reading The Best American Short Stories 2021

The Best American Short Stories 2021 on desk

I used to read The Best American Short Stories pretty regularly ever since I started studying creative writing. Somehow I sort of fell off the wagon for the last few years, though. I haven’t read since Roxane Gay was the guest editor for the 2018 edition. Well, I’m catching up. I’m starting with the newest edition, 2021, and going backwards until my set is complete on my bookshelf.

The Best American Short Stories 2021

My copy of The Best American Short Stories 2021 edition arrived on Sunday. I’m two stories in so far. I always get the paperback version of these, for some reason. I think it’s because I like to carry them around and look pretentious. Or desperate, maybe?

They always pick twenty stories for the book every year, so I’ve got eighteen more to go. I can’t read it at work since I didn’t get this one on Audible. I’ve been getting novels read to me by Audible because I can put my headphones on all day and do whatever I need to do throughout the day and still finish a book fairly quickly. For these short stories, though, I have to do it old-school. They do have an Audible edition of these now, but I think I’ll force myself to read these traditionally, because– I don’t know– moderation?

The Best American Series Helps Me Find Novels, Too

Once I’m done with the year’s short stories, I usually look for recent or upcoming novels or collections from the authors of the stories that I really liked and read those as soon as I can. I’m sure some people wouldn’t like this because it’s probably super elitist. I do miss a lot of small press stuff this way, unfortunately. This method was always a good way to sort of stay a little current on the literary side of things, though. I almost always had a book or something to talk about with fellow writers and with any professors who wandered into my um, area.

Anyway, my goal is to read all of the short stories in this book by the end of the week.

If you like short stories, here is my short story, “Replacement Parts”, that I posted on my blog last week. It’s certainly no Best American material, but hey, maybe one day.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

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