Short story club!
May 15, 2018 9:00 AM   Subscribe

My friends and I are starting a short story club, in which we will read and discuss a short story every 2 weeks. We would love recommendations for stories that will stimulate discussion, especially if they're feminist-oriented. Stories need to be available online.

Most of us have already read Cat Person, and we read The Husband Stitch in our inaugural meeting. We could probably get our hands on stories published in the New Yorker, but otherwise, it would be nice if the stories were posted online for free.
posted by quiet coyote to Writing & Language (26 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Yiyun Li has a number of short stories available in the New Yorker (I particularly love A Small Flame). Edwidge Danticat and Jhumpa Lahiri also have some work there. I'm never sure of what counts as feminist, but all three are strong female (and immigrant) writers and have great ideas for discussion in their work. I think you get three articles/stories a month for free. Last week I read a few stories in Haruki Murakami's new collection Men Without Women that were absolutely fabulous, but I don't think any are available online for free. Happy Reading!
posted by perrouno at 9:17 AM on May 15, 2018

Applied Cenotaphics In The Long, Long Latitudes, by Vajra Chandrasekera, is a very sophisticated story both from an SFnal and a political perspective. Also it has a very beautiful title.
posted by Frowner at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, by Ursula K. LeGuin.
posted by ejs at 9:34 AM on May 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Old-school (1917): Susan Glaspell, "A Jury of Her Peers."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2018

Anything by Canada's greatest short story writers:

Alice Munro

or Margaret Atwood

posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

The original classic "The Sultana's Dream" (Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain) could make for some nice discussion in conjunction with the modern response/follow-up/retelling "Fifty Years in the Virtuous City" (Leo Mandel).

Zen Cho's acclaimed "The House of Aunts" is also absolutely fantastic and, well, one of my favorite pieces of short fiction, period. Someone described it as a love story about familial rather than romantic love -- although it doesn't shy away from the situations where family emphatically fails to love.
posted by inconstant at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2018

Oh! And one of my friends from Grad School wrote an EXCELLENT collection of Short Stories recently! They all have the theme of relationships being destabilized by the introduction of The Third Person

I've read it and I have SO MUCH to talk about! I think it would be great for your group.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:42 AM on May 15, 2018

The short stories of Ursula Vernon have a similarly delightful blend of humor and social insight as Cat Person, and many are available online.

But when somebody says feminist short stories, and is OK with a sci-fi-ish bent, I think Connie Willis. "All My Darling Daughters" is a classic, and available online if you google.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:44 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

"The Heat Death of The Universe" (.pdf; 1967), by Pamela Zoline.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:47 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I strongly recommend 'Bloodchild and Other Stories' by Octavia Butler, and I'd choose the title story out of that collection for a discussion, and 'Stories of Your Life and Others', republished as 'Arrival' after the movie release, by Ted Chiang, and I'd recommend the title story from that collection as well.
posted by bq at 9:49 AM on May 15, 2018

Edith Wharton, Roman Fever. It has a plot twist that doesn't show up until the last sentence of the story, and whenever I've shared it with someone, I always know when they get to the end becuase they always audibly gasp.

Edith Wharton has a number of other good short stories - there's an archive here, including links to online versions where available. Although, I note it's missing one of my favorites - "Xingu", which is available online here and is thoroughly delicious. (I loved it so much I turned it into a one-act play!).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:49 AM on May 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P. O." Linking to my own comment from a while back because it's got supplementary material.
posted by asperity at 9:55 AM on May 15, 2018

Slate did a series of short stories "from contemporary writers, compiled by Ben H. Winters, imagining America’s future under President Donald Trump", and my absolute favourite was Clay and Smokeless Fire, by Saladin Ahmed. I liked it so much I went and bought whatever books I could find with more of his work in.
posted by greenish at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2018

I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen.
posted by amro at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not feminist, but "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov is pretty spectacular.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2018

The Screwfly Solution by Raccoona Sheldon
posted by galvanized unicorn at 10:56 AM on May 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Came to suggest Alice Munro; Dressed to Kill beat me to it, but this page might be useful: Read 19 Short Stories From Nobel Prize-Winning Writer Alice Munro Free Online
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2018

Ooh ooh ooh Naomi Kritzer, author of "Cat Pictures Please"! a nice lighter touch counterpoint to Atwood and so forth.
posted by daisystomper at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Laura Chow Reeve's 1000 Year Old Ghosts
posted by platitudipus at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Katherine Mansfield, "The Tiredness of Rosabel"
Zora Neale Hurston, "Sweat" [PDF]
Alexandra Kleeman, "Choking Victim"
Jess Zimmerman, "All the Ways He Won't Die"
Lesley Nneka Arimah, "Who Will Greet You at Home"
Vanessa Fogg, "Taiya"
Brooke Bolander, "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies"
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:29 PM on May 15, 2018

A common but nevertheless worthy, canonical British recommendation, Somerset Maugham's short stories. Some collections are available on Project Gutenberg and other places. Not feminist, though.
posted by Everydayville at 3:46 PM on May 15, 2018

Some amazing feminist speculative fiction I've read lately:

• Kaiju Maximus by Kai Ashante Wilson
Men of the Ashen Morrow by Margaret Killjoy
Suite for Accompanied Cello by Tamara Vardomskaya
Light, Like a Candle Flame by Iona Sharma
Concessions by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson
Razorback by Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher

If your group likes science fiction and fantasy at all, online magazines like Strange Horizons and Uncanny are a treasure trove. They're both completely free to read online. Strange Horizons in particular has a focus on literary inventiveness, feminism, and the representation of marginal voices.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 4:36 PM on May 15, 2018

If you're willing to buy one book, I imagine that many, or even most, of the stories in Octavia's Brood would be of interest.
posted by dizziest at 4:39 PM on May 15, 2018

The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is available for free online and is a feminist classic.
posted by epj at 8:35 PM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Came in for Yellow Wallpaper, was not disappointed.
posted by chronic sublime at 3:25 AM on May 16, 2018

When It Changed, Joanna Russ
posted by foxfirefey at 9:51 AM on May 16, 2018

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