The best collections of microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories
By Ran Walker

The Books I Picked & Why

Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories

By Grant Faulkner

Book cover of Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories

Why this book?

Prior to reading this book, I was unfamiliar with 100-word stories (or drabbles). Even more, I had never seen a book that consisted entirely of 100-word stories before. Each one was a distinct and thorough world unto itself. It was through this book that I began to understand the possibilities for the 100-word form. If it were not for this book, I might have never really pushed myself to understand, appreciate, and write microfiction.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Without a Net

By Ana Maria Shua

Book cover of Without a Net

Why this book?

It was hard to settle on a single book by Shua, who is widely considered the “Queen of South American Microfiction,” because her work is just so good. Without a Net is one of her two microfiction collections translated into English. This one deals with characters from circuses and carnivals and is an astonishing collection of microfiction. Each carefully chosen word resonates and illustrates the power of the form. This is a book I would want to have with me if I could only take one book with me on a weeks-long trip.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Briefs

By John Edgar Wideman

Book cover of Briefs

Why this book?

John Edgar Wideman is the first African-American writer I can clearly point to who took microfiction seriously enough to write an entire collection. His stories are filtered through the lens of Blackness, but that is not the major reason why I like this book. Wideman does things with language that force me to completely step back and rethink things. I find myself reading his words aloud, simply because they feel as though they transcend the page. If it were not for Wideman, I would not feel as comfortable revealing the authenticity of my experience in my work.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

By Lydia Davis

Book cover of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Why this book?

After wading through and translating the verbosity of Proust, she challenged herself to write very tiny stories. She is a pioneer in contemporary American literature and her work deals largely with the experiences of women, particularly those in domestic situations. Her work is sharp and pointed, often poetic and resonant. Her use of language really makes you interrogate how many words you truthfully need to tell a good story. This collection combines several of her earlier collections.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

By Beth Ann Fennelly

Book cover of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

Why this book?

As a native Mississippian, I was already aware of Fennelly’s works, but this collection is my absolute favorite of her wonderful collections. She uses micro pieces to tell some of the most interesting experiences of her life (so far). Even more, she blurs the line between what is poem and what is prose. She can take a single moment in time and make it into a lesson on life and the realities of the world. I highly recommend this book if you want to see how micro writing can be used for nonfiction.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.