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As part of the introduction of our new Story Cube, we're recommending some of our favorite short stories. What's a Story Cube? It's a portable story dispenser for kids, teens and adults. Just wave your hand over the button and out pops a short story or poem on eco-friendly paper (kind of like a super long CVS receipts, except you actually want this one!).

The Story Cube will be available throughout October in the Central Library Commons before moving to the Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park branches. In the meantime, take a look at these short story collections, including a few movie adaptations.

Book River
Book River Title
Short Stories
Book River Items

The Lottery : and Other Stories (1977)

by Shirley Jackson

Full of misanthropy, madness and murder, Jackson's short fiction has an uncanny ability to lure in readers with her deceptively tranquil style, revealing whatever darkly humorous or deeply creepy situation awaits them after they are hooked. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

The Elephant Vanishes (1993)

by Haruki Murakami

This collection of fifteen linked stories revolving around a man obsessed with the disappearance of an elephant from a local zoo and that of a young mother whose sleeplessness provides her with a foretaste of death is a perfect introduction to Murakami's vivid, surreal and hilarious style. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

This is How You Lose Her (2012)

by Junot Díaz

A gorgeous collection of nine stories featuring Yunior, the author's alter ego first introduced in his short story collection Drown. Hilarious and charming, difficult and sad, the stories explore love and heartbreak in an unforgettable way. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain : in Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life (2021)

by George Saunders

The only thing better than a collection of classic Russian short stories is a collection of essays by a magnificent writer and professor about why each of the seven stories selected is an enduring masterpiece. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

Black Enough : Stories of Being Young & Black in America (2019)

by an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Balzer + Bray

Filled with stories that are captivating and eye-opening, Black Enough is about diverse teens all on the path to self-discovery. It’s rare to find a short story collection where each story is as powerful as the one before it; Black Enough brilliantly manages to achieve this.  — Anna Pederson, High School Outreach Librarian

Vampires Never Get Old : Tales with Fresh Bite (2020)

by a part of Macmillan Publishing Group Imprint

Vampires are back in YA fiction, and I'm here for it! This short story anthology features some of the best YA authors today including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Julie Murphy, and more, making this a must-read for your fall to-be-read piles. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

Arrival (2017)

by Paramount Home Entertainment

In the movie Arrival, 12 extraterrestrial spaceships touch down in various locations throughout the world. Linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with learning their language to understand why they came to Earth.  Based on the short story, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, this movie was adapted to screenplay by Denis Villeneuve. — Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Coordinator

The Shawshank Redemption (2010)

by Castle Rock Entertainment

Did you know this classic movie was adapted from Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was published as part of the Different Seasons collection in 1982? This novella tells the story of Andy Dufresne’s subsequent time in prison after he is tried and convicted for the double murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. — Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Coordinator

Homesick for Another World (2017)

by Ottessa Moshfegh

As with her novels, in this short story collection Moshfegh picks apart the human condition with deftness and unflinching honesty. At times unsettling and others laugh-out-loud funny but always full of heart, this is a great collection to curl up with on a stormy night. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2015)

by Mona Awad

With razor-sharp wit and a no-holds-barred attitude, this collection takes our image-obsessed culture to task through stories of heartbreak, obsession and more. Smart, funny, heartbreaking and at time shocking, the relevance of this collection is evergreen. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager