2022 Reading Challenge: Read a Collection of Short Stories or Essays

OPL invites patrons to take part in the 2022 Reading Challenge, opens a new window! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window, or Facebook , opens a new windowto let us know which read you picked up this month!

To round out the year, the final reading challenge of 2022 is to read a collection of short stories or essays. For anyone with a number of holiday or end-of-the-year events this month, these kinds of books present a great opportunity to read an essay or story a day and still be able to complete your goal. Readers can find a wide variety of genres or narratives in this format. 

Literary fiction fans may be interested in “Five Tuesdays in Winter, opens a new windowby Lily King, a collection of stories exploring love and grief or the emotional, surrealist tales in “Men Without Women: Stories, opens a new window” by Haruki Murakami. 

If you still have spooky season on your mind, try the chilling horror collections of “Full Throttle: Stories, opens a new windowby Joe Hill or “When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson, opens a new window” edited by Ellen Datlow.

For cozier thrills, try the holiday-themed “Christmas Card Murder, opens a new windowa collection of stories by three different cozy mystery authors or “Marple: Twelve New Stories, opens a new window” featuring Miss Marple in stories reimagined by 12 current authors. 

If you’re looking for romance around the holidays, “Amor Actually: A Holiday Romance Anthology, opens a new windowor “Paris for One and Other Stories, opens a new window” may be just what you need. Other non-holiday themed romance collections include “19 Love Songs, opens a new window” by David Levithan or “Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold, opens a new window” by Bolu Babalola. 

Science fiction and fantasy lovers could try “The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, opens a new window” by Ken Liu, “Honeycomb, opens a new window” by Joanne Harris or “Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology, opens a new window.”

A few recent autobiographical essay collections include “These Precious Days: Essays, opens a new window” by Ann Patchett, “You Can’t Be Serious, opens a new window” by Kal Penn and “You Got Anything Stronger?: Stories, opens a new window” by Gabrielle Union, a follow-up to her 2017 collection “We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That are Funny, Complicated, and True, opens a new window.”

Jia Tolentino’s cultural criticism in “Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-delusion, opens a new window” or the five-star ratings John Green gives to a variety of things in “The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-centered Planet, opens a new window” could work for those looking for nonfiction narrative essays.

A few Omaha Public Library staff favorites include the translated story collections of “The City of Mist: Stories, opens a new windowby Carlos Ruiz Zafón and “Life Ceremony, opens a new window” by Sayaka Murata. Staff also enjoyed “If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi, opens a new window” by Neel Patel, “Bliss Montage, opens a new window” by Ling Ma, “Cleave, opens a new window” by Holly Pelesky, “Reunion Beach: Stories Inspired by Dorothea Benton Frank, opens a new window” and “Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora, opens a new window.

For more ideas check out this list, opens a new window or request a custom reading list or book bundle, opens a new window.

You may submit your completed reading log online or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2022, to be entered into the prize drawing.