What We're Reading: Story Collections We're Loving

updated 04/04/2013 at 01:00 PM EDT

originally published 04/04/2013 05:00PM

Sometimes it's nice to shelve a thick novel in favor of something a little bit shorter.

Story collections are making a big comeback, and this week PEOPLE staffers can't get enough of them. From the darkly funny dystopian tales of Sam Lipsyte to the latest from critical darling Alice Munro, check out what we're reading. Then let us know what books you can't put down.

What We're Reading: Story Collections We're Loving| Dear Life, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Book Reviews, What We're Reading, Alice Munro, Karen Russell, Sam Lipsyte

Alex Apatoff, Style News Editor
Her pick: Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

I'm not going to lie to you: this collection is weird. But that's part of why it's so wonderful. No matter how bizarre the scenario – an 11-year-old homesteader carrying broken glass in a blizzard, Japanese silk-spinners who are half-girl, half-silkworm – Russell's tales are striking. Ordinarily I read alone, but this book made me want to dissect each story with friends.












What We're Reading: Story Collections We're Loving| Dear Life, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Book Reviews, What We're Reading, Alice Munro, Karen Russell, Sam Lipsyte



Larry Hackett, Managing Editor
His pick: The Fun Parts by Sam Lipsyte

Full of hyper-verbal junkies, delusional teenagers, absurdist set-ups, switch-blade word play and a seriously bent sense of humor, Lipsyte's short stories are both spit-take funny and really creepy snapshots of dystopian urban life. Think Girls, but with even less sentimentality. Harrowing and hilarious.











What We're Reading: Story Collections We're Loving| Dear Life, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Book Reviews, What We're Reading, Alice Munro, Karen Russell, Sam Lipsyte

Michelle Tauber, Senior Writer
Her pick: Dear Life by Alice Munro

I've never considered myself much of a short story fan, but Munro's latest made me reconsider. In her stories, which are like miniature novels, Munro explores the ways in which our decisions – and chance – bevel our lives in ways both sharp and subtle. Plus, I love that the short story format gives me the flexibility to jump in and out – and even fit in a few other good reads in between.

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week's "memoirs we can't put down" and more book club finds here.

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