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The Best American Short Stories 2001 (The Best American Short Stories)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  946 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
This year’s Best American Short Stories is edited by the critically acclaimed and best-selling author Barbara Kingsolver, whose latest book is Prodigal Summer. Kingsolver’s selections for The Best American Short Stories 2001 showcase a wide variety of new voices and masters, such as Alice Munro, Rick Moody, Dorothy West, and John Updike. “Reading these stories was both a d ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 10th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Apr 10, 2013 Marc rated it really liked it
I kept this book in the car for the last year. I'd read it at stop lights or when waiting to pick up carryout or any place/time I had the opportunity. Quality collection. Some of my favorites (w/ links to the ones I could find online so you can read'em yourself):
- "Servants of the Map" by Andrea Barrett
- "After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town" by Ha Jin
- "Boys" by Rick Moody
- "The Raft" by Peter Orner
- "The Secrets of Bats" by Jess Row
- "Nobody Listens When I Talk" by Annette Sanford
- "The Apple Tre
Jan 13, 2011 Erin rated it did not like it
I was delighted to see a shelf of these at the library and zeroed in on the Kingsolver edition. Short stories feel so new to me that the idea of seeing how people of literary merit judge them is incredibly appealing. The author section in the back that tells the inspiration for the story is also great.

I'm embarrassed to be rating this one star. I feel like I must be the problem here, not the stories chosen. And I don't know if perhaps I don't like the style of stories these were culled from or K
Ben Siems
Oct 13, 2009 Ben Siems rated it really liked it
Like most lovers of literature, I have some discomfort with the title of this series. Literature and rankings seem rather incompatible, after all.

But whether the stories in Best American Short Stories are indeed the best of that year is of no great consequence. They are certainly very good. I have, over the years, grabbed three different editions from this series (1988, 1991, and 2001) at used bookstores, and I must say, I enjoy them immensely. I would highly recommend to everyone to track down
Jul 26, 2009 Harley rated it it was amazing
Maybe I finished all these stories a year or two before, but I re-read several over the last few days. Some of the stories in this collection are on my all-time favorites list, if I were going to edit a volume called The Best of The Best American Short Stories. "The Secrets of Bats" by Jess Row, "Labors of the Heart" by Claire Davis. Then there are others that are favorites in this book: "Nobody Listens When I Talk" by Annette Sanford, "The Apple Tree" by Trevanian -- which is a hysterically fun ...more
Ann Douglas
Feb 16, 2012 Ann Douglas rated it it was amazing
This was an exceptionally good volume of short stories. (This series if published annually.)

Highlights included

"Boys" by Rick Moody
"Nobody Listens When I Talk" by Annette Stanford
"The Apple Tree" by Trevanian
"My Baby..." by Dorothy West

Here is a wonderfully mischievous quote from "The Apple Tree":

"Short first pregnancies do not occasion criticism in our valley, for it is widely known that the good Lord often makes first pregnancies mercifully brief as His reward to the girl for having preserve
Mar 19, 2010 Jenifer rated it really liked it
Reading this excellent collection of short stories edited by Barbara Kingsolver has made me feel as if I just ate way too much. I am uncomfortably overfull with words and characters and stories. They are swimming around in my head, and I am a little afraid that I will forget them all too soon. We eat too much and wonder how we could ever eat another meal, and then all too soon, we are doing it again. I will pick up a new book soon and I'm a little sad that this one will fade away. Digested.

It t
Apr 03, 2009 Charlotte rated it really liked it
I decided to check out this book after reading Barbara Kingsolver's collection of essays, Small Wonder. She wonders why more time-pressed Americans don't read short stories. I decided to take the challenge and peruse these stories chosen by Kingsolver as the best of 2001. While I enjoyed them, I couldn't finish them. I really liked "Labors of the Heart." That was the only one where I really felt the writer explored (or exposed) the characters in depth. The main reason I read fiction is the emoti ...more
Mar 15, 2008 Alex rated it it was amazing
I bought The Best American Short Stories 2007, 1993, & 1995 at Pranga (a local used book store) and the others I bought during their respective years of publication. They inspire me because the stories are great, and other times I'm inspired because the stories are lousy, and they piss me off for the same reasons. As of 3-14-08 I've read 90% of 2007, 50% of '93 & '95, and 100% of the others. I added them all to goodreads on the same night with the same review because I am lazy and addres ...more
Richard Jespers
Dec 18, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it
Again the editor really affects the choice of stories. Didn’t like as many of these as I did in 2000.


Andrea Barrett's "Servants of the Map," an extremely detailed story, epistolary in nature, almost by necessity: a husband and wife are separated by an expedition of space and time.

Ha Jin's "After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town." This story stayed with me for a while.

Rich Moody's "Boys." He creates a great compression of time and employs an effective use of repetition (anaphora).

John Updik
Dec 23, 2015 Kasandra rated it it was amazing
I'm reading such an "old" book because I found it cheap, used. I buy most of my books used to save money. This one is worth looking up for a story within by Claire Davis, called Labors of the Heart, which made me cry. And then read it again. It's so good I wanted to call my mom late at night and read the whole thing to her over the phone!! There are other fantastic stories within, particularly Boys by Rick Moody (also a 5-star story, incredibly well-written), Betty Hutton by Roy Parvin, My Mothe ...more
Jul 08, 2014 Liz rated it it was amazing
My favorites from this volume include “The Apple Tree,” by Trevanian (a new author to me, although he died ten years ago), which reads like a fable, and “Servants of the Map,” by Andrea Barrett, featuring a surveyor in the Himalayas writing home to his wife, that is as much about what he doesn’t tell her as what he does. But there so much good writing here – “Brothers and Sisters Around the World,” by Andrea Lee, “After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town,” by Ha Jin, “Think of England,” by Peter Ho Dav ...more
My absolute favorite story was the short five pager, "Boys" by Rick Moody. I read it out loud to Jessica in the car, and am sure to read it again before the book finds it way onto the shelf.
The story hits home for this father who looks at his two boys and sees time rushing forward fast and yet back again.

Other Stories of Honorable Mention:
Andrea Barrett's "Servants of the Map" - this is the second story of Ms. Barrett's I have run across this year. I must find more.
Peter Ho Davies "Think of Engl
Apr 29, 2010 Tracy rated it really liked it
This took me almost a year to get through, but I enjoyed it. Some of these "Best American Short Stories of ..." collections are more appealing to me than others. It must be because of the editor, there is a different editor every year, and they choose what stories go into the collection. I liked this one better than others that I've read. If you are trying to decide what year's collection to read, I'd recommend this one.
Roxanne Russell
Jan 23, 2013 Roxanne Russell rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
All in all I didn't enjoy this collection as much as I enjoyed 2000's. However, "Rug Weaver" by Barbara Klein Moss may be one of the best stories I've ever read. The protagonist is an Iranian Jewish rug dealer who begins mentally rug weaving as a coping mechanism during imprisonment. This story is juxtaposed with his present day life as the stiff "father-in-law" in his son's young marital home in California. Truly rich and fascinating story.
Donald Darnell
Oct 30, 2012 Donald Darnell rated it really liked it
I love short fiction and have read many of these "Best American" collections. The 2001 edition, edited (and with a terrific introduction by) Barbara Kingsolver, stands head, shoulders, and then some above all the others. If you start with this collection, you might be disappointed by those of 2002, 2003, etc.
Oct 24, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I was reading a Barbara Kingsolver book in which she mentioned working on this, she was reading thousands of short stories just to pick the best for 2001. I put it on my to read list and was glad I did. It was wonderful! I will now have to compare the other years of short story collections with various guest editors.
Connor Smith
Oct 12, 2011 Connor Smith rated it it was amazing
For some reason, the stories seemed to get better as the book went on. Somewhere after halfway, it seemed to be one good story after another. But interestingly, the stories appear to be in alphabetical order by author's last name.

This volume has earned my 5 star seal of approval because of the conspicuous number of stories included that I rather liked.
Apr 30, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Great collection, and I found that the introduction (by Barbara Kingsolver) was an especially good one. It was hard to pick, but my five favorites were "Brothers and Sisters Around the World" by Andrea Lee, "Boys" by Rick Moody, "My Mother's Garden" by Katherine Shonk, "What I Saw from Where I Stood" by Marisa Silver, and "The Apple Tree" by Trevanian.
David Rosen
Aug 27, 2009 David Rosen rated it really liked it
best story in this collection is the unforgettable, mesmerizing "The Secrets of Bats" which (i believe) first appeared in Ploughshares. By Jess Row If I were to rate this story on its own- it would get a(n unhesitant) 5! I'd love to read a review of this story by a blind person (if i keep blabbing- I'll give the game away ;)
Oct 10, 2009 Christopher rated it liked it
Some really good stuff, some that I didn't think was great. Still pretty good. Though I think a best of the year collection should be pretty good, right? I think I just don't like Ploughsares stuff, and they got a lot of things in here that year.
Erin Caldwell
Sep 04, 2008 Erin Caldwell rated it it was ok
For some reason I can't warm up to the short story. I think because it's so short, authors feel they have to pour a lot of strife into a few pages to make it worthwhile for the reader. In this collection, I would say at least 75% of the stories were depressing.
Jan 16, 2010 Carrie rated it really liked it
Overall, a very good collection. I felt like the odd one out, but also the most innovative, was "Boys," and was a little disappointed there weren't more like it. But there were a lot of things to make you think in a short span of pages, which is really what short stories should be about.
Maggie Dugan
Nov 11, 2013 Maggie Dugan rated it liked it
I wanted to read this because of the comments that Kingsolver made in her book of essays. She said as guest editor she would pick those stories which gave her new insights or a new perspective. But I thought this selection was just OK. But then, I am not a big fan of short stories. Bb
May 25, 2011 Lindsay rated it liked it
Recommended to Lindsay by: The library's book sale
I've been reading this on and off for over a year, whenever I have a few minutes for a short story. Like every collection I've read lately, some stories are fantastic, some are just ok, and some you really struggle to even finish.
Nov 12, 2014 Spencer rated it really liked it
Another very good selection. I particularly enjoyed Kingsolver's description of the story selection process in the beginning. I love short stories, and these were some excellent ones. A good variety, and all very moving and entertaining.
Oct 11, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
I'll read anything that Barbara Kingsolver has had anything to do with. My favorites in this collection were Boys (Rick Moody), The Secrets of Bats (Jess Row), and My Mother's Garden (Katherine Shonk).
Oct 14, 2012 Georganne rated it it was amazing
I love short stories and make a point to buy this book every year. They are always very good to great stories. It never disappoints. This year (2001) the list of stories was chosen by one of my favorite authors and is a special treat.
Oct 25, 2013 Carroll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: b-n-book-club
Our Eclectic Book Club enjoyed reading and discussing the wide range of subjects featured in the short stories. We spent two months on it.
Mar 12, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Liked the Updike the most, but the story set in Nepal was special too. (If I really loved it, though, I'd get off my ass and see whether it really was Nepal, and who the writer was.)
Jan 15, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
The stories Kingsolver has selected for this edition are amazing. Most of them are heart-wrenching and devastating and force you to look at the human experience in a new way.
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  • The Best American Short Stories 2000
  • The Best American Short Stories 2003
  • The Best American Short Stories 2002
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Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in Biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, ...more
More about Barbara Kingsolver...

Other Books in the Series

The Best American Short Stories (1 - 10 of 89 books)
  • The Best Short Stories of 1915, and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best American Short Stories of 1916: And the Yearbook of the American Short Story (1917)
  • The Best Short Stories of 1917
  • The Best Short Stories of 1918 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1919
  • The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1921, and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1922 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • Best Short Stories: 1927
  • The Best Short Stories of 1931 And the Yearbook of the American Short Story 1931

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