Ally Armistead's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2010

The Best American Short Stories 2010 by Richard Russo
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's review
Jan 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

I always look forward, every year, to the latest edition of The Best American Short Stories. It is the mother load of all anthologies, the place to be, the Oscars for the literary short form, the hub of emerging stars and infamous masters.

In this edition, Richard Russo has done, overall, a marvelous job of selecting truly gripping stories, ones that stick with you, gnaw at you long after you've read them. Most of the selections are truly stellar, with the top two stories--"Cowboy Tango," by Margaret Shipstead, and "Delicate Edible Birds," by Lauren Groff--true works of beauty. They are the kind of stories, if you are a writer, that make you sit up and say "I freaking wish I'd written that," the kind that make you work harder, get up earlier, and try again.

Other notable pieces include Steve Almond's "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched"--a fabulous tale about a psychiatrist and his poker-playing patient; "The Laugh"--a haunting tale in Africa; and "My Last Attempt to Explain to You What Happened with the Lion Tamer" by Brendan Mathews--a second-person love story to an aerialist.

My two least favorite were "Raw Water" by Wells Tower and "The Netherlands Live With Water" by Jim Shepard--two stories originally written for and published in McSweeney's--as they were too focused on creating a futuristic world than telling a story.

Overall, 2010 was an enjoyable selection, and one that accomplishes what every good short story collection should: inspiration for the aspiring writer.
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message 1: by Georganne (new)

Georganne I know, I know, you read this 4 years ago. Who knows if you will even see or care about this comment. Not to worry. Just wanted to say I loved the first paragraph of your review, it's exactly how I feel about the BASS series! I've been reading them since the early 90's when Katrina Kenison was the series editor. I laughed out loud at your description. The 'mother lode', yes. As you say, it's not just the excellent stories but also a fine introduction to many great authors and their novels or short story collections. I drifted away from reading much in the short story format for awhile (with the exception of Alice Munro), but now I'm in the process of trying to catch up. I'm busy looking for BASS copies from 2010- 2014 and found your review. I also found a brand new 2010 copy for 75 cents on It's on the way. Something was missing all that time, I just recently realized what it was.

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