• The cover of the book Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

    Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

    You can’t go wrong with reading a story by the master himself. A “Chekhovian” story is one which evokes a mood of introspection and frustration, and in many cases, the episodes of High Maintenance can be called Chekhovian. “Rachel,” “Genghis,” and “Geiger” especially. Read the simple but heartbreaking stories of Anton Chekhov to get the original Chekhovian flavor.

     
  • The cover of the book Cathedral

    Cathedral

    In this collection’s titular story, Carver’s narrator smokes dope with his visitor the blind man, so we can draw quite literal parallels to High Maintenance here. Carver’s stories evoke the poignant lives of ordinary people. Nothing much ever happens, but the clarity of Carver’s prose cuts to the quick, and that’s exactly what’s so difficult to bear.

     
  • The cover of the book Bark

    Bark

    A funny writer even as she probes the darkness of everyday life, Lorrie Moore crafts deft portrayals of all her characters and their foibles. See into the life of a man struggling with divorce as the U.S. prepares to invade Iraq, a teacher visited by a ghost, and two once-hopeful musicians facing regret.

     
  • The cover of the book Emerald City

    Emerald City

    You may have read Egan’s Pulitzer Prize winner A Visit From the Goon Squad, but have you read her first short story collection? Emerald City was published in 2007 and features eleven stories about characters who long for experiences out of the ordinary. They seek those experiences in China, Bora Bora, downtown Manhattan, and suburban Illinois.

     
  • The cover of the book What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

    What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

    In eight stories, Nathan Englander asks provocative questions about modern life. The title story is inspired by Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” and features a dark question that arises between two Jewish couples having a drink together. This story sets the stage for an expansive collection that explores humankind’s simultaneous capacity for tenderness and evil.

     
  • The cover of the book This Is How You Lose Her

    This Is How You Lose Her

    Here’s another linked collection for fans of Blichfeld and Sinclair’s series. New York Times-bestselling author Junot Diaz writes about the many lost loves of Yunior: Alma, Lora, Magdalena, and finally, the one true love of Yunior’s life. Kirkus called this collection “sharply observed and morally challenging.”

     
  • The cover of the book The Thing Around Your Neck

    The Thing Around Your Neck

    Adichie writes profoundly of characters in both Nigeria and America in this collection, which features a Nigerian girl moving to America for the first time and encountering loneliness, a medical student taking shelter from a riot with a poor Muslim woman, and a young mother who must deal with the reality of her husband’s mistress.