Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck (Alfred A. Knopf)
Robert Boswell, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards (Graywolf Press)
Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible (HarperCollins)
Brian Evenson, Fugue State (Coffee House Press)
Petina Gappah, An Elegy for Easterly (Faber and Faber)
Aleksander Hemon, Love And Obstacles (Riverhead Books)
Barb Johnson, More of This World or Maybe Another (Harper Perennial)
James Lasdun, It's Beginning to Hurt (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Caitlin Macy, Spoiled (Random House)
Lori Ostlund, The Bigness of the World (University of Georgia Press)
Jean Thompson, Do Not Deny Me (Simon & Schuster)
Laura van den Berg, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books)These selections are, as always subjective, and not being on the list should in no way detract from the achievements of the other collections we read. Every writer who published a book of short stories in 2009 beat the odds and achieved something significant, and there are, of course, quite a few other collections well worth reading.
It's hard to narrow down the choices to a reasonable number of notable books from the 75 or so we read each year (78 in 2009), and it seems like every year it gets harder, with even more good collections to choose from. Short fiction gained some serious momentum in 2009, and I believe that will only continue.