For writers and serious readers, George Saunders is anything but a newcomer. Saunders published his first short story with The New Yorker back in 1992, and his new stories have regularly debuted in the magazine’s Fiction section ever since. Over the years, he has gained the reputation of being a “writer’s writer,” with authors like Tobias Wolff saying about Saunders: “He’s been one of the luminous spots of our literature for the past 20 years.” But despite his literary accomplishments, and despite winning the prestigious MacArthur award in 2006, George Saunders never quite became a household name until January 6 of this year. On that day, The New York Times published an article with the title, “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year,” a pretty bold declaration given that 2013 still had 359 days to go. Since then, Saunders has found himself in the limelight talking about Tenth of December, his newly-published collection of short stories. You can watch him give a reading at Google above, or make appearances on the PBS News Hour and The Colbert Report.
If you’re not familiar with Saunders’ writing, then we have you covered. Below we’ve collected 10 stories by the author, all free to read online. Even better, the list features three stories from Tenth of December, including the story after which the book takes its name. All stories from the new collection have an asterisk next to the title.
- The Semplica-Girl Diaries * – New Yorker, October 2012
- Tenth of December * – New Yorker, October 2011
- The Red Bow – Esquire, April 2009
- Puppy * – New Yorker, May 2007
- CommComm – New Yorker, August 2005
- Bohemians – New Yorker, January 2004
- Adams – New Yorker, August 2004
- Jon – New Yorker, January 2003
- Sea Oak – Barcelona Review, 2000
- A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room – Northwest Review, 1986