Every year I do a reading challenge to keep my reading diverse and spicy.

I have often used the Book Riot reading challenges, but this year I really wanted to focus on short fiction, so I made my own.

In keeping with the Book Riot Model, mine is also 24 challenges: so roughly 2 collections or lit mags in a month.


A Literary magazine that was published at least 10-20 years ago.

Hmm. Lot’s of volumes sitting around to choose from here in my office… Check back with me!

A genre magazine issue from before 1985.

I’m pretty certain this is going to end up being sci fi or mystery… Stay tuned!

A collection by a foreign-born author/s.

Again, I have a lot of choices here, both posthumous and contemporary… Don’t worry, though, I’ll find one!

A linked-story collection.

I have one these signed—I think it’s going to get read this year! (Actually, it’s highly embarrassing that it has taken me this long.)

An edited collection on a specific theme.

Juicy! But which one?

For their first issue of 2019, Room’Issue 42.1, the editors made a call for magic and their submitters conjured tales and spells that did not disappoint. The resulting literary magazine has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen (I re-upped my subscription immediately upon seeing it previewed online) by Lan Yao. Between the covers, editor Arielle Spence explains, the issue makes room for all of the various interpretations of magic from the writers who submitted and was delighted.

An edited best-of collection of stories.

I guess we’ll see what mood I’m in when I get there!


A collection by an author you’ve never read before.

Read more of my thoughts on reading Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor.

Swimmer Among the Stars, by Kanishk Tharoor, came with back copy from Electric Literature that described the collection as, “Lush, playful, and intoxicated by history,” and I decided between that and the title, I had to have it. I picked it up at a writing conference where I did not hear the author speak, nor had I ever heard of him before I saw his book on the table.

A collection by an author you enjoyed reading, but whose short fiction you have never read.

I’m pretty excited about delving into some new territory with one of my favorites!

A collection by an author who is no longer alive.

I’m going to do my part to immortalize someone!

Reread a collection you’ve read before or a collection containing a story you’ve read before.

Memory lane…

A collection of prize-winning short stories.

So many prizes out there! Won’t be hard to find something good—keep you posted!


A literary magazine published in a place you’re visiting this year.

Read more about The Radvocate, Issue 15.

Reading about the origins of its Xeroxed zine days, spilling almost accidentally into a platform for artists to have the opportunity “to fuck your brain up for a little while,” told me exactly what to expect from the pages that followed... Birthed as a zine and now backed by a non-profit that operates to amplify the voices in the city of San Diego, I sense it has retained its soul from the days when each black and white copy had to be “printed” and stapled by hand.

Reading LPR Issue 25

A literary magazine published within 250 miles of where you live.

Read my full review of Little Patuxent Review Issue 25, Winter 2018 (and also Issue 22, kinda).

Some argue that, by putting all x writers in a single issue, editors may feel excused from doing the hard work of creating a diverse journal year-round... Yet there’s also value in taking a moment to look at the spectrum of voices within a given group and putting many such voices in conversation together... [F]inding solidarity in both our shared experiences and “the difference among our differences” feels tremendously urgent.
— Guest editor Anthony Moll, Little Patuxent Review, Issue 25, Winter 2019 (on curating an issue with Maryland LGBTQ+ voices).


A literary magazine published targeting a marginalized group.

Read my full review of Raspa Magazine, Issue 6 here.

In its very conception, Raspa is radical art. Layers of Otherness in a hostile climate, where we are literally placing the Latinx people [humans!] who come to our borders in states of desperate need into concentration camps, housing them in ice boxes, separating children and babies from parents, and insisting that basic hygiene isn’t a right; to say nothing of the ongoing erosion of and assault on LGBTQAI+ rights in this country and the challenges of being a Queer Latinx individual writing Latino culture. It dares to give voice to these authors and their experiences and I’m grateful I get to listen.

literary magazine published by a university.

Almost a wild card, isn’t it?

A literary magazine not published by a university.

Also almost a wild card!

stories published as a complete collection, not stories in magazines or other books.

I’m fascinated by a collection of short stories that isn’t a previously published collection.

A genre magazine currently in print.

Aliens, detectives, or…?

A themed series or anthology series.

When you got a good thing going…

New Voices in Fantasy.jpg
As new as the writers might be, I wonder if they could have called this collection “The Voices of the New Fantasy,” afterall, there are no knights with swords, no wizards, and more ducks than dragons. But Beagle quotes Ursula LeGuin’s advice when he was asked to speak at an annual meeting of the SFWA, “remember that all of us feel, to one degree or another, that mainstream fiction has been stealing our ideas—and even our classic clichés—for generations, and selling them back to us as ‘Magical Realism.’ Tell them that, loudly and repeatedly, and the ones who can still stand up will be buying you drinks all night.”

A collection edited, authored, or themed by a minority group.

So many to choose from!

A collection in translation.

Fun Fact: My mom took a lot of Russian literature in college! A hint?

A collection edited by a literary magazine.

What are your favorite lit mag’s favorites?

Is this a reading challenge you’d like to try? Print your own copy and tell me how it goes! year-long short story reading challenge