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Must-Read Anthologies Based on Your Favorite Fiction Genre

Anthologies are great ways to introduce yourself to a new genre or find new authors. Here are the ones you should grab based on your favorite fiction genre.

Whether you’re looking for new authors in your favorite genre or trying to get into a new genre, anthologies are a great place to start on that journey. Anthologies are how I got back into contemporary fiction after spending five years reading only fantasy and science fiction. So, I went looking for more anthologies that I’ve either read or added to my TBR recently. And these are must-read anthologies that you need to read, separated by genre.

Classics: ‘Love in Color’

Love in Color classics retellings anthology
William Morrow

If you like classics or are looking for retellings of classical literature that aren’t like those you’ve already read, you need to check out Bolu Babalola’s Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold. It’s the author’s debut, but honestly, it’s better than some popular author’s writings.

The stories in the book retell love stories, mythology, and legends from the Middle East, West Africa, and Greece. It’s described as giving classic stories twists we haven’t seen yet. One of the stories I loved the most was about a Nigerian goddess – it was so beautiful, and I couldn’t help but cry a little.

Crime: ‘In the Shadow of Agatha Christie’

In the Shadow of Agatha Christie crime anthology
Pegasus Books

The queen of crime mystery novels, Agatha Christie, will always reign over the genre. But what about the other female crime writers of her time that we never hear about anymore? This anthology brings together several stories from these writers for modern readers to enjoy.

The book includes Mary Fortune, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Ellen Wood, Elizabeth Corbett, Catherine Louisa Pirkis, and so many more. Whether you’ve heard of them before or not, there’s no doubt you’ll be searching for the rest of their works until you’ve finished all of them.

Mystery: ‘Bodies from the Library’

Bodies from the Library mystery anthology
Collins Crime Club

For me, crime and mystery are remarkably similar genres. Still, I think I’ve found the best anthology that separates the two in many of the stories. This anthology brings together Agatha Christie, H.C. Bailey, Arthur Upfield, John Rhode, A.A. Milne, and more.

Bodies from the Library: Lost Classic Stories by Masters of the Golden Age includes stories from authors that have been forgotten, don’t get mentioned anymore, or were only recently discovered. And don’t worry because once you finish this book, there are three more collections of undiscovered gems.

See related: Cozy Mysteries Perfect for a Cold Day In

Thriller/Suspense: ‘A Dash of Madness’

A Dash of Madness thriller anthology
Xchyler Publishing

I honestly never heard of this until my friend (a thriller fiend) told me about it. She read it during a reading slump, and since then, she hasn’t been able to get her hands on enough books in this genre. So, of course, I had to add it to my TBR.

A Dash of Madness is eight psychological thriller short stories from M. Irish Gardner, Elizabeth Gilliland, Sarah Hunter Hyatt, Breck LeSueur, F.M. Longo, Ben Ireland, David MacIver, and Tim Andrew. The stories are guaranteed to have you looking over your shoulder and questioning everything.

Horror: ‘His Hideous Heart’

His Hideous Heart horror anthology
Flatiron Books

What better anthology to suggest for horror lovers than one inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the horror king himself? And yes, His Hideous Heart is marketed to young adults and teenagers, but horror is horror for every age group.

Thirteen popular authors wrote short stories inspired by the poems and tales of Edgar Allan Poe. My favorites have to be from Tessa Gratton (inspired by “Annabel Lee”), Stephanie Kuehn (inspired by “The Tell-Tale Heart”), and Fran Wilde (inspired by “The Fall of the House of Usher”).

Historical Fiction: ‘Four Weddings and a Sixpence’

Four Weddings and a Sixpence Historical Fiction anthology

If you love Julia Quinn, Bridgerton, or any Victorian romance, you’re going to want to grab this book ASAP. Four Weddings and a Sixpence is an anthology following four girls that met at Madame Rochambeaux’s Gentle School for Girls.

The prologue and final story are written by Julia Quinn. “Something Old” is the prologue and tells how the girls came across the sixpence they have in the rest of the book. “…and a Sixpence in Her Shoe” follows Beatrice Haywood, and the struggle to find the right guy after the coin leads her astray.

The other three stories, “Something New”, “Something Borrowed”, and “Something Blue”, follow the other three girls Beatrice roomed with at school as they deal with their weddings, the sixpence promise, and their families’ expectations. They are written by Stefanie Sloane, Elizabeth Boyle, and Laura Lee Guhrke.

Contemporary Romance: ‘Paris for One and Other Stories’

Paris for One Adult Contemporary Romance anthology
Penguin Books

If you’ve read any of Jojo Moyes’s writing, you already know what this short story collection is going to be full of. Paris for One is an anthology of Moyes’s set in Paris following various couples. “Paris for One” is the first story and follows Nell finally being true to herself after her boyfriend stands her up in a foreign country.

Another story – “Honeymoon in Paris” – is connected to Moyes’s novel The Girl You Left Behind. There are eight other short stories, my favorite of those being “Thirteen Days with John C.” and “The Christmas List”. Each story was both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and you’re bound to want to read all of Moyes’s other works if you haven’t already.

See related: 4 Romance Novels for Readers Who Think the Genre Is Too Cheesy

YA Contemporary Romance: ‘It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories’

It's a Whole Spiel YA Contemporary Romance anthology
Knopf Books for Young Readers

There are so many young adult anthologies, most of my favorites being contemporary. So, it was a bit difficult to choose which one to suggest. (Honestly, I have a long list that everyone should read, but I don’t have near enough time to talk about all of them.) But I think It’s a Whole Spiel is the perfect start to reading a more diverse contemporary romance genre.

After a foreword from Mayim Balik (yes, the incredible actress from The Big Bang Theory and co-host of Jeopardy), there are several short stories following Jewish teens in coming-of-age stories dealing with love, loss, heartbreak, and identity. David Levithan, Nova Ren Suma, and Dana Schwartz are just three of the authors involved.

See related: Asian Mythology Retellings You Need to Read Now

Children’s Fantasy: ‘Mermaid Tales from Around the World’

Mermaid Tales from Around the World Children's Fantasy anthology

Have you read The Magic Treehouse in a while? Well, get ready to be transported back in time again because Mary Pope Osborne wrote the stories in this anthology with just as much imagination, charm, and action as her more famous works.

Accompanied by illustrations by Troy Howell, Osborne takes inspiration from mermaid and siren myths and legends to create twelve short stories. Some of the cultures that inspired Osborn’s tales are Native American and Chinese. Trust me, you’ll want to read this book fast.

YA Fantasy: ‘A Universe of Wishes’

A Universe of Wishes YA Fantasy anthology
Random House Children’s Books

As part of the annual “We Need Diverse Books” campaign, 2020 gave us A Universe of Wishes full of fantasy, science fiction, and retellings perfect for anyone who loves any young adult fantasy series. I honestly need to reread this because I can’t remember which was my favorite when it first came out.

The anthology has stories that twist fairytale-type stories to give us disabled characters, people of color protagonists, memory-erasing spells, and endings we don’t expect to see in fairytales. Authors range from V.E. Schwab to Libba Bray to Samira Ahmed.

Adult Fantasy: ‘The Book of Dragons’

The Book of Dragons Adult Fantasy anthology
Harper Voyager

Tired of fae, lost princesses, and other stereotypical fantasy tropes? Then you’re in luck because this anthology doesn’t have any of that; it’s just dragons, dragons, and more dragons. And there are drawings, so you’ll feel like you’re reading the book from How to Train Your Dragon.

There are about 30 stories and poems inspired by dragon myths and legends from around the world, from Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, Theodora Goss, and more. Even if you’re just trying to get into fantasy, it will be easy to find the perfect author for you in this anthology.

YA Paranormal: ‘Slasher Girls and Monster Boys’

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys YA Paranormal anthology
Dial Books

Want more vampires than what the publishing world is giving us right now? How about werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night? Slasher Girls and Monster Boys is perfect for you. All the stories combine paranormal and supernatural elements with different genres, including horror.

April Genevieve Tucholke, Kendare Blake, Marie Lu, Danielle Page, Megan Shepherd, Leigh Bardugo, and so many more authors contributed to the anthology. And if those names are familiar to you, you know how well these stories are written.

Adult/New Adult Paranormal: ‘Wolfsbane and Mistletoe’

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Adult Paranormal anthology
Ace Books

Charlaine Harris had a hand in bringing this paranormal anthology to life. After writing the Sookie Stackhouse (or True Blood) series, she added an exclusive short story from that universe and brought together more paranormal authors.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe may be holiday-themed, but who says you can’t read it year-round? Fifteen stories, including Harris’s “Gift Wrap”, that are full of romance and a little bit of horror surrounding the holiday festivities will keep you turning the page late into the night.

YA Science Fiction: ‘Reclaim the Stars’

Reclaim the Stars YA Sci-Fi anthology
Wednesday Books

I’ll be the first to say finding the right science fiction author or series for you is pretty hard. That’s why anthologies are some of my favorite ways to get back into the genre. With Zoraida Córdova heading the collection, I knew it was bound to hook me with just one story.

Reclaim the Stars takes fairytales and blends them with science fiction and diverse roots. From princesses in space wars to mermaids in the Caribbean, I could barely put this book down. And every single story was inspired by Latin American myths and stories.

Adult Science Fiction: ‘The Future Is Female!’

The Future is Female Sci-Fi Anthology
Library of America

Most of the science fiction I’ve read has been from male authors, I’ll be honest. And while that’s not a bad thing, I wish I read more from female writers – especially since Mary Shelley created the genre singlehandedly. That’s why I had to add this book to my TBR.

The stories in The Future is Female! are collected from the 1920s to 1960s and are written by only female writers with female protagonists. It includes “The Conquest of Gola” from Leslie F. Stone (1931), “The New You” from Kit Reed (1962), and “Nine Lives” from Ursula K. Le Guin (1969).

Dystopian: ‘Darkest Worlds’

Darkest Worlds dystopian anthology
A.G. Henley

As someone who grew up during the 2010s dystopian genre boom, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to showcase new dystopian stories from authors that weren’t included in The Hunger Games and Divergent craze. Darkest Worlds is just what I had been looking for.

The anthology holds six stories in the young adult and new adult age ranges. Out of those six, my top three were “MOON” by S.K. Falls, “clean slate complex” by Megan Thomason, and “Survival Lessons” by Kate Avery Ellison. Who knows? Maybe the dystopian genre is going to make a comeback like Twilight.