A Reading List for the short story lovers

Icess Fernandez Rojas
3 min readJul 29, 2022
Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@alexandrajf?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Alexandra Fuller</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/reading?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

So, I’m not President Obama, and my reading and music lists are not anticipated, but I have been doing my own reading this summer.

I am redesigning one of my classes to focus on short fiction. This is something I just focus on during the summer, but I really enjoy the class when I do this. So a couple of years ago, I knew I’d want to redesign the class. However, the pandemic, floods, etc., have derailed me on more than one occasion.

But this semester, I started work on the redesign, and that meant looking for new stories to teach.

I knew I needed stories that were easily accessible, meaning that I could link to them or scan them in for students to read. I also wanted stories that aren’t often studied. I didn’t want to get papers or even discussion posts that are copied and pasted from an internet search.

I also wanted to highlight different kinds of stories — literary and genre, form, etc.

For most of the summer and part of the spring, I’ve been reading stories like crazy! So much so, it’s like I’ve created my own anthology, a playlist of stories, actually.

So below is a list of stories I have chosen for my students. I haven’t taught any of these before. Some are really new, and others are stories that haunted me that I re-read and knew that I wanted to teach them.

Enjoy the read!

“Death Constant Beyond Love” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Ximena DeLuna v. The New Mars Territory” Reyes Ramirez

“202 Checkmates” Rion Amilcar Scott

“They Have Given Us This Land” Juan Rulfo

“Sempervivum” Gris Munoz

“Second Bakery Robbery” Haruki Murakami

“Book of Martha” Octavia Butler

“Lullaby” Leslie Marmon Silko

“Three Letters and a Refrain” Chris Abani

“Long Walk to Forever” Kurt Vonnegut

“Trash” by Souvankham Thammavongsa

About Me

Icess Fernandez Rojas is an educator, writer, podcaster, and former journalist. She is a graduate of Goddard College’s MFA program.

Her work has been internationally published in PANK, Queen Mobs Lit Journal, Poetry 24, Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective’s anthology Notes from Humanity. Her Houston-based story, “Happy Hunting”, was published in the Houston Noir anthology.

Her nonfiction/memoir work has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, a Dos Brujas Workshop alum, and a Kimbilio Fellow. She’s currently working on her first novel and finishing her memoir, Problematic.



Icess Fernandez Rojas

Writer, Daughter of immigrants. Caregiver. Writing teacher. Afro-Latina. “The Opposite of Breathing” is out now from Four Palaces Press