x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

There's plenty to read, even if you're short of time

This autumn, readers will be spoilt for choice with new collections of short fiction and essays.

In January, Bloomsbury dubbed 2012 the year of the short story - and anyone who has had their attention span fried by YouTube and Twitter can get behind literature that keeps things snappy.

This autumn, make the most of a spare hour here and there with these 10 soon-to-be-published anthologies of short fiction, letters and essays. War and Peace is something we can work towards.

1 This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

This collection of short stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is already getting rave reviews. Love and loss are the central themes, with about half the stories told in the second person. A recurring character is Yunior, who, like Diaz, teaches in Cambridge, has a brother who battles cancer and has experienced heartbreak.

Released by Riverhead, September 11

2 Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

Twenty contemporary writers - including Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lorrie Moore and Jonathan Lethem - each choose a favourite story from the archives and write an introduction explaining what makes it great. The resulting anthology mixes well-loved fiction from the likes of Jorge Luis Borges and Raymond Carver with stories that the editors say "were new even to us".

Released by Picador, October 2

3 Grimm Tales For Young and Old by Philip Pullman

There's a trend for dark fairy tales on film and television, but it's worth remembering the original versions of tales, such as Cinderella and Rapunzel. Or The Frog King, in which it's not a kiss but the frog being thrown against a wall that breaks the spell. Pullman's simple, faithful translations of the Brothers Grimm's folk stories include plenty that have been forgotten, such as Hans-My-Hedgehog, The Girl Without Hands and The Three Snake Leaves. Each is followed by a paragraph or two of illuminating analysis.

Released by Penguin, September 27

4 Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

Who goes to UFO conventions other than the pop star Robbie Williams? Why would a town celebrate Christmas every day of the year? What kind of person attempts to split the atom in their kitchen? Jon Ronson, a journalist and documentary maker whose previous non-fiction work includes The Men Who Stare at Goats, returns with stories of people finding meaning in strange ways, and manages to be funny without being cruel.

Released by Picador, October 11

5 Building Stories by Chris Ware

This collection is a box of comics that tells the stories of the inhabitants of a Chicago apartment building - a bickering couple, an elderly woman who never married, a 30-year-old woman looking for someone to spend her life with - and it doesn't have a conventional beginning or end. Written by the graphic novelist behind Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth, Building Stories is a beautiful physical object.

Released by Jonathan Cape, October 4

6 Hush Hush by Steven Barthelme

A rambling monologue by a 10-year-old obsessed with Nietzsche, Siberia and the letter "E" kicks off this new collection of loosely interrelated, semi-autobiographical stories by the Texas-born author. Most have already appeared in publications including McSweeney's and The Atlantic, but there's one that's new: That Story About Freddy Hylo, in which a 36-hour losing streak at a casino is just the start of a very bad night.

Released by Melville House, October 23

7 Astray by Emma Donoghue

Court records of sex crimes in 17th-century Massachusetts, letters to a New York adoption agency and Dickens's correspondence with a family of Canadian émigrés were among the factual inspirations for this fiction collection by the author of the Booker-shortlisted Room. Gold miners, dishwashers, a prostitute and an elephant go astray, as the title suggests, either physically, mentally or by breaking convention.

Released by Little, Brown, October 30

8 Letters by Kurt Vonnegut

"I am cuter than you are," the great American author writes to Norman Mailer in one of the correspondences reproduced here. They range from protest letters to school boards that tried to ban his work to the first letter he wrote after being released from a German prisoner of war camp at the age of 22, in which he recounts the firebombing of Dresden.

Released by Delacorte, October 30

9 Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace

Fifteen reprinted essays by the brilliant writer, who died in 2008, including a tender, fantastically detailed look at how Roger Federer changed tennis forever; an eloquent rant about how the cost of a film has an inverse relationship to its quality; and an exploration of TV's effect on contemporary writers.

Released by Little, Brown, November 6

10 Dear Life by Alice Munro

Few writers are revered as much as the "North American Chekhov", who trades in understated, astute snapshots of life. The title story in this collection comes from an essay about Munro's own life, which recounts the small town she grew up in, the way things changed during the war, a frightening story from her childhood and the fact that she never attended her mother's funeral.

Released by Knopf, November 13