photo by @tomhanks_international

Tom Hanks blessed the world with his collection of stories about ordinary people put in the most unique and extraordinary circumstances. For more uncommon reads, add these books to your #TBR pile.

Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang

This captivating short story collection captures the immigrant experience in America with grace and honesty. Moving through time and multiple continents, the stories told by Jenny Zhang in this book have serious heart and are highly entertaining. From a woman who risks it all for her love of karaoke to another who aspires to learn English so she can speak to God, Sour Hearts is an impactful release from a new and inspiring voice.

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides

As an avid observer of the world, Eugenides explores complicated characters and their responses to both national and personal crises. From failed poets who become embezzlers to a high school student who wants to start a new life, Fresh Complaint offers a character for everyone to invest themselves in.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

For the science fiction lover, these original stories bend the boundaries of genre in order to tell stories about real women and the violence inflicted upon their bodies. This collection of stories brings about a new way to define contemporary fiction and a beautiful way to talk about the most difficult of subjects.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay skillfully depicts the diverse lives of women in this collection of stories about love, family and adversity. The New York Times bestselling author creates characters her readers can identify with, whether rich, poor, married, single or just trying to find their way in the world. Gay’s view of modern America creates a well-rounded story of unique women and their everyday experiences.

The King Is Always Above the People by Daniel Alarcón

Bringing otherwise unknown stories to the table, Daniel Alarcón presents a collection about immigration and the broken family and dreams that come as a result of it. From accounts with Los Angeles gang members to the treacherous journeys that families will make in order to find a better life, these stories will send you through a whirlwind of emotions.

Finding My Badass Self by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

Sherry couldn’t help but feel in a bit of a rut until she made a decision that would drastically change her. Over the course of one year, she challenged herself to do something that terrified her every week and came out of it feeling renewed and excited about life. For anyone looking to reinvent themselves, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley is proof that it is possible and a damn good time at that.

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories by Denis Johnson

In his last collection of short stories, written before his death, Denis Johnson’s newest publication tells stories of ghosts from our pasts and the strange ways in which the universe works. This new collection covers new ground for the highly-esteemed writer.