The Best Anthology Books You Must Read: Updated 2020

book on desk
by CJ McDaniel // April 15  

Anthologies are among the most popular forms of storytelling in the world today. Lately, it would seem as if TV has had a few great hits in this department. Don’t let that confuse you into thinking anthologies started with the big screen. In essence, anthologies are a collection of stories written in a common theme.

American Horror Story is a good example of an anthology done right. It’s a TV show, but you get the basic idea. A similar plot, but each season trends differently in the story that it’s going to tell. Viewers eat it up, as each volume (or season) is unique. With literature, anthologies can be collections of poems or a book series. Immerse yourself into the best anthology books and many more!

What Did These Anthology Books Do To Qualify For This List

Any time you are ranking the best of something the results are usually somewhat subjective but we have did our best to come up with a list the readers of the anthology genre will truly like. To come up with this list we took into account:

  • quantity and quality of user reviews
  • sales data
  • public perception
  • opinions of readers of this genres
  • commercial success
  • and of course personal opinion

Take a look at the best Anthology Books you can read right now:

Best Anthology Books

Here are the best Anthology books by the experts:

1)Cabana Anthology, by Martina Mondadori Sartogo

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:Cabana Anthology, drawn from the sought-after, sumptuous biannual Cabana magazine, celebrates the most luxurious personal statements in interior design, lifestyle, architecture, and all related luxuries. Founded in 2014 by Martina Mondadori Sartogo, Cabana Anthology features the very best photography, interviews, profiles, and features from the publication’s first five formative years and offers an extraordinary mix of topics, interiors, objects, and visual essays from contributors ranging from Justine Picardie, Patrick Kinmonth, and Christian Louboutin to Lauren Santo Domingo and Gianluca Longo, photographed by the likes of Miguel Flores-Vianna and Tim Beddow. With astonishing production values not seen since the legendary Flair magazine of the 1950s, this new book—which will be a true collector’s item—is a must-have for regular subscribers, as well as art and design aficionados who missed out the first time around. Undoubtedly one of the best anthology books. Due to the unique cloth binding of this book, covers may vary slightly from the example shown here, and will be shipped to customers at random.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

2)Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present 1st Edition by Lex Williford and Michael Martone

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:From memoir to journalism, personal essays to cultural criticism, this indispensable anthology brings together works from all genres of creative nonfiction, with pieces by fifty contemporary writers including Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Barbara Kingsolver, and more.Selected by five hundred writers, English professors, and creative writing teachers from across the country, this collection includes only the most highly regarded nonfiction work published since 1970.Contributers include: Jo Ann Beard, Wendell Berry, Eula Biss, Mary Clearman Blew, Charles Bowden, Janet Burroway, Kelly Grey Carlisle, Anne Carson, Bernard Cooper, Michael W. Cox, Annie Dillard, Mark Doty, Brian Doyle, Tony Earley, Anthony Farrington, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Diane Glancy, Lucy Grealy, William Harrison, Robin Hemley, Adam Hochschild, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver , Ted Kooser, Sara Levine, E.J. Levy, Phillip Lopate, Barry Lopez, Thomas Lynch, Lee Martin, Rebecca McCLanahan, Erin McGraw, John McPhee, Brenda Miller, Dinty W. Moore, Kathleen Norris, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lia Purpura, Richard Rhodes, Bill Roorbach, David Sedaris, Richard Selzer, Sue William Silverman, Floyd Skloot, Lauren Slater, Cheryl Strayed, Amy Tan, Ryan Van Meter, David Foster Wallace, and Joy Williams.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

3)Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 by Ghostly Writers

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:Plaisted Publishing House and The Ghostly Writes Crew have done it again, bringing us yet another collection of haunted tales and spooky poems. From ghostly encounters to haunted carnival rides, wicked forests and ghoulish manors, there is something inside for everyone. So curl up beneath your blanket and get ready to experience all the spine tingling encounters hidden inside…. The Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

4)The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: 50 North American Stories Since 1970 by Michael Martone

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:Fifty remarkable short stories from a range of contemporary fiction authors including Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, and more, selected from a survey of more than five hundred English professors, short story writers, and novelists.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

5)The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction by Arthur B. Evans, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, et al.

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction features over a 150 years’ worth of the best science fiction ever collected in a single volume. The fifty-two stories and critical introductions are organized chronologically as well as thematically for classroom use. Filled with luminous ideas, otherworldly adventures, and startling futuristic speculations, these stories will appeal to all readers as they chart the emergence and evolution of science fiction as a modern literary genre. They also provide a fascinating look at how our Western technoculture has imaginatively expressed its hopes and fears from the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century to the digital age of today. A free online teacher’s guide at accompanies the anthology and offers access to a host of pedagogical aids for using this book in an academic setting.The stories in this anthology have been selected and introduced by the editors of Science Fiction Studies, the world’s most respected journal for the critical study of science fiction.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

6)Champions: An Anthology of Winning Fantasy Stories by Eric Lange, Ken Lim, B Lynch, et al.

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:Champions is an anthology of more than thirty of the best fantasy stories that the online writing community has to offer; from spells gone wrong to prisons for gods and much more.This anthology brings together the winning stories from the monthly competitions of Reddit’s FantasyWriters forum with each story demonstrates the vivid and extraordinary worlds that the fantasy genre has to offer. The competitions these stories won range from the end of 2011 until the middle of 2015, meaning that the entries in Champions cover almost every kind of fantasy genre you can think of. With over thirty stories this anthology showcases a wide range of tales and demonstrates what it is we most love about fantasy tales: that anything is possible.The relevant writing prompt also appears alongside each entry, giving you the opportunity to try your hand at writing something yourself, and each writer weaves a wonderful story for you to enjoy.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

7)The Norton Anthology of American Literature by Robert S. Levine, Michael A. Elliott, Sandra M. Gustafson, et al.

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:A responsive, refreshed, and media-rich revision of the market-leading anthology of American literature.The most-trusted anthology for complete works, balanced selections, and helpful editorial apparatus, The Norton Anthology of American Literature features a cover-to-cover revision. The Ninth Edition introduces new General Editor Robert Levine and three new-generation editors who have reenergized the volume across the centuries. Fresh scholarship, new authors―with an emphasis on contemporary writers―new topical clusters, and a new ebook make the Norton Anthology an even better teaching tool and an unmatched value for students.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

8)Glimpses: an Anthology of 16 Short Fantasy Stories: An exclusive collection of fantasy fiction by Kevin Partner, Adrian G Hilder, Cameron Wayne Smith, et al.

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:16 Short Fantasy Stories written exclusively for this anthology
    Take a Glimpse into 16 fantasy worlds with this anthology of short fiction by some of the brightest new fantasy fiction talent.
    Download this amazing collection of fantastic stories and find your next favourite fantasy author today.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

9)Literature: A Portable Anthology by Janet E. Gardner , Beverly Lawn, Jack Rid, et al.

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:With a handy size and a very affordable price, this collection offers a well-balanced selection of classic and contemporary literature — 40 stories, 200 poems, 9 plays — for the introductory literature or literature for composition course. The literature is chronologically arranged by genre and supported by informative and concise editorial matter, including a complete guide to writing about literature and, in the fourth edition, increased coverage of close reading. As a member of the popular Bedford/St. Martin’s series of Portable Anthologies and Guides, this volume offers a trademark combination of high quality and great value.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

10)Apothecary: Fantasy Anthology by Thomas Fay

  • Best Anthology BooksBook Summary:A shady apothecary plies its craft, a giant wolf stalks a village, while a frost giant—the last of his kind—embarks on a quest to rid the world of magic. Dragons, elves and demons abound in this dark fantasy anthology of short stories and flash fiction, blending elements of fairy tale, fable and epic fantasy into one spellbinding volume.
  • Book Reviews: 

View More Reviews

Best Anthology Movies

If you enjoyed the best anthology books, why stop there? Take a look at our list of best anthology movies and witness these marvelous films from the big screen.


Starring: Deems Taylor and Leopold Stokowski
Directed by: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Luske, and Wilfred Jackson

Movie Summary:A groundbreaking Disney film featuring eight classical music pieces, accompanied by animation, to create a unique blend of sound and pictures.

Movie Reviews: 

See More

2)Pulp Fiction

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Movie Summary:Writer/director Quentin Tarantino delivers an unforgettable cast of characters — including a pair of low-rent hit men, their boss’s sexy wife, and a desperate prizefighter — in a wildly entertaining and exhilarating motion picture adventure that both thrills and amuses!

Movie Reviews: 

See More

3)Mystery Train

Starring: Masatoshi Nagase, Youki Kudoh, and Nicoletta Braschi
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Movie Summary:Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams–which, in Mystery Train, from Jim Jarmusch, is Memphis. This triptych of stories pays playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King, who presides over the film like a spirit.

Movie Reviews: 

See More

4)Wild Tales

Starring: Ricardo Darín, Oscar Martínez, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Directed by: Damián Szifron

Movie Summary:Made up of six stories, it is an entertaining and jaw-dropping film about people crossing the line into madness when faced with perceived injustice.

Movie Reviews: 

See More

5)Coffee and Cigarettes

Starring: Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Joie Lee
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Movie Summary:“Coffee and Cigarettes” is a comic series of short vignettes that build on one another to create a cumulative effect as the characters discuss things as diverse as caffeine popsicles, Paris in the twenties, and the use of nicotine as an insecticide, all the while sitting around sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes. As writer and director Jim Jarmusch delves into the normal pace of our world from an extraordinary angle, he shows just how absorbing the obsessions, joys, and addictions of life can be.

Movie Reviews: 

See More

Best Anthology Audio Books

Now that you’ve seen our list of the best anthology books and movies, I’m sure you’ll be interested in trying out more of the best anthology books in audio!

1)50 Greatest Short Stories by Terry O’Brien

Book Summary:Selected from the best of the world’s short fiction, 50 Great Short Stories brings together writings by great masters of the genre. Carefully picked for their timeless quality, listeners are sure to be delighted by the inclusion of such favourites as ‘The Gift of the Magi’, ‘The Lady with the Dog’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, ‘Rain’ and ‘Mrs Packletide’s Tiger’, to name but a few.

This outstanding and wide-ranging anthology of stories is a collector’s item, designed for those familiar to refresh their acquaintance with some of the world’s finest writing and for newer listeners to be introduced to it.

Book Reviews: 

2)Monstronomicon: 100 Horror Stories from 70 Authors

Book Summary:Tips for monster hunting:

Check the deepest part of the ocean. Or let someone with a submarine check it for you.
Order a monster egg online. Make sure it won’t hatch before it arrives.
Don’t. What are you, crazy? You don’t need to look. The monsters will find you.
Monstronomicon is a collection of 100 stories from around the world. These aren’t your everyday werewolves and wendigos either. Each story is told by the survivor of an encounter with a unique and mysterious creature more wild and varied than you can imagine. This audiobook has something for everyone with a dark mind, so listen now to find the perfect monster for you.

Some monsters are quirky and friendly, while others are apocalyptic behemoths crawling up from the depths. Some stories are heartwarming, funny, or profound, while others are a bloodbath.
Book Reviews: 

See More

3)The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 2-A: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of The Science Fiction Writers of America

Book Summary:Eleven essential classics in one volume

This volume is the definitive collection of the best science fiction novellas published between 1929 and 1964, containing 11 great classics. No anthology better captures the birth of science fiction as a literary field.

Published in 1973 to honor stories that had appeared before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced tens of thousands of young readers to the wonders of science fiction and was a favorite of libraries across the country.

This volume contains the following:

Introduction by Ben Bova
Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson
Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. (as Don A. Stuart)
Nerves by Lester del Rey
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein
The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth
Vintage Season by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (as Lawrence O’Donnell)
And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russell
The Ballad of Lost C’Mell by Cordwainer Smith
Baby Is Three by Theodore Sturgeon
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson
Book Reviews: 

See More

4)The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Book Summary:This modern classic and New York Times best seller was a finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and has become a staple of American classrooms. Hailed by The New York Times as “a marvel of storytelling”, The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

The soldiers in this collection of stories carried M-16 rifles, M-60 machine guns, and M-79 grenade launchers. They carried plastic explosives, hand grenades, flak jackets, and landmines. But they also carried letters from home, illustrated Bibles, and pictures of their loved ones. Some of them carried extra food or comic books or drugs. Every man carried what he needed to survive, and those who did carried their shattering stories away from the jungle and back to a nation that would never understand.

This audiobook also includes an exclusive recording “The Vietnam in Me,” a recount of the author’s trip back to Vietnam in 1994, revisiting his experience there as a soldier 25 years before, read by Tim O’Brien himself.

The Things They Carried was produced by Audible Studios in partnership with Playtone, the celebrated film and television production company founded by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and producer of the award-winning series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change.
Book Reviews: 

See More

5)Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King

Book Summary:The first collection of stories Stephen King has published since Nightmares & Dreamscapes nine years ago, Everything’s Eventual includes one O. Henry Prize winner, two other award winners, four stories published by The New Yorker, and “Riding the Bullet,” King’s original e-book, which attracted over half a million online readers and became the most famous short story of the decade.

“Riding the Bullet” is the story of Alan Parker, who’s hitchhiking to see his dying mother but takes the wrong ride, farther than he ever intended. In “Lunch at the Gotham Café”, a sparring couple’s contentious lunch turns very, very bloody when the maître d’ gets out of sorts. “1408” is about a successful writer whose specialty is “Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Graveyards” or “Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Houses”, and though Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel doesn’t kill him, he won’t be writing about ghosts anymore. And in “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French”, terror is déjà vu at 16,000 feet.

Whether writing about encounters with the dead, the near dead, or about the mundane dreads of life, from quitting smoking to yard sales, Stephen King is at the top of his form in the 14 dark tales assembled in Everything’s Eventual. Intense, eerie, and instantly compelling, they announce the stunningly fertile imagination of perhaps the greatest storyteller of our time.

The complete list of narrators includes Becky Ann Baker, John Collum, Boyd Gaines, Peter Gerety, Josh Hamilton, Arliss Howard, Judith Ivey, Stephen King, Justin Long, Oliver Platt, and Jay O. Sanders.
Book Reviews: 

See More



What do you think about our list of best anthology books? If you have another genre that you prefer to read we have probably compiled a list of our favorites for that genre too. So if you are looking for something other than the best anthology books you can find other genres here.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!