I wrote some time back about one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver. I've read most of her fiction, working on some of her non-fiction, and have now just completed a book of her short stories as #2 in my 52-books-goal: (#3 and 4 are almost complete, really.) Homeland and Other Stories.
The book - the stories - were fabulous. A dozen stories in all, about 20 pages each, which make them nice reads. If you aren't ready to tackle a whole book of hers yet, maybe the short stories are a place to start. My favorites: "Islands on the Moon," "Why I Am a Danger to the Public," and "Rose-Johnny," but really, they're all great. Kingsolver, with her background in biology, seems knowledgeable on such a wide range of topics, and her stories benefit from her intelligence.
A couple quotes:
from "Covered Bridges,": "And to think I nearly didn't. A person could spend most of a lifetime in retrospective terror, thinking of all the things one nearly didn't do." (pg. 46)
And the best, from "Islands on the Moon," a conversation between mother and daughter:
"'I don't know', Magda says. 'Seems like that's just how it is with you and me. We're like islands on the moon.'
'There's no water on the moon,' says Annemarie.
'That's what I mean. A person could walk from one to the other if they just decided to do it.'" (pg. 146)