Elliott Holt‘s first novel, You Are One of Them, will be published by The Penguin Press in June 2013

One of my two favorite short stories published in 2012 is “Member/Guest” by David Gilbert, which appeared in The New Yorker the week of November 12, but since that story is not available online without a subscription, I present five other amazing stories published by The New Yorker this year. I’ve been a subscriber to the magazine for as long as I can remember, but I’m glad to see more of the fiction available online for free. Some of those free stories are by masters of the form—including George Saunders, Antonya Nelson, and Alice Munro*, who wrote my other favorite story of the year, “Amundsen.” When I open The New Yorker to find a new Munro story, my heart skips a beat. It’s like having an old friend show up for an unexpected visit.

1. “Amundsen,” by Alice Munro in The New Yorker

2. “The Semplica-Girl Diaries,” by George Saunders

3. “Literally,” by Antonya Nelson

4. “The Proxy Marriage,” by Maile Meloy

5. “Fischer vs. Spassky,” by Lara Vapnyar

*no one who knows me should be surprised to see an Alice Munro story among my picks

Photo credit: Rebecca Zeller