So when I'm in the mood for short stories for pleasure reading, I usually reach for an anthology. I love to see the way different authors tackle the same theme / idea. Anthologies also tend to be more consistently story / character-driven (as opposed to experimental / theme-based), which is what I prefer. From a skilled editor, I also love the macro elements of the way an anthology flows from one mood to another. (I've seen it done badly, alas.)
So I'm starting to put together a Christmas list, and I thought I ought to see if y'all have any recommendations of anthologies you've tried and enjoyed - because a bad one is no fun. Some specifics:
1. As stated above, I'm going to be more interested in theme collections, so "best of" isn't really my cup of tea. See also note about experimental stories (or not).
2. Fantasy or scifi is fine, but not so much urban-specific collections. I have no problem with urban fantasy, but I think there are so many possible worlds out there, an anthology ought to explore a lot of them.
3. I'm especially interested in fantasy / mystery crosses. I already own Murder By Magic and Powers of Detection and have The Dragon Done It on my wishlist. I know Dana Stabenow did another crossover antho, but I wasn't impressed with her as an editor. Yeah, okay, this is a long shot, but if you've encountered others ...