Short Stories – Top 10 Short Stories

My post on ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson has surprisingly (or at least to me I didn’t realise that people actually studied this in school or frequently searched this) had the most hits on the whole site, many from quite obscure searches on search engines and somehow end up  on my site. So to fill in time after Cloudstreet and before the next novel, but truth be told, the whole reason the next one begins next year is because I’m going on holiday soon, and won’t be able to write posts, so starting a book and then having a couple of weeks gap just doesn’t seem right. I’ve decided to do 12 (including this one) more posts this year, 10 of which will be explained in a second, and the final one will be a little surprise and something not previously done here.

Now, I had set out to write 10 reviews of ‘The Top 10 Short Stories’ but this creates a problem, what exactly are the ‘Top 10 Short Stories’? Doing a ‘Google’ search for this, provides a multitude of lists. I was hoping for a more reputable source to provide a list, like possibly ‘Time Magazine’, like they usually do with actual novels. But alas, even ‘Wikipedia’ is lacking a top 10 short story section. I myself, do not have an opinion on short stories, because I don’t believe I have actually read 10 short stories. But there are of course plenty of lists, listing some ‘famous’ short stories or 25 or even 50 of the best short stories. Then I remembered I can’t quite choose any old 10, I have to choose 10 that are widely available on the internet otherwise I won’t be able to read them, or provide everyone else with a simple means of reading them. Therefore I decided to use http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/11/27/25-favorite-short-stories/ and selected the first 10 on the list of 25, that contain links to the story online, even though the site does state that they are in ‘no particular order’ but the first ten with links, shall do for now…

This means that the 10 short stories I shall be reviewing are (Links are only provided if the work is most now in the public domain, every effort has been made to ensure that uncopyrighted material is linked to, but using Project Gutenberg, Goodreads and legitimate sources, if you have any concerns about one of them, let me know):

1. Leo Tolstoy, Three Questions (downloadable on Goodreads)

2. Frank Stockton, The Lady or the Tiger?

3. W.W. Jacobs, The Monkey’s Paw

4. Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

5. Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

6. Ring Lardner, Haircut

7. Ernest Hemingway, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place 

8. Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist

9. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

10. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birth-mark

I have no idea what these stories are about, and I have never read them and most of the authors I have never even heard of. The exception being Leo Tolstoy, just because I have ‘War and Peace’ by him, a MASSIVELY LONG BOOK, which hasn’t been read as of yet… I’m sure that all the books on the full list of 25, are exceptionally good, considering ‘The Lottery’ was on there, and I loved that so much, these 10 should be quite good. Perhaps at a later time, the full list, including those that are not online, will be reviewed, but for now these 10 are it. Have you read any of these short stories, are they good, or are they just plain terrible. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Some of them appear to be quite long, guess it is hard to constitute what exactly a ‘short story’ is.

To end with, I just had to mention this ‘Honorable Mention’ of one of the shortest stories ever written by anyone nearly, it was written by Ernest Hemingway and in my opinion amazingly powerful, considering it is 6 (yes SIX!) words long.

“For Sale: Baby shoes, never Worn.”

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