I Love Short Stories. Don’t You?

Woman reading painting

One of the most delightful, relaxing, and enlightening activities that can happen in bed at night is not the one defined in the dictionary by a three-letter word which conjures up spicy images, naughty, but that which passes with the lamp on and with a cup of tea nearby – reading a short story.   

What I like most about short stories is that they’re short. You can read them in a sitting. No commitments, few to no descriptions, and often no plot, just a scene. Their shortness makes them concise. Their conciseness makes them powerful. And while it’s true that short stories tend to moralize, I often find that their message is quite sensible and worthy to be remembered.

A short story is sometimes only a scene. But it can be a succession of closely related scenes, more close together in time and space than those of a novel. Some short stories paint a scene and let you draw your own conclusions, Chekhov’s for example. Some carry a moral lesson: ‘look what happens if you do this!’ Two examples that come to mind are the Canterbury Tales and Boccacio’s Decameron. Others are something in between. Maupassant’s short stories and S. Maugham’s for instance.

I like them all. They are short. They are easy to read. They are fun. They make me think.

There are some short stories that I return to. Most of these are in the public domain so you can read them online or download them to your e-book reader. I bet my hat you won’t regret reading any of these.

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Do you like short stories? Have any favorites?

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53 thoughts on “I Love Short Stories. Don’t You?

  1. I adore short stories! Their simplicity and as you put it, conciseness, draw me to them.
    I’ll have to point out Leo Tolstoy’s and Rabindranath Tagore’s work to you. I really enjoy reading their short stories for their rustic feel, and the easy-going themes.

    1. I am well acquired with Leo. Not with Tagore though. Can you recommend me one of his stories?

      Also, I would like to say that I much enjoy your comments, not only for their constancy, but also for their thoughtfulness.

      I tip my hat to you, Meghna. 🙂

      1. Try ‘The Postmaster’, ‘The Castaway’ and ‘Kabuliwala’ by Tagore.
        I’m getting other names by some other writers. They are:
        1. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
        2. ‘Night Train at Deoli’ by Ruskin Bond
        3. ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry
        Try these for now… 🙂

        And that is very sweet of you, Vincent. Thank you!
        Sometimes I feel I overdo it but that is what your writing does to me – it makes me think!

        Keep writing and I’ll keep commenting. 🙂

            1. More than the cause, it was the way it is written, I think, that made me appreciate it. I find it difficult to write like that, where you are all feelings. Its something I’m yet to learn and master. So that is the main reason I like it and the others I named.

  2. Yes, I agree with you completely. I love short stories (even more than novels, I think, as novels can often be far too self indulgent). One of my favorite short stories is Pat Murphy’s “Rachel in Love.” But, of course, who can forget the short story greats of Stephen King and Richard Matheson?

      1. I agree! And thank you. My husband and I both changed to Mead-Brewer — it was just too good to pass up 🙂

  3. I do love a short story. Stephen King is well versed at the art. Pet Sematary is my favorite should I be forced to pick. I’m glad someone mentioned Poe as well.
    Have you read any George R. R. Martin. His Fire and Ice saga is amazing, but many don’t know that he started like many authors do, writing short stories. He has several excellent collections out there.
    And kudos for including the Decameron! I was introduced to it in HS in a AP Western Civ class. I was drawn to the naughtiness.

    1. I, too, much enjoyed the naughtiness of the Decameron when I was about 17 or so. Much enjoyed it. 😀

      I’ve actually procured a George R.R. Martin short story collection and will listen to it soon.

  4. I’m a lucky person that enjoys reading anything I can get my hands on, but I know a lot of people who say “reading isn’t their thing”.. They should read this post and look up those great short stories that are a bit less daunting, but still just as fascinating and moving as the longer novels. Then they’d realise what they’re missing!

    1. I agree!

      Hurray for women like you Frances! You keep literature alive. Most readers are women, you know. As many as 7 out of 10, I’ve heard.

      I tip my hat to you.

  5. I think you missed Lydia Davis and William Trevor too. They’re excellent. Also, the Canterbury Tales doesn’t always have a moral, nor does the Decameron and when they do there’s usually a knowing wink with it

      1. Just the oldest spellings/versions of my real name that I could find!
        I meant to mention Flannery O’Connor – one of my favourite short story writers.

  6. I like the short stories with a different ending. O’Henry is one of my favorites. He had a way of making you think one way and at the end trick you. What is black becomes white and vica versa. I have written a few in this vein. If you get chance give them a read and let me know what you think of them. The Ring is one and many stories on My Dad are in that category. Some people think what I write is real but I write and the blur between real and not real becomes vague.

  7. Betting your hat isn’t wise… if someone did regret one of the stories, they would possess the untold power that lies within that hat!! You’re better to keep that hat in safe hands! 🙂

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