Storyville: Top Ten Best Short Stories Ever

How dare I make a list of the top ten short stories ever, right? Who the hell do I think I am? Well, obviously I’m a fan of fiction, of the short story form. I’m also an author. And I now have my MFA in Creative Writing as well. Does that make me an authority? Yes, on stories that I love—that’s it, nothing more. These may work for you or they may not. You’ve probably heard of many of them, but I hope you’ll track down the ones that are not familiar and give them a read. I tried to pick a few stories from each of the main genres I love, but overall, I wanted stories that I have a fond memory of reading. Can I remember parts of it, lines, or scenes? Does the weight of what I read still rest in my heart? I can honestly say yes, that all of these stories have had a profound impact on my writing career, as they are, in my opinion, as flawless as stories can get.

Most of these stories are heavily anthologized or are available in a collection by that author. A few of these are actually online, so I’ve linked to them where I can, and provided links to books at Amazon for the rest. I’ll try to avoid spoiling any of them.

ENJOY!

In no particular order:

1. "The Paperhanger" by William Gay.

If you want to know what contemporary literary horror looks like, this is the place to go. For me, the power of this story lies in the familiar, the trust of one person believing in another, specifically the people you let into your home—electricians, painters, and plumbers. When you look down on somebody there is always the risk that you will insult them and set them off. And in this story, we see the worst possible fear of a mother come home to roost, with an ending that is absolutely devastating.

Buy I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories from Amazon.com

 

2. "Lawns" by Mona Simpson

For many people, this may be the only bit of her writing that they've ever read. And it’s worth hunting down. When somebody is damaged and lost in the world, we always wonder how that came to be. Was there something in their past that made them steal, made them vulnerable; was there an incident, some family member, an ongoing abuse? In this case, yes, there was. A college aged girl tells of her problems, these issues she has, but we have no idea how deep it goes, how messed up she really is. But what keeps this story from being merely a dark tale of power gone awry is the way the protagonist handles her future, the way she forgives and moves on. She is unique, and yet, she is all of us.

 

3. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates

I’ve always been a fan of JCO, and her writing is literary fiction that isn’t afraid to take you over the cliff, never to return. This is probably her most famous story, and an extremely popular and well-known one, in general. When a teenage girl stays home, trying to exude angst and resentment, something she has set in motion leads her to a horrifying moment. It is one of the creepiest and most unsettling stories I’ve ever read. And nobody gets killed. The violence and tension are all up front, all in your head, right there beyond the screen door, asked for and granted. If you want to figure out how to write tension, this is a great example.

 

4. "Emergency" by Denis Johnson

If you haven’t read his collection Jesus’ Son, by all means pick it up now. It is essential reading. If you own ten books, it’s one of them. It’s just that good. This story is very dark, and yet funny, and then ultimately, heartbreaking. The violence of the hospital, the fate of the two goofballs that are driving around in the truck, the bunnies—what can I say about the bunnies. Makes me sad, crushes me, whenever I think about it. He is a powerful voice, one that you need to know.

 

5. "Harvey’s Dream" by Stephen King

You knew I’d have at least one of King’s stories on this list. I could have picked ten, and maybe that will be a list I do some other day, but this story, which originally ran in the New Yorker, has always stayed with me. The way he sets it up, with the clues right out in front, sitting right there for you to stare at for page after page; it’s an escalation, a slowly dawning realization, and when the knowledge sinks in, it is your undoing. I love his voice, and think that this is a story that flows along nicely, for the most part a happy story, until it turns the corner. Sometimes dreams come true, and sometimes those dreams are nightmares.

 

6. "Puppy" by George Saunders

If you aren’t familiar with George Saunders you should really pick up some of his work. He’s a funny guy, but also surreal, and his tales always pack an emotional punch. I ran across this story in a Best American Short Stories anthology and have been a fan ever since. It’s all about perspective, poor vs. rich, and how you can look at the same situation from two sides and have one person see something as abuse, and another see the same actions as unending love. Such a bittersweet story, this one, as many of the best ones are.

 

7. "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut

This one you may have read in high school or college, and that’s okay! Really! It has stayed with me for thirty years. What I love about this story is that it totally catches you off guard. It lures you into this strange world where everyone is handicapped—the beautiful wear masks, the strong wear heavy weights, the smart wear headphones that pipe in excruciatingly loud noises to disrupt their thoughts. This might be one of the few stories that actually made me cry. It’s that powerful.

 

8. "The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien

I don’t think you can have a list without this one on it. It’s a list story, sure, and it’s surreal at times; a tragedy, most definitely, but overall it’s just a powerful love story, one that leaves you in the trenches with the soldiers; a victim of war, of fate, of everything that makes us human. I see this collection at a lot of garage sales and used bookstores, so pick it up if you run across it.

Buy The Things They Carried from Amazon.com

 

9. "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury

I grew up reading Bradbury and Heinlein but didn’t read this story until a few years ago. Many in the literary community consider it a story that transcends genre, and it’s in the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, the academic bible of contemporary and classic stories. It’s a story of power, of parents vs. children, and it’s a magical tale, one that asks you take a leap of faith, to suspend any doubts you may have, as certainly the parents do, by the end of the story. It’s a social commentary of course, as much of Bradbury’s work was, but it’s also a fascinating tale.

 

10. "Father, Son, Holy Rabbit" by Stephen Graham Jones

I know that Stephen isn’t a big name, and to put him on a list like this is probably a bit premature, but dammit if this story (and he’s written so MANY fantastic stories over the years) doesn’t stick with me. The power of a father’s love for his son, the lengths he will go to in order to save the boy’s life when they are lost in the forest, covered in snow, well, it’s shocking, and so moving, that it stays with me, and haunts my waking life. This collection, The Ones That Got Away is a mandatory purchase, so just go pick it up.

Buy The Ones That Got Away from Amazon.com


IN CONCLUSION

It kills me that I have to leave Mary Gaitskill off this list, as she has written some seriously dangerous, sexual, and dark fiction. If there were a #11 she would be it, probably with “Romantic Weekend” (which is in Bad Behavior.) I’m leaving off Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Amy Hempel, and many more. Other lesser known authors like Paul Tremblay (“It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks”), Matt Bell, Lindsay Hunter, Shannon Cain, Tina May Hall, xtx, Craig Davidson, Ethel Rohan, Holly Goddard Jones, and many others, should be on there, but I only have room for ten. Some of those authors DID appear on my Ten Awesome Authors You’ve Never Heard Of Before list, so do go check them out.

What are some of your favorites? Who did I leave off, what story that just can’t be ignored when making a top ten list? There are so many, I know I’ve missed a few.

No links below, as I’ve linked several stories above. A lot of these stories can be found in the two anthologies I list below, as well. If you are a writer, then both of these collections are books you have to own. They will change the way you look at short fiction.


TO SEND A QUESTION TO RICHARD: drop him a line at Richard@litreactor.com. Who knows, it could be his next column.

Image of The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories
Author:
Price: $13.66
Publisher: Vintage (1994)
Binding: Paperback, 576 pages
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Author:
Price: $13.63
Publisher: Anchor (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 496 pages
Richard Thomas

Column by Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas is the author of three books—Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots and Staring Into the Abyss. His over 75 publications include Shivers VI (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King and Peter Straub, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, and Pear Noir. He is also the editor of two anthologies, both out in 2014: The Lineup (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for The Nervous Breakdown, LitReactor, and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com or contact Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.

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Comments

Ben666's picture
Ben666 from Montreal, Canada is reading Scar Tissue, by Marcus Sakey December 4, 2012 - 4:43pm

Yes, EMERGENCY is A-MAZING. I like Bullets & Fire, by Joe Lansdale. Wrapped me up like a novel would.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 4, 2012 - 4:51pm

i know that if nothing else happens i'll get some great suggestions for stories i've never read before. sadly, i've read way less Lansdale then i should have. thanks, ben.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and loving it! December 4, 2012 - 4:58pm

You gave me a new reading list! I only read 3 of these. 

I always preferred O'Connor to Oates, personally. But I think you need a top 100.

Keith's picture
Keith from Phoenix, AZ is reading Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones December 4, 2012 - 5:03pm

I just interviewed Saunders, he's one of the best. Solid list, Richard.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 4, 2012 - 5:03pm

If you haven't read this story by JCO, you must read it. She is surprisingly intense. And I love FOC, for sure.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading House of Leaves December 4, 2012 - 5:12pm

 

My favourite Bradbury short story was always The Emissary.  It was read to me as a child and scared me sleepless for a good few nights.  (***Spoiler Alert*** coming up) Going back to it now I realise part of my enjoyment is that echo from my childhood, but I still get a chill when Dog's fur smells  "of strange earth. It was a smell of night within night, the smell of digging down deep in shadow through earth that had lain cheek by jowl with thingsthat were long hidden and decayed. A stinking and rancid soil fell away in clods of dissolution from Dog's muzzle and paws. He had dug deep." (***end Spoiler***)

I haven't read the majority of these stories and will be going and checking them out as soon as.

A few that would turn up in any list of my favourite short stories:

- The Music of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft

- Fall of the House of Usher by Poe

- Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad by M.R. James

Okay, they are all of the horror/ghost genre, but the short story, in my opinion, when done right just lends itself to the slow skin creep kind of horror.

Stephen TheBoyWonder Williams's picture
Stephen TheBoyW... from The middle of the Mojave Desert is reading The Goodlife by Keith Scribner December 4, 2012 - 5:27pm

Here's a few that would probably appear on my list (this is just off the top of my head):

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel

Guts by Chuck Palahniuk

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe

There are a few others I really like but they are almost novellas (like Dolan's Cadillac by Stephen King).

Stephen TheBoyWonder Williams's picture
Stephen TheBoyW... from The middle of the Mojave Desert is reading The Goodlife by Keith Scribner December 4, 2012 - 5:28pm

Also, just about anything from Aimee Bender.

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce December 4, 2012 - 5:48pm

My favourites are Shirley Jakson's The Lottery and A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. I love so many horror short stories that I couldn't name them all. The best horror short story anthology I've read is Hellbound Hearts - essentially Hellraiser fanfiction by famous authors.

Ben Freeman's picture
Ben Freeman from Charlottesville, Virginia is reading everything I can December 4, 2012 - 5:55pm

Reading "The Lottery" in high school had a profound impact on me and is one of the reasons I write. It also made me fall in love with the short story format.

Erin's picture
Erin from Omaha is reading manuscripts... December 4, 2012 - 6:11pm

I love these lists because I appreciate the endless amount of reading I feel compelled to add to my leaning tower of literature (thanks, Richard). Numbers 3 and 8 are, of course, awesome. If I may add...

Oh heck, just buy every short story collection from Sherman Alexie, but specifically, "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" is brilliant. 

Laugh if you want but "The Yellow Wallpaper" is still a fine study of how to write a seamless shift in reality. 

Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" is a fave too. 

 

 

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions December 4, 2012 - 6:49pm

"Emergency" is brilliant and most anthologized, but I've always thought "Car Crash While Hitchhiking" deserves more attention than it gets. Something less explicable in how it works. 

I'd definitely include "The Pugilist at Rest" by Thom Jones.

Some personal favorites are "92 Days" by Larry Brown, "The Elephant Vanishes" by Murakami, "Loser" by Aimee Bender as someone mentioned above, and Sherman Alexie...

The head splits trying to corral such a list. Good stuff Richard.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 4, 2012 - 7:05pm

Yeah, THE LOTTERY  maybe that should have made the list. 1948, less contemporary than most on this list. I think I picked Harrison Bergeron over The Lottery. But it had a big impact on me as well.

Hard to leave off Hempel, that's for sure. Makes me think Mark Richard and STRAYS as a top 20. GUTS is one that definitely makes my top 20 as well.

I keep hearing that Alexie, not sure if I've actually read it. I know the title.

Carver, Cheever, yeah, hard to leave them off.

"Emergency" always got to me, the rabbits, but really, all of JESUS' SON is fantastic.

The Thom Jones, yeah, very anthologized.

Haven't read any of Murakami's short stuff, guess I should. I have some Larry Brown at home, but don't think I've read that one either.

Great comments, guys.

Erin's picture
Erin from Omaha is reading manuscripts... December 4, 2012 - 7:29pm

Richard, here What You Pawn I Will Redeem, by Sherman Alexie. Enjoy! 

eirikodin's picture
eirikodin from Auburn, NY is reading Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler December 4, 2012 - 7:40pm

We can remember it for you wholesale by Phillip K. Dick

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and loving it! December 4, 2012 - 8:17pm

"Sonny's Blues" has to be up there somewhere (James Baldwin). That's another one that's anthologized often, but deservedly so.

Among lesser known (maybe) stories, I'd add to top 100 if not top ten 2 others:

"Letters from the Samantha" (Mark Helprin) - you may learn something about human nature from a story about an ape rescued by a ship captain after a tornado.

"The Conversion of the Jews" (Roth) - about a kid who asks too many questions (of his mom, of the rabbi) and ends up "converting" quite a few people from the roof of a building.

I know "Where are you Going..." by Oates, and still prefer "Good Man..." by Flannery. But they're both good.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading House of Leaves December 4, 2012 - 8:43pm

@Stephen Williams - Absolutely, Guts would make my list.

@Jess - Forgot about The Lottery.  Another definite entry on any list of shorts I was putting together, and you've made me think of Barker now and perhaps "Son of Celluloid" would have made my list too.

Daniel Donche's picture
Daniel Donche from Seattle is reading Transubstantiate, by Richard Thomas December 4, 2012 - 9:11pm

I also nominate Guts.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. December 4, 2012 - 9:16pm

Amy Hempel's In The Cemetary Where Al Jolson is Buried

Amy Hempel's The Harvest

Brady Udall's Midnight Raid

 

Amy's new story, A Full Service Shelter, is probably the best short story I've read in years, but it's not online anymore.

Lenore's picture
Lenore from San Francisco is reading Marly Youmans Thaliad December 4, 2012 - 10:08pm

A great list. Jesus' Son is as good as you say though I would have chosen Out on Bail, with that story Johnson executes a beautiful shift in the mental state of the narrator, it jolts you when you hit it like catching your face in the mirror when you don't expect it. I've never read anything like it.

Also, Raymond Carver's Tell The Women We're Going and Borge's story The Library Of Babel, both fantastic and utterly ulike one another.

Ben Freeman's picture
Ben Freeman from Charlottesville, Virginia is reading everything I can December 4, 2012 - 9:51pm

I forgot about "Sonny's Blues" another one that was pretty influencial for me when I read it. Also "Are These Actual Miles?" is one of my favorite Raymond Carver stories.

Jen Bryan-Kelley's picture
Jen Bryan-Kelley from Austin, Texas is reading Say Her Name December 4, 2012 - 9:53pm

My favorite short story is "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Murakami. I also agree that "The Lottery" should also be on the list.

Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Soul Consortium by Simon West-Bulford December 4, 2012 - 11:34pm

Yeah, Richard! “Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” is definitely one of the best and most chilling short stories I’ve ever read.  Great edition of Storyville.

My Top 5:

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell
“Top Man” by James Ramsey Ullman
“The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
“Real Life” by Donald Ray Pollock
“Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” By Stephen Graham Jones

And as far as collections go, Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson and Drown by Junot Diaz are the 2 best I’ve read.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 5, 2012 - 12:09am

great stuff guys, i'm surprised that i haven't read many of these. so it's hard for me to nominate something i haven't read. PKD, ah, yes, that's a great one. i guess i need to pick up some Murakmi already. The Lottery is the one that everyone thinks should be on here. thanks for the link, erin. so many great stories.

somebody suggested i list my top 100 but man, that would be insane.

La Emme Nikita's picture
Class Facilitator
La Emme Nikita from Los Angeles is reading The Road to Los Angeles December 5, 2012 - 12:39am

The Things They Carried and Where are You Going? are definitely in my top ten.

I have to add Neil Gaiman's The Thing About Cassandra, October in the Chair, and The Price.

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Haruki Murakami's Town of Cats (from 1Q84)- really all his short stories are amazing

can I say anything by Bradbury? I'm going to

Raymond Carver's Are These Actual Miles?

Eudora Welty's No Place for You, My Love

and Joe Hill's The Devil on the Staircase (as a bonus)

 

 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 5, 2012 - 1:03am

^great stuff, LEN.

Lenore's picture
Lenore from San Francisco is reading Marly Youmans Thaliad December 5, 2012 - 2:06am

Ooh, can I second the Murakami and say William Trevor? Timothy's Birthday, something about it killed me.

Kasey's picture
Kasey from the morally and physically challenging plains of Texas is reading 12pt. Courier font December 5, 2012 - 2:59am

No Mark Richard? 

"This Is Us, Excellent"

"Her Favorite Story"

"Strays"

"The Theory of Man"

all of those from the 1990 PEN/Hemingway award winning THE ICE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD.

and I third the Murakami and fourth the SGJ.

Tom's picture
Tom from London, England is reading Horse's Arse December 5, 2012 - 4:43am

Great article, Richard. I've only read about half of these and will seek out the rest.

Also, let's not forget Jack Ketchum. Peaceable Kingdom is one of my favourite short story collections.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. December 5, 2012 - 6:38am

Craig Davidson's collection "Rust and Bone" has at least one story I'd put in the top ten, along with Donald Ray Pollock's stories from "Knockemstiff."  I'm just not sure which ones I'd pick.

"Car Crash While Hitchhiking" is my favorite of Denis Johnson.

"Welcome to the Monkey House" is my favorite Vonnegut short.

And while it's hard to see a top ten list of short stories without Amy Hempel, it's just strange to see it without a mention of Carver.  "Cathedral", "Popular Mechanics" (or Little Things), and "A Small, Good Thing" are all classics.

Gaiman and Chandler would probably pop into my top 20.  

droetker's picture
droetker from Suffolk is reading The Sot Weed Factor December 5, 2012 - 10:11am

You have to have some Hemingway. "A very short story" maybe.

And Borges. Damn. Maybe 'The South'.

Also Carver, but I guess that's a bit obvious. Something by Dahl. The one about the fingers. Man from the south, I think.

Ballard - maybe the one about the endless city. Also Fork by Dave Eggers is pretty funny.

The final one would have to be one of the masters: Maugham, or O Henry, or Chekov or Kafka or Joyce. Okay, the Dead by Joyce.

 

edit: and no johnson cos Jesus' Son is a novel

 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts December 5, 2012 - 10:43am

You've created a perfect list, Richard. You couldn't change a selection and make it better, just different. Great writers.

Just yesterday due to a thread here I was thinking about my top 5 "Lish-Lit" stories. Lawns would be up there. Also Amy Hempel "The Most Girl Part of You," Raymond Carver - "Where I'm Calling From" (or maybe "Fat,") definitely Barry Hannah - "Water Liars."

For me James Joyce's "Araby" is the ultimate short story. I also wouldn't be able to do a short story list and not include Donald Barthelme, probably his "Departures." Joe Lansdale's "The Night They Missed the Horror Show" or "Bob the Dinosaur Goes to Disneyland." Dan Chaon, Kevin Canty, Tom Franklin, Chris Offutt, etc...

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 5, 2012 - 12:31pm

Yeah, in talking about this in another thread I remembered Mark Richard. I absolutely love "Strays," and would put that in my top 20.

Ketchum, yeah, loved Peaceable Kingdom, hard to ignore his work, that's for sure.

Davidson and Pollock two great selections, Ron Rash, too. As for Carver, I guess much like Flannery, I've just read "Cathedral" so many times, maybe I'm just sick of him.

I need to read more Hannah for sure. I really hate James Joyce, sorry, never have liked him.

JYH's picture
JYH from the place is reading the thing December 5, 2012 - 12:32pm

I've only read maybe 15 of the stories listed, including those in the comments, some of which are wonderful indeed.

People should check out The WIne-Dark Sea by Leonardo Sciascia.

 

 

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and loving it! December 5, 2012 - 12:53pm

If I made a personal top 10 list, I'd have "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner. Or a Faulkner of some kind.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. December 5, 2012 - 4:35pm

In all honesty, if I compiled this list, I think it would all be 10 Amy Hempel stories.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life December 5, 2012 - 6:09pm

John Hornor Jacobs (author of Southern Gods and This Dark Earth, both good reads) listed his top 10 short stories on his site: http://www.johnhornorjacobs.com/top-ten-short-stories-of-all-time/ - a great list as well.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers December 6, 2012 - 1:21am

When it comes to horror, the more I think about Lover Doll, by Wayne Allen Sallee,the more convinced I am that it might be best damn horror short story ever. SGJ's story definitely stuck with me, but Sallee's story invades my nightmares more than I like to admit. 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. December 6, 2012 - 1:47pm

On the Top Ten Anything Thread (page 2), I have the 10 ten stories by famous writers I could find for free on the web.  They are:

1) In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried, Amy Hempel

2) A Study in Emerald, Neil Gaiman (opens as a .pdf)

3) Guts, by Chuck Palahniuk

4) A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Conner

5) Midnight Raid, Brady Udall

6) Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, Joyce Carol Oats

7) The Harvest, Amy Hempel

8) The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

9) Cathedral, by Raymond Carver

10) A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings: A Tale For Children, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Bonus, because I found these, while looking for other stories by the author:

11) The Man From the South, by Roald Dahl

12) HARRISON BERGERON, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr (I really wanted to find Welcome to the Monkey House, but I couldn't find it)

 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 6, 2012 - 2:08pm

yeah, i remember you posting that up. i actually used a few of those links. thanks, BH!

ohnochastity's picture
ohnochastity December 7, 2012 - 7:03pm

Salinger isn't even mentioned in the comments?  I'm generally not a fan of short stories, but Salinger made me change my mind with the book "Nine Stories" my favorite being Ted.  His characters and the pictures he depicts of them is simply remarkable in each one.

Gerd Duerner's picture
Gerd Duerner from Germany is reading Consider her ways and other stories December 8, 2012 - 3:14pm

Of the stories that never left me after reading them I would have to put down:

The Box, by Jack Ketchum

Sitting in the corner, whimpering quietly, by Dennis Etchinson

The women, by Ray Bradbury

Inner child, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Dark Cavalry, by Eric Brown

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes December 8, 2012 - 10:02pm

yeah, not a big fan of Salinger.

Ketchum for sure, it's been so long since I picked up Peaceable Kingdom. I dokn't know NKH and EB, Etchinson either. i'll have to check them out. great bradbury.

Wil Dalton's picture
Wil Dalton from Texas is reading McSweeneys Quarterly Concern December 13, 2012 - 3:30am

Richard, from your list I second George Saunders -  "Puppy" is amazing.

And to recommend, I second the suggest of anything by Aimee Bender. 

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder January 20, 2013 - 12:22am

Munro, anyone? Sure, it's not fancy prose, not a notice-me-I'm-a-fantastic-writer-watch-my-literary-gymnastics-leap-off-the-page type of writer, but if there's any short story writer living today worthy of the Nobel or a Pulitzer, or both, it's her. 

She makes me want to be Canadian. 

R.o. Ferrer's picture
R.o. Ferrer March 30, 2013 - 8:28pm

sorry but the dead isn't even in the list? 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes March 31, 2013 - 7:46pm

@RO - sorry, can't stand james joyce

Su's picture
Su April 18, 2013 - 4:15pm

Mavis Gallant? too many to pick

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading Spent AND Mr. Mercedes July 31, 2013 - 11:21am

sweet, yeah, with Saunders it's tough, there are several i love of his, but i think since that was the first of his i read, it's always held a special place for me. "Victory Lap" is a close second, and everyone likes "Seak Oak," too. 

Kelby Losack's picture
Kelby Losack from Texas is reading Muerte Con Carne; The Summer Job; Bizarro Bizarro August 16, 2013 - 10:34pm

'The Veldt' made my hands shake. Also, 'Father, Son, Holy Rabbit' is one of those stories that makes me want to give up. Nothing can ever top it, in my mind. Disturbing and sweet, touching and terrifying...excuse me as I go read it again.