10 Favorite Short Stories


Nova listed her 10 favorite short stories, which I think is a fantastic idea–short stories get short shrift, even though they are brilliant literary nuggets. People don’t read enough of them, people underestimate them, and publishing houses scowl at them (it really is harder to publish a collection of short stories than a novel–mostly because said people don’t buy short story collections).

In fact, I don’t even count short stories on their own on my “book list”, even though I am reading short stories all the time, in various litmags or copied out of collections for my enjoyment. Especially these days, when a novel is too daunting to read for multiple reasons.

Hrm. Maybe I ought to make a short story side-list.

Anyway. Here’s to short stories!

Here are my “10”current favorite short stories:

  • Toni Cade Bambara–“The Johnson Girls”
  • James Baldwin–“Sonny’s Blues”
  • Aimee Bender–“Debbieland”
  • Michael Chabon–“Along the Frontage Road”
  • Roald Dahl–“Lamb to the Slaughter”
  • Peter Ho Davies–“The Ugliest House in the World”
  • Junot Diaz–“Nilda”
  • Jhumpa Lahiri–“A Temporary Matter”
  • Yiyun Li–“Extra”
  • Haruki Murakami–“Honey Pie”
  • Tobias Wolff–“Bullet in the Brain”

And there you have it.


Filed under Reading

18 responses to “10 Favorite Short Stories

  1. Ahh. You’ve got many of my favorites there too. “Bullet in the Brain” is so brilliant. But it’s Tobias Wolff, not Thomas Wolfe…

  2. Ah, you are right–thank you for catching my error! Corrected.

  3. mel

    Omg, we totally have short stories in common! I was totally blown away (no pun intended) by Bullet in the Brain, and I just think Lamb to the Slaughter kicks ass. I should’ve put another one by Junot Diaz, but I couldn’t think of the name, also ones by Victor LaValle, Flannery O’Conner.

    I will add these to my reading list!

  4. Pingback: A Literary Respite: Ten Favorite Short Stories « ReadingWritingLiving

  5. Jade — Tobias!! Halfway there.

  6. OMG–what is WRONG with me? How could I have forgotten his name (i totally KNEW it was Tobias!)? My brain is truly burping today.

  7. Good list! I remember loving hearing Tobias Wolff read “Bullet in the Brain” and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is one of my favorite short stories as well.

  8. Jade, I must read these. There are some on your list that I definitely missed. (Like “Bullet in the Brain”!) It is now my mission to track down every single one of these!

  9. Oh–now I keep thinking of MORE short stories I love, like those by Yasunari Kawabata!

  10. I saw Nova’s post late last night (hello, insomnia!) and vowed to make such a list this morning. And then totally spaced it. Thanks for reminding me.
    I think it’s interesting how people’s short story faves are so different, but lists of favorite novels tend to have more overlap. Weird. Maybe because short stories are so much more intimate and personal, and people have more of an immediate emotional response to them?

  11. Thanks for the recommendation of “Sonny’s Blues,” by James Baldwin. I’m taking up the challenge to read it! You can read my 10 favorite short stories at…


    I’ll let you know what I think of “Sonny’s Blues.”

  12. Baldwin and Dahl, yes!

    Surely “The Lottery.”

    Is “The Marquise of O” too long to count? I may have to do a list of my own…

  13. Haruki Murakami’s “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning” is on my list. Coming up with 9 more would be difficult.

  14. Nilda and Bullet in the Brain would be on my top 10 as well.

  15. i totally love junot diaz and i’m waiting anxiously for his novel the brief wondrous life of oscar wao

  16. Tobias Wolff gave an interesting talk in San Francisco recently about the tragic character. There is a video of it posted on http://www.thebayareaintellect.com.

  17. Pingback: My Favorite 10 Short Stories… For Today : gordsellar.com

  18. kcd75

    I am always looking for input on short stories and novels to read. Thank you for posting this!

    If you are interested, short stories and excerpts can be found at the website below as well. Feel free to stop by and check it out.


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