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Short Stories

Contemporary writers seem to take pride in their ability to author voluminous novels. Even when they write short stories, they're often too long, and they're seldom as interesting as they ought to be. The New Yorker may be a good measure for what's hip and likely to make a lot of money, but if they're willing to publish a short work it's also likely that the story is pretentious and probably in poor taste.

Some of the best short stories are detective fictions. Genre-specific works don't usually qualify as high art, but the ability of men like G.K. Chesterton, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to distill a comprehensive plot with fully-realized characters into a few pages borders on genius. That Chesterton and Doyle could do it dozens of times with the same characters and keep readers interested is testament to their powerful imaginations and consummate creativity.

There are plenty of fine literary short stories, of course, though most were written between 1860 and 1960. It took awhile for the short story to grow up as a form, and it's zenith was relatively short-lived. Mark Twain is arguably the best American short story writer, capable of evoking extreme pathos and wild humor simultaneously. His best stories are basically literate presentations of oral-tradition Americana, crafted with extreme care but seemingly careless in their dialect-ridden roughness.

Many writers' excellent short stories are often overshadowed by a single brilliant longer work. J.D. Salinger, for example, wrote some of the best short stories of the 20th century (especially among those written to anartistically-inclined upper-middle class), yet no one remembers Seymour: An Introduction or To Esme, With Love and Squalor because the only Salinger work they've ever read or heard of is Catcher in the Rye.

In some ways, short stories are a better gauge of an author's ability than his novels. Short stories require a precision of style, a tightness of plot, and a coherence of vision that novelists can get away with applying more loosely. It's important, therefore, to keep them short; otherwise, you're kind of missing the point.

Novellas are the murky territory between short stories and novels. They aren't short stories, however, just novels that are easier to read or fit in your back pocket. We've limited our selection in this category to actual short stories. If you're a writer (or want to be), short stories are some of the best material you can read to improve your own craft. If you're simply an avid reader, they make some of the most enjoyable fiction available.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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91 Items found Print
Accordion Crimes
by E. Annie Proulx
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$3.15 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Menahem-Mendl
by Sholom Aleichem
from G.P. Putnam's Sons
for Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Best of Father Brown
by G. K. Chesterton
from Everyman's Library
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Best Short Stories of O. Henry
by O. Henry
from Modern Library
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$16.07 $9.80 (1 in stock)
Billy Budd
Signet Classics
by Herman Melville
from Signet Classics
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
from Bantam Books
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Candide, Zadig and Selected Stories
by Voltaire
from Signet Classics
for 11th-Adult
in 18th Century Literature (Location: CLT-18C)
$3.50
Celebrated Jumping Frog and Other Stories
by Mark Twain
from Reader's Digest
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.60 (1 in stock)
Chapter of Adventures
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
Christmas Carol and Other Stories
by Charles Dickens
from Reader's Digest
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.60 (1 in stock)
Christmas with Anne and Other Stories
by L. M. Montgomery
from Wilder Publications
for 3rd-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A06-01A)
Chronicles of Avonlea
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A06-01A)
Civil War Hospital Sketches
by Louisa May Alcott
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Civil War Stories
by Ambrose Bierce
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$2.10
Collected Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Modern Library
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$16.80
Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
by Ernest Hemingway
Finca Vig Ia Ed from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor
by Flannery O'Connor
33rd edition from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris
from Houghton Mifflin
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris
from Dial Press
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Complete Works of O. Henry - 2 Vol. Set
by O. Henry
from Doubleday & Company
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$8.40 (1 in stock)
Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
by Sarah Orne Jewett
from Penguin Classics
for 11th-Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Cricket on the Hearth
Dover Thrift Editions
by Charles Dickens
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$2.80
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories
by Dorothy L. Sayers
from Harper & Row
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Droll Stories
by Honore de Balzac
for 11th-Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Dubliners
by James Joyce
from Oxford University
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$6.97
Dubliners
by James Joyce
from Oxford University
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$6.97
Echoes of the War
by J. M. Barrie
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Enter Jeeves
by P. G. Wodehouse
from Dover Publications
Humor for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Faerie Gold
Classics for Young Readers
by Kathryn Lindskoog & Ranelda Mack Hunsicker
from P&R Publishing
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Folklore for 4th-8th grade
in Wholesome Reading (Location: A11-01B)
Fancies and Goodnights
by John Collier
from Time-Life Books
for Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Father Brown Stories Part II
by G. K. Chesterton
from Ignatius Press
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$23.50
Favorite Father Brown Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by G. K. Chesterton
from Dover Publications
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$2.80
Fidelity: Five Stories
by Wendell Berry
from Pantheon Books
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Fifty Great Short Stories
by Milton Crane
from Bantam Books
for 9th-Adult
in Short Stories (Location: APO-03A)
Five Great Short Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by Jack London
from Dover Publications
for 6th-9th Grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$1.75
Five Great Short Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by Anton Chekhov
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$2.45
Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works
by Flannery O'Connor
from Library of America
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
German-American Folklore
by Mac E. Barrick
from August House
for 9th-12th grade
in Clearance: History & Geography (Location: ACL-HIS)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Gift of the Magi
Dover Thrift Editions
by O. Henry
from Dover Publications
for 4th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$2.10
Good Night - Audiobook
by Jim Weiss
from Greathall Productions
for 3rd-8th grade
in Greathall Storyteller CDs (Location: APO-01C)
Great American Short Stories
by Wallace & Mary Stegner, editors
from Dell Publishing
Realistic Fiction for 9th-12th grade
in Short Stories (Location: APO-03A)
$5.59
Great American Short Stories
from Dover Publications
for 7th-Adult
in Short Stories (Location: APO-03A)
$3.15 $1.40 (3 in stock)
Great English Short Stories
by Paul Negri, ed.
from Dover Publications
for 10th grade-adult
in Short Stories (Location: APO-03A)
$2.45
Great Short Stories by American Women
Dover from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in Short Stories (Location: APO-03A)
$1.05 (2 in stock)
Honeysuckle Sipping
by Jeanne R. Chesanow
Edition Unstated from Down East Books
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$5.25 (1 in stock)
Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury
from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$5.59
John Hawke's Fortune
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
Jumping Frog
by Mark Twain
from Chronicle Books
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ACL-LIT)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Jungle Books
Signet Classics
by Rudyard Kipling
from Signet Classics
Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$4.17
Kreutzer Sonata
Dover Thrift Editions
by Leo Tolstoy
from Dover Publications
Realistic Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$2.80 $1.50 (2 in stock)
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