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's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and 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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139 Items found Print
Accordion Crimes
by E. Annie Proulx
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Richard Lebenson
from Reader's Digest
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Books of Wonder
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Barry Moser
from HarperCollins
for 7th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sidney Paget
100th Anniversary from SeaWolf Press
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$10.95
Akin to Anne
by L.M. Montgomery
for 3rd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1 & 2
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Clarkson Potter Publishers
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag
by Louisa May Alcott
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 2nd-5th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Best Little Stories from World War II
by C. Brian Kelly
1996 Printing from Montpelier Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in World War II (1939-1945) (Location: HISA-20WW2)
$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: LIT7-20)
$9.95
Best Short Stories of O. Henry
by O. Henry
from Modern Library
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$22.95 $14.00 (1 in stock)
Billy Budd
Signet Classics
by Herman Melville
from Signet Classics
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.95
Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
from Bantam Books
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.95
Body Snatcher and Other Tales
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Dover Publications
for 6th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Bret Harte: Stories of the Early West
by Bret Harte
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Buddy's Crazy True-Life Adventures
Buddy Davis Amazing Adventures
by Buddy Davis
from Answers in Genesis
for 3rd-6th grade
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Candide, Zadig and Selected Stories
by Voltaire
from Signet Classics
for 11th-Adult
in 18th Century Literature (Location: LIT5-18)
$3.50
Celebrated Jumping Frog and Other Stories
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Mark Twain
from Reader's Digest
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$8.00 (3 in stock)
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
by Mark Twain, illustrated by Harold Berson
from Franklin Watts
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Chapter of Adventures
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Chapter of Adventures
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Christmas Carol and Other Stories
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from Reader's Digest
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$7.20 (1 in stock)
Christmas with Anne and Other Stories
by L. M. Montgomery
from Wilder Publications
for 3rd-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
Chronicles of Avonlea
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.99
Civil War Hospital Sketches
by Louisa May Alcott
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$6.95
Civil War Stories
by Ambrose Bierce
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.00
Classic Stories of Edgar Allen Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Barnes & Noble
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Collected Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Modern Library
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$25.00
Complete Father Brown Stories
by G. K. Chesterton
from Wordsworth Classics
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.99
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: LIT7-20)
$22.00
Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
by Ernest Hemingway
Finca Vigia Ed from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Complete Stories of Edgar Allen Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
from International Collectors Library
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
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: LIT7-20)
$20.00
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Barnes & Noble
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris
from Houghton Mifflin
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$35.00
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris, retold by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
from Dial Press
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$50.00
Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
by Sarah Orne Jewett
from Signet Classics
for 11th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$6.95
Cricket on the Hearth
Dover Thrift Editions
by Charles Dickens
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$1.80 (1 in stock)
Cricket on the Hearth
by Charles Dickens
from Mcloughlin Bros. Inc
for 10th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories
by Dorothy L. Sayers
from Harper & Row
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$19.99
Dubliners
by James Joyce
from Oxford University
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$9.95
Dubliners
by James Joyce
from Oxford University
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$9.95
ECL: Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (abridged)
Educator Classic Library #7
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Don Irwin
from Classic Press
for 8th-Adult
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Encantadas and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Enter Jeeves
by P. G. Wodehouse
from Dover Publications
Humor for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$9.95
Eric Carle's Treasury of Classic Stories for Children
by Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, retold & illustrated by Eric Carle
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
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 Morality Tales (Location: FIC-WHO)
$17.99
Famous Stories Every Child Should Know
Every Child Should Know
by Hamilton Wright Mabie
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-7th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$8.00 (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: LIT7-20)
$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: LIT7-20)
$4.00 $2.50 (1 in stock)
Fidelity: Five Stories
by Wendell Berry
from Pantheon Books
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Fifty Great Short Stories
by Milton Crane
from Bantam Books
for 9th-Adult
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$7.99
Five Great Short Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by Jack London
from Dover Publications
for 6th-9th Grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$4.00 $2.50 (2 in stock)
Five Great Short Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by Anton Chekhov
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.00 $2.00 (1 in stock)
Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works
by Flannery O'Connor
from Library of America
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$40.00
Ghostly Tales and Eerie Poems
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Ghostly Tales and Eerie Poems
Illustrated Junior Library Series 3
by Edgar Allan Poe
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Gift of the Magi
Dover Thrift Editions
by O. Henry
from Dover Publications
for 4th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$4.00
Gift of the Magi
Books of Wonder
by O. Henry, illustrated by Kevin King
from Simon and Schuster
for 4th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Gift of the Magi and Other Stories
Books of Wonder
by O. Henry (illustrated by Michael Dooling)
from William Morrow & Company
for 4th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Gift of the Magi and Other Stories
Books of Wonder
by O. Henry, illustrated by Gordon Grant
from Reader's Digest
for 4th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Gift of the Magi and Other Stories
by O. Henry, illustrated by P. J. Lynch
from Candlewick Press
for 4th-10th grade
in Christmas & Advent (Location: HOLIDAY)
$17.99
Glimpses of Louisa
by Louisa May Alcott, selected with an introduction and editor's notes by Cornelia Meigs
from Little, Brown & Company
for 4th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Good Night - Audiobook
by Jim Weiss
from Greathall Productions
for 3rd-8th grade
in Greathall Storyteller CDs (Location: CD-WEISS)
Great American Short Stories
by Wallace & Mary Stegner, editors
from Dell Publishing
Realistic Fiction for 9th-12th grade
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$7.99 $5.00 (1 in stock)
Great American Short Stories
from Dover Publications
for 7th-Adult
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$6.00 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Great English Short Stories
by Paul Negri, ed.
from Dover Publications
for 10th grade-adult
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$3.50
Great Pirate Stories
by Joseph L. French
2nd Printing, 1923 from Brentano's Publishers
for 8th-Adult
in Pirates (Location: HISV-PIRATE)
Heart of the West
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by O. Henry
from Reader's Digest
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Heart Songs
by E. Annie Proulx
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Realistic Fiction for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury
from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.99
Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
First Edition from Mariner Books
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
John Hawke's Fortune
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
John Hawke's Fortune
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Jungle Book
Whole Story Series
by Rudyard Kipling
from Viking Press
Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Gregory Alexander
from Pavilion Books
Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Eric Kincaid
from Brimax Books
Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Jungle Books
Signet Classics
by Rudyard Kipling
from Signet Classics
Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.95
Jungle Books
Macmillan Classics
by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Robert Shore
from Macmillan
Animal Stories for 7th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Kreutzer Sonata
Dover Thrift Editions
by Leo Tolstoy
from Dover Publications
Realistic Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$7.00 $4.00 (2 in stock)
Last of the Old West
by George Mecklenburg
from The Capital Book Co.
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Leaving Home
by Garrison Keillor
1st edition from Viking Press
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Washington Irving
from Reader's Digest
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$8.00 (3 in stock)
Long Valley
by John Steinbeck, Introduction and Notes by John H. Timmerman
from Penguin Books
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Lord Peter
by Dorothy L. Sayers
from Harper & Row
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Lord Peter
by Dorothy Sayers
Reprint from Harper & Row
for 8th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$16.99
Lord Peter
by Dorothy Sayers
Reprint from Avon Books
for 8th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches
by Francis Bret Harte
from Spencer Press
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Man Who Knew Too Much
by G. K. Chesterton
from Dover Publications
Mystery for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.95
Man Who Knew Too Much
by G. K. Chesterton
from Waking Lion Press
Mystery for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Master and Man and Other Stories
Penguin Classics
by Leo Tolstoy
from Penguin Classics
Realistic Fiction for 11th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$13.00
Merry Tales
by Mark Twain
from Oxford University
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
A Miss Marple Mystery #13
by Agatha Christie
from William Morrow & Company
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace
by Walter Wangerin
from Rabbit Room Press
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$15.95
More Two-Minute Mysteries
by Donald J. Sobol
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-7th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories
Dover Thrift Editions
by Mark Twain
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$2.50 $1.50 (1 in stock)
New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume 1
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Non-slipcased edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume 2
by Arthur Conan Doyle
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Of Other Worlds
by C. S. Lewis
Reissue from HarperOne
for 8th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$13.99
Past Perfect, Present Tense
by Richard Peck
from Puffin Books
for 3rd-8th grade
in Short Stories (Location: LIT-ANTH)
$6.99
Plague Ship
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
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