|"I need a break from the stress of coediting this blog"-Charles|
I began to look at lists of the best short stories of the world to find the highest regarded stories. Most, but not all, of them were by authors I was already familiar with. There are also a number of excellent web pages that produce a daily selection of short stories. The best of them, to me, is East of the Web:Short Stories. There are 1000s of short stories that can be read online for free. Dailylit.com has a great selection of short stories. A lot of the short stories online are older public domain works but there are also 1000s of 21th century short stories online. This is important to me as there are no public libraries where I live and I also want my readers to be able to read the stories I post on also. Of the 172 stories I posted on, 85 of them were by one writer, Katherine Mansfield. This post will focus on the best of the short stories I read in 2010 other than those by Mansfield. Here is my list of 2010 short stories, with a brief comment on some. In those cases where I think the work is part of the canon I will say so also. The stories are listed in the order I read them.
- "Bartleby, The Scrivener" By Herman Melville-a strange marvelous story-for sure canon status work
- "Heaven and Hell" by Jhumpa Lahiri -great writer-huge potential-Pulitzer Prize winner
- "A Doctor's Visit" by Anton Chekhov-all his stories are part of the canon
- "The Yellow Wall Paper" by Charlotte Perkins-very interesting work-should be read for sure-maybe canon
- "The Queen of Spades" by Alexander Pushkin-an easy way to read your first Pushkin work-canon work
- "The Gift of The Magi" by O Henry-one must read a few O Henry stories-maybe canon
- "The Open Window" by Saki-either he is the English O Henry or vice versa-also a maybe
- "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy 1888-Hardy has real power-canon work
- "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka -1915-very high canon status work-Life time reading plan work
- "The Dead" by James Joyce 1914-a work of great beauty-high canon status work
- "Squeaker's Wife" by Barbara Baynton -she should be a canon status writer-outback stories
- "Hungary Stones" by Rabindranth Tagore 1916-first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature-canon
- "Stick Fighting" by Olufemi Terry-2009 Caine Prize Winner-this is a really well done story
- "Hands" by Sherwood Anderson-deserves a wider readership-GLBT story
- "Boule de Suif" by Guy de Maupassant 1880-canon status work-best known of his stories
- "The Model Millionaire" By Oscar Wilde -have to have one of Oscar's stories on my list
- "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol -canon status-just below "The Overcoat"
- "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol-life time reading plan work-super high canon status
- "A Haunted House" by Virginia Woolf 1921-have to have a Woolf on the list
- "The Demon Lover" by Elizabeth Bowen-50/50 on including this
If anyone has any suggestions for short stories for 2011 please leave a comment. I will be doing another post on Katherine Mansfield soon. I already have plans in 2011 to read the complete short stories of James Joyce and a large collection of stories by Collete.
Of these stories the highest canon status works are "The Overcoat" and "The Metamorphosis" (tied basically) followed "The Dead" by James Joyce and "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville.
There was a Katherine Mansfield short story on the Guardian books podcast not to long ago - The Doll's House.
Mel, I cannot believe you posted on 172 short stories so far in 2010, starting in March. That is unbelievable, yet I know it's true. Wow! And you are now an expert on the short fiction of Katherine Mansfield (I know I should read more of her work). Thanks for all of your insightful reviews, and for the multitude of short story links you've provided for us.
I think Perkins is for sure in the canon. Genius!
My favorite short story writers so far are Tobias Wolff and Sherman Alexie. They are still alive and kicking so you won't find their works for free, unfortunately. But I think they are both masters of the short story form and worth a look! In particular I like Our Story Begins (Wolff) and War Dances (Alexie).
P.S. Here's a post I did on "The Dead" if you'd care to check it out: http://www.theprairielibrary.com/2010/09/short-story-saturday-new-feature-in.html
Marg-thanks for that reference
Suko-thanks as always
Chellie-I checked your blog-I found a link to Araby only-what am I doing wrong-I followed your link-and thanks so much for visiting my blog
Last year I asked readers to send in suggestions for a list of 1001 short stories to read before you die. Made it to 333. I still have the list posted on a page at my blog.
I've been thinking about doing another round of additions to it later this year.
Glad to see a new convert to the form. I think many people are missing out on a lot of excellent stuff by refusing to read short stories.
So glad you discovered short stories this year. There are some wonderful ones (including many on your list) out there!
Great list! I agree with you on Kate Chopin - I'm still on the fence. And because of you Mansfield is on my list for 2011. I've been making an effort with short story magazines and I usually find interesting pieces at Narrative.com. I highly recommend Deborah Willis (Vanishing and Other Stories) and I'm almost finished with Vida by Patricia Engel and I've honestly loved every piece of hers. I'm switching things up with Stephen King next since I've only read his novels. Good luck choosing for 20111
That's an impressive catch-up! I wish I had been as prolific as you.
I have also started posting regularly on short stories I read. I really enjoyed reading Carver this year, although I did not review any of his stories; soon maybe...
This looks like a great list Mel however, I've only read The Withered Arm and The Dead. The Withered Arm is one of the best short stories I've ever read. I'm bookmarking your list and hope to read some of these stories next year. Happy New Year!
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