Top 40 Best Short Stories of All Time To Read Reviews [2022]

Best Short Stories To Read

No two double subscribers do not have a lot of time to finish the long stories or different chapter tales. Therefore, great stories may be the very best option for your busy affair guy of contemporary life. Here is the listing of the best short stories ever Penn Book had carefully chosen.

Top Choice Free Short Stories

SaleBestseller No. 1
The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short...
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 05/04/2021...
Bestseller No. 2
The Best Short Stories 2021: The O. Henry Prize...
63 Reviews
The Best Short Stories 2021: The O. Henry Prize...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 375 Pages - 09/14/2021...
Bestseller No. 3
Short Stories
1 Reviews
Short Stories
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Bestseller No. 4
The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 451 Pages - 09/14/2021...
Bestseller No. 5
The World's Greatest Short Stories (Dover Thrift...
  • Dover Publications
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/28/2006...
SaleBestseller No. 6
The Best American Short Stories 2020
  • Pitlor, Heidi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 11/03/2020...

Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin (1965)

Located in the deep south at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Baldwin‘s most famous short story examines racial strain from both sides of the coin without denying possibly their humanity. Additionally, it is an unflinching look at the horrors of discrimination and violence.

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Going to Meet the Man: Stories
  • Vintage
  • Baldwin, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/25/1995...

Read more: Best James Baldwin Books To Read 2022

Butterflies by Ian McEwan (1975)

Earlier in his composing career, Ian McEwan was famous for handling exceptionally dark topics. Nowhere is that more evident than this chilling story about a suspected child sex offender who can cling to you like a nightmare.

Werner by Jo Ann Beard (2007)

It was a densely textured piece of reportage that I discovered later. However, it taught me many things about writing short stories that I will always consider. Werner Hoeflich is a young man trapped by a fire and escapes through his window in New York. He jumps across the gap to the other side of the building to reach the next window. It is rich with the life-giving qualities of a novel and has the rawness and dirtiness of life. This was, for me, a revelation. Acceptable language and a well-constructed mood are great, but fiction should be thrilling.

I Bought a Little City by Donald Barthelme (1974)

The narrator of the story has purchased a tiny city Galveston, in Texas. In the beginning, he says he will only change things slowly, but he comes to resemble something similar to a despot as events spiral out of control. As humorous as it is bizarre, this narrative, first printed in the New Yorker, is a cautionary story about control and vision with lots left to inform us about now.

American Express by James Salter (1988)

Its temporal shifts distinguish James Salter’s short fiction. In a sentence, a decade unfolds. A single moment may linger for pages. It seems that time is a concertina. It expands and contracts to reveal pockets of fragrant description. A pair of New York lawyers who are venal make a killing and embark on a playboy trip through Italy with their wealth. One of them falls in love with a schoolgirl. The story is about oxymorons, which are bitter desire and weak power. It leads to a harsh, calm, and unforgettable conclusion.

The Swimmer by John Cheever (1964)

The most well-known brief story by America’s most significant ever short story writer? It is a competition. Cheever’s free-wheeling, gin-soaked travel through the back gardens of suburbia is as surreal, entertaining, and upsetting as it was.

Read also: How Long Is A Short Story?

Désirée’s Baby by Kate Chopin (1893)

It is the deep south, until the American Civil War, and slave ownership remains the norm. This narrative is about a moment of crisis if a kid of doubtful legacy is born and the consequences. Chopin’s take on race relations caused a feeling in the first book, and it is no real surprise Désirée’s Baby stays her most famous story.

Desiree's Baby
36 Reviews
Desiree's Baby
  • Chopin, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 04/01/2017...

A View from the Observatory by Helen Dunmore (2018)

Two girls look back on the Clifton Suspension Bridge out of Bristol’s camera obscura and watch something menacing, although quite what it’s left for the reader to pick. A story filled with menace, it reveals Dunmore among Britain’s best modern short story writers in the summit of her very best.

Funny Little Snakes by Tessa Hadley (2017)

Tessa Hadley is one of the very best contemporary masters of the best short story form. This one, about a young woman fighting to bond with her fresh, oddly-behaved step-daughter, is a vibrant look in the family, youth, and the way coming of age’ never actually stops.

A Horse and Two Goats by R.K. Narayan (1960)

People have misunderstood each other for so long as we have been around. Here, R.K. Narayan’s vibrant portrayal of an encounter involving a Tamil-speaking villager and an English-speaking New Yorker is a funny yet quietly poignant narrative that explores the conflict between Eastern and Western civilization.

A Horse and Two Goats
  • R. K. Narayan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/22/1974 (Publication Date)...

Vanka by Anton Chekhov

Vanka, a young boy, has been working as an apprentice to a shoemaker for three months. He stays up until midnight to write a secret letter to his grandfather on Christmas Eve. He recounts the abuse he has suffered and begs his grandfather to bring him in.

Alan Bean Plus Four by Tom Hanks (2017)

Four pals opt to construct a rocket and fly to the moon and back. This offbeat story shows a writing style near that which we imagine Hanks himself resembles: hot, witty, and only a little bit quirky.

Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway (1925)

Despite being relatively low on actions, a war veteran walks to the countryside, sees at some beautiful fish, puts his tent up, and yells ‘Large Two-Hearted River’ is in specific ways the purest manifestation of Hemingway’s famous and much-imitated writing fashion. Nick Adams, his recurring protagonist, hopes to cure himself with all the twin forces of nature and solitude. The individual reader could join him.

Big Two-Hearted River
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • Hemingway, Ernest (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/01/2000 (Publication Date)...

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (1948)

In the aftermath of its first book in the New Yorker,’ The Lottery’ generated a flurry of letters from subscribers more, in reality, than any work of short fiction had previously created. Imagine the number of shares it’d get on Twitter today. An unsettling read, this is quintessential Shirley Jackson within a few short pages.

Shirley Jackson’s most well-known short story describes an unusual ritual that occurs in a small community. It is a staple in high school curriculums in a small town.

The Superstition of Albatross by Daisy Johnson (2017)

Superstition, dark magic, and actual life-threatening as Polly, reluctantly pregnant, attempt to come with her spouse’s disappearance at sea. Though firmly rooted in modern-day Britain, there is more than a sign of fairytale here.

Araby by James Joyce

Araby by James Joyce (1914)

A boy realizes his feelings to get a woman’s sister in this narrative from James Joyce’s Dubliners. It is a classic coming-of-age material in which the excitement of new love clashes with all the frustrations and obligations of maturity.

Araby
  • Joyce, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 10/06/2014...

Godspeed and Perpetua by A. Igoni Barrett (2013)

The most OK brief story in Barrett’s collection of stories set against a history of Nigeria’s political background,’ Godspeed and Perpetua’ charts the highs and lows of an arranged marriage and provides a quick look at family power dynamics. Barrett’s actual strength is in his characterization: characters such as Perpetua, stuck at an unsatisfactory union with a wealthy old man, jump off the page.

Vampire by Intan Paramaditha (2019)

Fans of the dark stories of Angela Carter and Roald Dahl will adore black author Intan Paramaditha’s tales, which take inspiration from horror fiction, legends, and myths and rework them with a magical twist. ‘Vampire,’ one of the stories in this debut series, is a dazzling retelling of Red Riding Hood.

Symbols and Signs by Vladimir Nabokov (1948)

Written long before Vladimir Nabokov hit the big time with Lolita and Pale Fire,’ Signs and Symbols’ is haunting in its narrative of an elderly couple visiting their son in a sanitorium. Each of the hallmarks of the fantastic gift for speech is securely in place.

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Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov's Puzzles,...
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 06/07/2012...

Over the River and Through the Wood by John O’Hara (1934)

John O’Hara is a fantastic author, and he understood it, spending a great deal of his time whining about being overlooked in favor of contemporaries such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald. But do not let this hold you back from his tales, and that one specifically, that can be binge-worthy chronicles of American life in his age.

If a book is locked there’s probably a good reason for that, don’t you think by Helen Oyeyemi (2016)

If you discovered a co-worker’s locked journal, do you crack it open and begin studying, or do you dismiss it, leaving it just as discovered? So lies the problem at the center of the narrative, which reads like a cautionary tale or dark fairytale on modern-day office gossip civilization.

Bee Honey by Banana Yoshimoto (2000)

Translated into English for the first time,’ Bee Honey’ is a quiet, contemplative look at the significance of the responsibility it involves, whatever culture you are brought in.

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The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson (2018)

A marketing man nearing retirement informs us about joining friends and acquaintances at the title story of Denis Johnson’s ultimate series, which was completed before and printed only after his departure. Like a lot of his writing, this narrative can occasionally be gloomy, but it’s also darkly humorous and always compassionate.

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The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories
  • Hardcover Book
  • Johnson, Denis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 01/16/2018...

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)

The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman is more of a novella than a short story, but it would be absurd to leave this out as a seminal piece of writing that shows how far we have come from our thinking on women’s mental health and possibly how much we need to go.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Remember This by Graham Swift (2014)

A recently married couple to share an easy, joyful day. Concerning actions, there is not much else we could disclose here to say remember, This’ is dreadful in how just a sensational short story can be, and also a good short story by Graham Swift is much better than any other.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

Among the most well-known brief stories of all time, Poe’s matter-of-fact and economical writing style functions to complete effect in this narrative of a guy’s haunted conscience. Since the unnamed narrator attempts to convince us of his sanity, his paranoia succeeds. Hugely influential and, even now, enjoyable

Poe is the master of the “unreliable narrator” a voice with devastating spontaneity that is convincing and used to significant effect in horror novel. This has made Poe a staple in suspense and horror fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries. Joyce Carol Oates.

“Why Don’t You Dance?” by Raymond Carver (1981)

Carver’s stories are exceptional because they don’t need to use exposition or backstory. They have incredible immediacy. We see a man arrange his furniture on his lawn. The furniture is all up for sale, and the man becomes drunk with a young couple looking to furnish their apartment. We can guess how he got there. The memory of this man is a hangnail.

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Emily Grierson’s funeral is attended by the entire town when she dies. The narrator recounts some of the most memorable moments in her life. Her father refused to allow her to marry. She refused to pay taxes in her hometown. After her father’s death, she began to keep company with Homer Barron (a Northerner whose work brought them into town), but he eventually left her.

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

The narrator responds to a letter written by an old friend and visits Roderick Usher’s house. He feels a deep sense of gloomy and desperation upon entering the mansion. It is showing signs of neglect. Roderick complained in the letter that he was experiencing mental problems. The narrator immediately notices that Roderick’s old friend is not feeling well when he enters the house.

The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Poe, Edgar Allan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 09/09/2015...

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

You’re likely to have heard of Salinger and his novel The Catcher in the Rye. But did you know that he also wrote great short stories? Surprise! Nine stories showcase Salinger’s brilliant writing, the same writing that made his magnum opus American literature.

My Life by Anton Chekhov (1896)

This is Chekhov’s most extended story and the only one he wrote in the singular first person. It is the autobiography of a young man from Russia, struggling to live up to his lofty ideals while being beaten down by everyday life’s unexpected turns.

It was actually “My Life” that I adapted for a play, and I know it well. This is the Chekhov story you should read. It contains all of his genius and gifts his dark humor, unique perspective on the human condition, and refusal to judge.

The Veldt by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is the only person you can trust to deliver terrifying, thought-provoking science fiction regularly. George and Lydia Hadley buy an automated house with a nursery or virtual reality room. George and Lydia are worried about the effect of the nursery on their kids. But the problem is that the children love it.

The Veldt (Tale Blazers: American Literature)
  • Bradbury, Ray D (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 42 Pages - 01/01/2000...

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor is the third point of the Holy Trinity in American short story writing. Hemingway, Carver, and Carver are the two points.

Although it is a simple title, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor’s most poignant and famous work. It opens with a Southern family planning to take a road trip. The journey is abruptly interrupted by their car turning on an abandoned dirt road. They are then met by three mysterious men who appear to be coming up from the far hills.

The great short story drew strong reactions from the public after publication. Today, the conversation continues about its honest portrayal of evil and good. We won’t spoil any of the details, but we will say that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is well worth your attention.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J D Salinger (1948)

J D Salinger produced so little amusing, comparatively speaking, that every word of this deserves to be read and read again. But if you were trying to find a quick hit that makes him a genius,’ A fantastic Day for Bananafish’ is it. Shocking and inquisitively discovered, his peerless ear for dialog – especially between children and adults – can also be on full screen.

The Siren by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1961)

Lampedusa, a learned prince, was born in Palermo in 1896. He died before his work was published. He left behind many short stories and his novel The Leopard. There are two narrative planes, central protagonists, settings, tonal registers, and two points of view.

Even though it is published under the title “La Sirena,” its original name was “Lighea,” which is the siren’s name. It was initially portrayed as a 16-year-old girl. Lampedusa’s descriptions make this fatefully seductive creature honest, vulnerable, and specific.

The Siren. Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa
  • Tomasi Di Lampedusa, Giuseppe...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/01/2011 (Publication Date)...

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce (1890)

Farquhar is a man who is standing on a bridge in northern Alabama with his wrists tied behind his back. Federal officers are protecting him with a rope around the neck. He is a civilian but was part of a Confederacy mission. His family is his last thought. He is to be hanged.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

This classic story gives us access to Charlie Gordon’s journals. He is a cleaner with a 68-IQ. (“I wanted to learn. I wanted this more than people who were more intelligent than me. Charlie is a genius, but all that’s good must fall.

For its innovative presentation, “Flowers for Algernon,” which won the Hugo Award for 1960, was a winner. It is a classic that will be remembered for its heartbreaking, poignant message and will likely continue to be a mainstay for many centuries.

Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

There were many stories written by Papa Hemingway that could be considered among the greatest of all time. Hills Like White Elephants, however, is his best work. His direct approach to a topic without ever raising it is what makes Hills Like White Elephants one of his most remarkable works.

A short story about a young couple who wait for a train while discussing a never-explained operation. The man wants to force the woman to have an abortion. This is a masterwork of simplicity and subtlety from a writer who may be the best at compressing a lot of meaning into a small number of words.

Runaway by Alice Munro (2004)

You will find just two runaways in this narrative one is Carla, who’s hoping to escape marriage to surly, obsessive Clark. Another is Flora, a goat that has gone lost. Alice Munro’s lovely writing consistently manages to convey precisely how complicated an everyday life may be, and she is on a few of her finest ever kinds here.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell (2013)

In Karen Russell’s dazzling and darkly funny narrative, two wolves, just one conventional and one of a progressive variety, make their own house in a lemon grove using the expectation that the luscious, ripe fruit will quench their thirst for the blood.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: And Other Stories...
  • Vintage Books
  • Russell, Karen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 01/14/2014...

Other Best Short Stories Ever Considered:

  • Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman
  • Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
  • The Garden of Forking Paths
  • Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian
  • Sticks by George Saunders
  • Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King
  • In a Bamboo Grove” by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  • The Collected Stories by Grace Paley
  • How to Become a Writer by Lorrie Moore
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Extra by Yiyun Li (2003)
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler
  • In the Night by Jamaica Kincaid (1978)
  • Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang
  • Don’t Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (1973)
  • In Plain Sight by Mavis Gallant (1993)
  • The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami (1993)
  • Moonlit Landscape with Bridge by Zadie Smith (2014)
  • The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado (2014)
  • Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (2015)
  • Trilobites by Breece D’J Pancake (1977)
  • The Midnight Zone by Lauren Groff (2016)

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Last update on 2022-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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