I feel like giving the short story more attention today. It’s the best form of literature next to the novel. And since everyone talks about life-changing books, I’m going to talk about short stories that are life-changing. By life-changing, I basically just mean they’re really good and had a tremendous impact on me after reading. In no order, here is my list:
Feathertop by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The image and scene this story creates is brilliant. I couldn’t stop imagining Mother Rigby and her creation. And the ending is just unforgettable. This story left a big imprint in my mind, I absolutely loved it.
Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
You shouldn’t know anything about this story before reading it. Just know that the ending hits you right across the face…in a good way!
The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James
This…this is a story. Many seem to take issue with James’ somewhat long-winded writing style, but I can’t say I do. This story completely engaged me. James is a master of exploring a character’s psychology. I was thinking about this story long after reading.
What Do Fish Have to do with Anything? By Avi
Yes, this is a story for children and has a rather simple lesson to give. The lesson is about the importance of asking questions…I feel the way the lesson is taught is really well-done. And I’ve remembered this simple story for so long…so, to me it’s something special.
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
A very short story with that hits hard. It’s funny but makes you think very differently about marriage.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
I actually struggled to include this on the list. I feel it’s amazing upon first reading but after second or third reading it greatly loses its initial impact. However, just remembering how this story made me feel the first time reading it – shocked – makes me feel I should include it.
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
I would have to say this is probably my favorite Poe story. The voice Poe creates is nothing short of masterful. Montresor’s words still ring in my head every time I think of this story.
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
I love the message of this story and on top of that, it’s hilarious. As someone who doesn’t want to work some desk job…Melville’s tale just speaks to me.
Put Yourself in My Shoes by Raymond Carver
A story that should be read by all aspiring writers. It’s a fun little story with a theme about the writing process and getting ideas.
The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Humans are flawed, they almost have to be. Hawthorne’s story shows the consequences of trying to deny this fact.
So this is my first list. I’ll be listing more great short stories later.