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Best Short Stories

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I love to read short stories--they're short, but marvelously sweet nuggets of gold (perfect to quench a book-lover's appetite for great literature in quick snapshots). Here's a list of some of the greatest works of short fiction. Enjoy the experience!

1. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

With "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" (1926), Ernest Hemingway succeeds in that goal. He boils down the lines, helping us to see the essence of the situation. But, he doesn't go "thin." We have what we need to see the situation, with basic truths about loneliness, sadness, aging, and human connectivity. What is it to connect with another human being--even with the shadows surrounding--in the dead of night?

'A Clean Well-Lighted Place' Video

2. A Haunted House

A Haunted House - Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
"A Haunted Hous" is a famous short story by Virginia Woolf (known for her modernist, stream-of-consciousness style.

'A Haunted House' Video

3. A Hunger Artist

"A Hunger Artist" is one of the most famous works by Franz Kafka (also known for The Metamorphosis. The story centers around a man who starves himself in a circus act, and then discovers that his act (and very existence) has become irrelevant. We become so accustomed to the bizarre and unusual that it takes more and more to shock us (do we even care to see the other, the outsider in our midst?)

4. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

What REALLY happens in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"? The stories is open to a good deal of debate. It's about a Civil-War-era soldier, a hanging, a river, and escape. Ambrose Bierce offers up some of his greatest descriptive passages in this popular (and often anthologized) story.

5. Araby

"Araby" is one of the most well-remembered stories from his Dubliners collection. It's a coming-of-age story (Bildungsroman).

6. Bartleby, the Scrivener

"I'd prefer not to..." It's a line that you'll soon come to recognize--the oft-said line from Bartleby in this famous short work.

7. Benito Cereno

8. Good Country People

Flannery O’Connor

9. Hunters in the Snow

10. Paul's Case

Willa Cather

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