What’s your favorite short story?

Image Credit: Post Secret

Image Credit: Post Secret

I should have asked sooner. Better late, as they say, than missed altogether– so I put it to you today, the last Forum Friday of January:

What’s your favorite short story?

For the last 25 days (since the beginning of the year) I have been reading one short story a day and gleaning what I can as a sort of intensive study course. I have read classics and modern; long and short; fable, parable, vignette, literary, speculative, experimental. My reading has come from anthologies, online collections, and dusted-off volumes from my own bookshelves. 

But I should have asked sooner: what stories have impressed, impacted, and stayed with you? It it those I am most interested in reading.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and commentary 🙂

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27 thoughts on “What’s your favorite short story?

  1. My all time favorite is “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s a great story by an early feminist writer. I have to say, though, Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” was always a favorite, too.

    I think it’s a pretty awesome idea to read a short story a day.

    • Ooh, I’ve heard of “The Yellow Wallpaper”– all the more reason to get to it before month’s end! “Hills Like White Elephants” is probably one of my favorites, too.

      Thank you so much for chiming in! 🙂

    • Poe, eh? I’ve read a good deal of him but not that one. I’m a big believer in the power of good literature to stay with us, so that you still think of it from five years back is promising.

      Thank you for the suggestion– I just might look in up in the next few days! 🙂

  2. I’ll second “The Yellow Wallpaper,” but my favorite is “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by JD Salinger. It’s fantastic. Great dialogue, has a clear beginning-middle-end, and just really well-written. I also love “A Small, Good Thing” by Raymond Carver.

  3. Tillie Olsen’s Tell Me a Riddle (though some might consider it a novella). I first read it in college and still remember bawling at the ending, in an academic hall, between classes. No other work of short fiction has had that effect on me.

  4. You already reviewed on of my favorites – Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. But, I think my all-time favorite is actually considered a book – in the Bible. That is – Jonah. In just a few short chapters, a rebellious prophet runs away, gets thrown out of a ship, is swallowed by a large fish, cries out to God, repents, gets vomited up, does his duty, and then pouts because he doesn’t get his way. It’s a classic.

  5. I love short stories too; I’ve taught a few literature classes and always look forward to the short story units. Here are a few of my favorites: “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O Henry, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin, and “Charles” by Shirley Jackson. One thing that makes for a great short story for me is an unexpected ending.

    • Excellent, thank you so much for sharing– I’m glad to have the sage opinion of someone who has taught literature courses!

      I’ve read from all of those authors, but only one of the stories you mentioned. I look forward to reading the rest 🙂

  6. The Death of a Civil Servant by A Chekov and The Cloak by N. Gogol made strong impressions on me during my young years. I still consider Chekov, and Gogol the masters of the genre.

    • It’s not sappy…or if it is, I’m maple syrup.

      “The Gift of the Magi” is one of the stories I’ve read in this challenge, but I have yet to read “The Cop and the Anthem”. Thank you for pointing me to it!

  7. Probably my favorite short story ever would be “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. I read it in eighth grade English and it’s just amazing. I also really liked “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed” by Ray Bradbury (RIP), “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury (I didn’t realize he’d written both of these until today!), and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. There are a lot more that I’ve read and liked, and these (except for Algernon) aren’t necessarily my favorites, they’re just the ones I can remember.

  8. I’m not huge on short stories myself, but one of my favorite authors put out a novella that also had a collection of some of his short stories afterwards a number of years ago. i can’t specifically recall which short story was my favorite, but i remember liking all of them, much more so than i thought i would. It’s Garth Nix’s Across the Wall. The novella is a story that takes place after his main trilogy Abhorsen, which if you haven’t read those books and enjoy fantasy i highly recommend, but you could certainly just read the novella for its face value along with the other stories.

    • Oh my gosh, Garth Nix…yes! I read the Abhorsen trilogy in high school and absolutely loved it. In fact, I bought those books for my little sister for x-mas this year 🙂

      Across the Wall…noted. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Betsy!

  9. Hi short story buffs, I’m looking for a short story I read during my school years (30 or so years ago). It’s about a stranger who arrives at a party and tells the group that he can remove a person and everyone’s memory of this person. They don’t believe him and agree to him doing this. It ends with everyone joking that he didn’t succeed however no one notices the empty stool or chair in the room. Any ideas what this one is called? I’ve been searching for ages and asking people, apparently it was made into a movie at some point. Help! :))

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