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Topic: Classics challenge help needed- short stories

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Subject: Classics challenge help needed- short stories
Date Posted: 5/4/2012 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I can't think of a short story collection to read for my classics challenge, so I was thinking of reading 10 classic short stories from different authors but I can't decide which ones.  I've already read The Monkey's Paw, The Gift of the Magi, The Veldt, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Lottery and To Build a Fire.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

If I can't think of 10 I might just go with plan B and get another collection of H.P. Lovecraft, but I was hoping to explore some new stuff.

Date Posted: 5/4/2012 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Sevenspiders, I haven't yet read M.R. James (he's on my wishlist), but given your liking for H.R. Lovecraft, perhaps you might want to give M.R. James a try?  For example, there is his Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories (The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James, Vol. 1).

Edith Wharton wrote a memorable collection of ghost stories as well. The collection is titled, logically, The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton.

I am slowly making my way through Daphne DuMaurier's short story collection Don't Look Now. It's got some of her best known stories -- The Birds, Don't Look Now (both turned into movies) as well as some new-to-me shorter works. It's not that the collection is a slog to get through, it's just that I have other works I need to read straight through, so I'll read a novel and then read one or two of the DuMaurier short stories.

For offbeat, macabre humor, how about The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl or any of his other story collections for adults (while famous for his children's tales these are definitely not for the kiddies -- what fun!) And how about Patricia Highsmith short stories? She is *so* creepy!!! A real joy to read!!

For something a little different, another great collection that comes to mind is Flannery O'Connor and of course William Maxwell, who wrote many many stories for The New Yorker -- his stories are not built on surprise or suspense, although there's much low key humor and intriguing character study in his stories.

Looks like you'll have a fun time in your local public library browsing through their short story section. (I was going to say neighborhood bookstore, but those, alas, are disappearing...) Have fun!


Janet E.

Last Edited on: 5/4/12 11:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/5/2012 3:57 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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I just read a Daphne DuMaurier collection of short stories entitled The Doll: I highly recommend this book!


Date Posted: 5/6/2012 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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If you like Lovecraft, what about Lord Dunsany?  His short stories were an influence on Lovecraft.

His Fifty-One Tales collection in particular had quite a few that reminded me of Lovecraft.  He has that same trick of having a short story with no plot but creates an excellent mood.

Most of the stories in it are very short - some just a paragraph or two, many a couple of pages, so the whole thing just a tad over 100 pages long.

There's one story in there, "Charon", that I'm pretty sure inspired Neil Gaiman's story "Nicholas Was".

I've also read Flannery O'Conner's collected works and liked it as well.

Date Posted: 5/7/2012 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I just finished reading Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles.

I enjoyed it more than I thought i would. I am not into space technology and things with unpronounceable names, but these short stories were more about the human condition than technology. 

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 5/9/2012 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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Tome, my OD loves the Martian Chronicles, I havent read them yet.

For short stories, have you read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut? I rank that one up there with Yellow Wallpaper.

There is also the Sherlock Holmes short stories and Edgar Allan Poe if you havent already read them.

Some other good ones are:

Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl (one of my favorites)

Lady with a Lap Dog (I think that is the title) by Anton Chekhov

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

The Open Window by Saki

Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (another favorite of mine)


Here is a link to some short stories online, but there are other places you can access them as well,  http://www.classicshorts.com/abc.html

Date Posted: 5/9/2012 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
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I was going to say Saki, too. He's also known as HH Munro. I grew up with his book Humor, Horror, and the Supernatural.

The Two Brothers is a Grimm's Fairy Tale, a very odd story. My kids loved when I read that one to them- it took close to 45 minutes out loud. It's a laugh out loud kind of bizarre.

The Baskerville Hound

Prosecution for the Witness

The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton- I THINK that one is a short story. Or a long story, but not a novel.

Oh, a fave in our house: Frank Stockton. He did The Lady or the Tiger- but he also had a sequel to it called The Discourager of Hesitancy. My fave Stockton of all: The Griffin and the Minor Canon.


Last Edited on: 5/9/12 6:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2012 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I've read all the Sherlock Holmes canon and a great deal of Poe, also The Lady or the Tiger, The Necklace, Lamb to the Slaughter, Rapaccini's Daughter, and Harrison Bergeron.  I'll have to check out the rest. 

Date Posted: 5/10/2012 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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Here are some of my favorites:

"A Rose for Emily"  William Faulkner

"The Fall of the House of Usher"  Edgar Allan Poe

"The Cask of Amontillado"  Edgar Allan Poe

"The Most Dangerous Game"  Richard Connell



Date Posted: 5/11/2012 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Now that you all are refreshing my memory, here are some of my favorites that I remember reading in lit class:


"A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner ( the only Faulkner I dig) 

"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte. Gilmore

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"  by Flannery O'Connor. I only ended up liking this because I had to analyze it to death and write a paper on it. If I was reading it at leisure I would have said yuck. 

"The Sky is Gray" by Ernest Gaines. The only story that brought tears to my eyes. So sweet.

"There Will Come Soft Rain" by Ray Bradbury

"The Cast of Amontilado" was the first short story I ever read (high school) that completely freaked me out and stayed with me way longer than "The Tell Tale Heart." 

"The Shunned House" by H.P. Lovecraft. Actually lots of Lovecraft too numerous to mention. Just download a collection on your e-reader. The best free stuff you can find.

Date Posted: 5/11/2012 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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and "First Confession" by Frank O' Connor



Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 5/11/2012 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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Check out Alan Sillitoe. He's British (or was, he died last year) and writes the best short stories. The Lonelinesss of the Long Distance Runner is his most well known but they're all good. The kind that make you think but not in a hit-you-over-the-head-with-philosophy way. They have depth but you have to work for it a little. 

If you want to get really classic I just read The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy. That wasn't bad, I like books that make me feel even if it is negative and I really wanted to slap those people. 

Last Edited on: 5/11/12 6:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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That wasn't bad, I like books that make me feel even if it is negative and I really wanted to slap those people. 


I love it when I come across a character that I "love to hate." 

Date Posted: 5/15/2012 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
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My daughter in high school has been talking a lot about Faulkner's, A Rose for Emily. They recently read it in her English class

She's been telling me "I have to read it!" for the past week.

Date Posted: 7/22/2012 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Okay,  I've got my list of 10 classic short stories, although I'm reserving the right to change it as I go along.  Feel free to keep making suggestions.

  • Signs & Symbols by Vladimir Nabokov
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
  • The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence
  • A Very Old Man With Wings by Gael Garcia Marquez
  • The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving
  • Bewitched by Edith Wharton
  • The Whisperer in the Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Devil by Guy du Maupassant
  • The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne