For some reason lately, I’ve been occupying my spare time making any number of top ten lists. I have no idea why. The lists cover a wide range of topics, from top 10 favorite movies to top 10 favorite pre-packaged breakfast foods (Quaker Oats Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal is number one, in case you are curious). Not that anyone gives a rip about me or my opinions, but I thought I’d post some of these lists from time to time on my blog, because, one, it is my blog, and two, why not?
So, since it is the middle of summer, we begin with my top ten favorite short stories of all time. It seems like summer, for whatever reason, is when I read most of these stories. Maybe it’s because the days are longer and as a kid I had summer vacation, but short stories for me are as much a part of summer as baseball.
You’ll notice that I have actually listed 20, not ten, because it didn’t seem right leaving the ones in places 11-20 off the list.
Like all the lists, not a tremendous amount of thought or time went into creating it, and I have undoubtedly forgotten a couple that moments after I post this I will remember and slap myself on the forehead, hopefully not rendering myself unconscious again.
Note too that all the entries are from American Lit. I’d like to give some high falutin’ explanation of the short story as a uniquely American art form, but the truth is that I am not as well read in world literature as I’d like to pretend I am.
You’ll also notice an overabundance of William Faulkner titles. This is because, despite his many and considerable faults, he is my favorite short-story writer of all time. His ridiculous and over dramatic style for me, for some reason, works so much better in the short forms than in his novels. One of the first books I ever purchased was his Collected Stories, and it remains among my favorite books (list number 37).
Here is my list – comments are welcome:
- A Good Man is Hard to Find Flannery O’Connor
- That Evening Sun William Faulkner
- Big Two Hearted River Ernest Hemmingway
- An Occurrence at Owl’s Creek Bridge Ambrose Bierce
- Hunters in the Snow Tobias Wolff
- My Son the Murderer Bernard Malamud
- A Rose For Emily William Faulkner
- Death in the Woods Sherwood Anderson
- Barn Burning William Faulkner
- Two Soldiers William Faulkner
- The Man Who Was Almost A Man Richard Wright
- Bartleby the Scribner Herman Melville
- To Build a Fire Jack London
- Good Country People Flannery O’Connor
- Dry September William Faulkner
- Indian Camp Ernest Hemmingway
- Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty James Thurber
- Eyes of the Panther Ambrose Bierce
- The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky Stephen Crane