List-O-Mania: Short Stories


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:

  1.                  A Good Man is Hard to Find                                       Flannery O’Connor
  2.                  That Evening Sun                                                         William Faulkner
  3.                  Big Two Hearted River                                                Ernest Hemmingway
  4.                  An Occurrence at Owl’s Creek Bridge                       Ambrose Bierce
  5.                  Hunters in the Snow                                                    Tobias Wolff
  6.                  My Son the Murderer                                                 Bernard Malamud
  7.                  A Rose For Emily                                                         William Faulkner
  8.                 Death in the Woods                                                       Sherwood Anderson
  9.                 Barn Burning                                                                 William Faulkner
  10.                 Two Soldiers                                                                  William Faulkner
  11.                 The Man Who Was Almost A Man                             Richard Wright
  12.                 Bartleby the Scribner                                                   Herman Melville
  13.                 To Build a Fire                                                               Jack London
  14.                 Good Country People                                                   Flannery O’Connor
  15.                 Dry September                                                             William Faulkner
  16.                 Indian Camp                                                                  Ernest Hemmingway
  17.                 Young Goodman Brown                                               Nathaniel Hawthorne
  18.                 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty                                  James Thurber
  19.                 Eyes of the Panther                                                      Ambrose Bierce
  20.                 The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky                                  Stephen Crane
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