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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Which are the 3 best short stories you ever read and who is your favorite short story author of all time?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17232points) August 13th, 2010

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46 Answers

iWitch's avatar

My favorite short story is, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Marquez.

I’m not a big short story person, so that’s pretty much the only one I’ve ever liked.

Rarebear's avatar

A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury
Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
Surface Tension by James Blish

Seek's avatar

I don’t think I could choose three of the “best of all time”...

I’ll give you three authors, and three examples of good stories by them, mmkay?

H.P. Lovecraft – The Doom that Came to Sarnath
Edgar Allan Poe – The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Stephen King – Lunch at the Gotham Café

SuperMouse's avatar

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
Boys by Rick Moody
The Red Convertible by Louise Erdich

Close runner up: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

romanFluther's avatar

jorge luis borges.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Robert E Howard- The Dwellers Under the Tomb
Liam O’Flaherty- The Sniper
Edgar Allan Poe- The Cask of Amontillado or Hop Frog

Frankie's avatar

Jhumpa Lahiri is by far my favorite short story writer. I can’t pick any three of her short stories that I like best because they are all wonderful. I highly recommend her first book of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, as well as her second book of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth. The stories in Unaccustomed Earth are significantly longer than those in her first book, but that allows the stories to be much more detailed and rich. All of her books are great, especially if you do not know much about Indian culture, which is a main theme in all of her stories.

Frankie's avatar

@SuperMouse Lurve for recommending The Yellow Wallpapersuch a great story!

jfos's avatar

—“Firebugs” by Max Frisch
—“Erostratus” by Jean-Paul Sartre

Austinlad's avatar

Nine Stories by JD Salinger are nine of my favorites.

I also love the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradberry.

MacBean's avatar

Short stories are my favorite form of writing, so it’s damn near impossible for me to answer this question. I can probably come up with a list of five that affected me the most, though.
– The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin
– The Jaunt by Stephen King
– 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut (Because @SuperMouse already said my other favorite Vonnegut story)
– The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges
– The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Some favorite short story authors: E.A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Mike Resnick, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, Shirley Jackson, O. Henry, Roald Dahl, Jorge Luis Borges, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Tobias Wolff, Vladimir Nobokov, P.G. Wodehouse… Hans Christian Andersen, Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault… I could probably go on forever. Seriously, I really like short stories. XD

SuperMouse's avatar

@MacBean The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas was on my original list, but I ended up having to narrow it! That story is great and very chilling.

MacBean's avatar

@SuperMouse The first time I read that story it was for my Comp & Lit class in my first semester of college (fall 2002). We had to read it and then write an analysis/journal entry talking about what the story meant (in general and to us personally) and whether or not we would have stayed or left. Most people wrote about a page. I was on my fifth before I finally skipped a few lines, wrote “You know what? I really just don’t know” and gave up. Since then I’ve thought about it at least weekly—it’s one of the things I often find myself pondering as I’m falling asleep—and I still don’t have an answer.

downtide's avatar

I read a book of short stories on a theme, called “Changewars” by Fritz Lieber. Those were my favourites. Science-fiction stuff about time-travel, and the paradoxes thereof. Very clever stuff.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It’s been awhile since I read any short stories, but I do love Poe.

etignotasanimum's avatar

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway
The Yellow Wallpaper
The Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka.
I really like Kafka’s, it was sort of intense.

Carly's avatar

Favorite Short Stories:
“Head and Shoulders,” By F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Kashtanka,” By Anton Chekov
“Sexy,” By Jhumpa Lahiri

Favorite Short Story Author: Robert Olen Butler

soarwing11's avatar

“Anthem” by Ayn Rand. Read it. It is free on-line as far as I know.

ratboy's avatar

‘The Postcard Collection’ by Kenneth Koch,
‘The Moon in its Flight’ by Gilbert Sorrentino,
‘The Babysitter’ by Robert Coover.

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

The only Short Story I ever liked was “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

lifeflame's avatar

mmm, off the top of my head:

Haruki Murakami also does good short stories in addition on his novels (The Second Bakery Attack is a funone)
also chalk one up for Jhumpa Lahiri (my personal favourite is A Temporary Matter)
and Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales are also powerful and witty. (The Nightingale and the Rose had me in tears)

For science fiction, my personal favourite is Robert Silverberg. I remember his stories being so incisive, though it has really been a while. I have to dig him up again to reread!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@PsychoticDiscoMonkey try “this one“

Winters's avatar

I know its not short but as a person who reads many books reaching over 1,000 pages each, I’d have to say my favorite three are:
The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
Demian – Herman Hesse
Tomorrow’s Children – Isaac Asimov

lapilofu's avatar

Ernest Hemingway is perhaps my favorite story writer. His Hills Like White Elephants is a poingant, understated story.

Raymond Carver’s Cathedral has similar qualities.

Denis Jonson’s Emergency is bizarre, surreal, and somewhat disturbing—in a good way.

filmfann's avatar

I loved reading Robert Benchley and Raymond Chandler, for very different reasons.

lapilofu's avatar

Oh man, I keep thinking of more. Does Kafka’s Metamorphosis count? Too long?

Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is gorgeous.

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Perhaps if it wasn’t so long, but I don’t have the time. I’m trying to get over what I thought was a very smooth-running relationship at the moment.

Seek's avatar


May I recommend some Kahlil Gibran? I find he always helps me clear my head when I’m under stress. Get your hands on “The Prophet”, at least.

filmfann's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Lurve always given at the mention of Kahlil Gibran.

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I’ve never heard of him/her.. Is Kahlil a poet, musician, or what?

Seek's avatar

Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese prose poet/philosopher.

His writings are inspirational and beautiful, and spiritual without banging you over the head with religion.

His best-known work is called “The Prophet”, which is a collection of poetry bound into a story about a prophet speaking to a gathered audience. The people ask him “Speak to us of love”, “Speak to us of children”, etc. and the prophet gives his wisdom.

His other short stories and quotes are also wonderful. My husband recently wrote a song based on the prose “The Cry of the Graves”.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Agree with @Seek_Kolinahr , Gibran is awesome. I’d have to pick Poe as the best short-story writer, especially “Csak of the Amontillado”.

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Ah, if you want to talk about Quotes, I like “Mother is the name for God on the Lips and Hearts of all Children”. Try to guess where it came from. <33 I can’t get over the movie.. But when it comes to Poetry, I can’t stand it. Most of it has a lot of Rhyming and Rhymes are one of my “Pet Peeves”. After that, I can’t stand the thought of love.. And there is no such thin as “Peace” and “prospirity”(Sorry, I know I spelled it wrong, but I’m having a very bad week…Month… Year..). So it just seems unrealistic to me.

If I try to read a Poem, it better not be some piece of shit that some one made up who thinks they’re a “Professional” at it. I’ve had people to try and share them with me before. I mean, come on. if you’re going to write something at least make it good. It’s not that hard.

But if we are to speak, please, don’t tell me of any relationship. I just got out of one and can barely even get out of bed to take my medicine.

MacBean's avatar

It’s not that hard.

Oh, yeah? Show us how it’s done, then.

lapilofu's avatar

I thought of another one! Last one, I promise. Dorothy Allison’s River Of Names is beautiful and tragic.

whatthefluther's avatar

My favorite short story author (and author, in general) is Kurt Vonnegut (as mentioned by @SuperMouse and @MacBean , above) and my favorite compilation, Welcome to the Monkey House. Narrowing down to a top three list would be difficult, but it would probably be filled with stories from Vonnegut and E.A.P.. See ya…..Gary/wtf

whatthefluther's avatar

Remembering back (a long time ago) to a Russian Lit class, both Tolstoy and Chekhov wrote some very powerful short stories. Time to dust off some of the old books
See ya….Gary/wtf

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

@MacBean All right then. “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. Now go screw.”

You really need to get a life. I don’t have time to compose something that will never amount to anything.

Poetry is one of the easiest forms of “Art”, although it does not deserve the credit it gets. Poems consist of but a few elements, and as long as you can put those elements into making a sentence, you can write Poetry. But it must all be along the same lines.

I used to write poems every day, when I was 12–14. But then I grew up and realized that as long as you’re sitting on your fat-ass doing nothing, you won’t ever be anything.

If you want to do anything, go to College and make something of yourself. Don’t just sit there and write about how depressed you feel. Actually do something to change it.

Or perhaps, how in love you are.

MacBean's avatar

Seriously, how can people read garbage like that and still oppose a “bad answer” option? Oof.

lapilofu's avatar

@PsychoticDiscoMonkey Really? Poetry is useless, but college is useful? I don’t know if I’ve heard that perspective before. In my experience, poetry and college go hand-in-hand.

PsychoticDiscoMonkey's avatar

@lapilofu Oh, and what does Poetry do for you? Make your emotions feel better? Awh, poor emo.

College will get you a degree so you can get by in life. Poetry does nothing to help you with anything, unless you’re some over-emotional whore who needs to get out and face the real world instead of his/her own little fantasy world they made up on the Internet so they could feel better.

MacBean's avatar

@PsychoticDiscoMonkey Troll a little harder, pumpkin. Practice makes perfect.

lapilofu's avatar

I think I’m so insulted I’m going crawl into a corner and cry and write a poem about this. Just like Sappho and Will Shakespeare used to do.

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