I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while. It is tough to put together. How do you not include Chekhov, Munro or Fitzgerald? Which story do you include from the works of Hemingway or O’Connor?
I have so many more short stories to read from the hundreds of truly excellent stories out there. And lots of great stories and authors didn’t make this cut!
Why did these chosen few make the list? First of all, these were ones that I recalled even without a reference guide — I remembered them because they literally stuck with me. Each one hit me in the gut, not only on the first reading but on multiple readings. They made me think, feel, ponder, wonder.
1. A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor
2. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
3. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy
4. The Dead, James Joyce
5. Cathedral, Raymond Carver
6. Barn Burning, William Faulkner
7. Greenleaf, Flannery O’Connor
8. The Babysitter, Robert Coover
9. Sea Oak, George Saunders
10. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, Ernest Hemingway
Want to learn about more short story titles? The Danforth Review asked various authors and teachers for a list of stories the would teach in an introductory course. Please list your favorite short stories in the comments, or I “tag” you to post your own top 10 on your personal blog.