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Books - Short Stories

Both collections by single authors and anthologies (multiple authors, usually with a theme - Russian stories, stories by women and so on) (Top 10 Index)
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Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges
Borges was probably one the the finest writing minds of the 20th Century. His imagination makes one think of Kafka and Gogol; his depth of knowledge reminds one of Joyce or Woolf. Yet he is extremely easy to read, and this collection of his short stories is one of my favorites. Read "Funes the Memorios" for a good look into how Borges operates - dispassionately, deeply, with humor and an underlying intelligence that tacitly asks more than is presented.

Pricksongs and Descants - Roober Coover
Imagine James Joyce writing for Rolling Stone or Mad magazine. Joyce on acid. You get the picture.

Stream of consciousness with attitude. The strongest stories are "A Pedestrian Accident" and - especially - "The Babysitter."

The Murphy Stories - Mark Costello
A collection of short stories with the unifying theme of the title character, Murphy. The collection is interesting, and the style is somewhat unconventional. The last story in the collection - "Murphy's Xmas" is the strongest.

The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction - R.V. Cassill, editor
A large volume - my edition has over 1,000 pages - that manages to capture most of the classic short fiction and introduce those that are not yet classic, but certainly may be.

Included are Joyce's "The Dead," Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" and Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." All indisputable classics.

It also introduced me to some new authors whose work I greatly admire, with works such as Mark Costello's "Murphy's Xmas," Robert Coover's "The Babysitter," Joyce Carol Oates "How I Contemplated the World From the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again," and - especially - Tillie Olsen's "Tell Me a Riddle." For my money, the latter could ranks right up there with the best of Conrad, Joyce, Kafka, Hemingway and Gogol.

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway is one of those rare authors - Updike and Turgenev are others - who is well-regarded for both his short work and novels. And - unlike many others (such as Cheever) - Hemingway has a substantial body of strong stories and novels.

One of the finest novelists of the 20th Century, he is arguably one of the finest short story writers of the same period (possibly of all time). This collection is not all home-runs, but several of his stories - The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Hills Like White Elephants - are among the best of all short stories.

The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever
Possibly the quintessential New Yorker writer, these stories - primarily about New York City or the surrounding states - are classics. Effortless prose in the vein of E.B. White, another New Yorker contemporary.

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