Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recent Reading - 50 Great Short Stories

As a student of the craft, it pays to see what the legends of the past have done. Originally published in 1952, 50 Great short stories includes literary heavyweights like Hemingway, Poe, Salinger, Joyce, O. Henry and more.

I've highlighted my favorite stories from the bunch and why I think they were selected to be a part of this anthology.

The Other Side of the Hedge by E.M Forster. - This short story takes a creative spin on heaven and hell and human life. It's greatness comes from the world that is created.

For Esme with Love and Squalor by JD Salinger - This short story is a dark romance but very touching. It earns its place by virtue of the emotion it evokes.

The Giocanda Smile by Aldofus Huxley - A scandalous story of a playboys affairs.  The characters are what really set this story apart.

The Death of a Bachelor by Alfred Schnitzler - Another scandalous story, and I feel like it would make a great reality TV show.  It's the twist in the tale that makes this one worth a read.

The Law by Robert M. Coates - Maybe this is just because I have a math brains, but the whole story is a play on the concept of the law of large numbers, that everything comes out on average if the size is big enough. The poignant humor gives this story its merit.

The Ghosts by Lord Dunsany - A unique take on a ghost story. Very interesting concepts here about how your sins carry with you into the afterlife. A great example of suspense.

The Tale by Joseph Conrad - A story withing a story.  The narration here is wonderfully eloquent.  This is what I imagine literary fiction fans drool over. Just amazing prose.

The Man Higher Up by O.Henry - This was my first ever read of O. Henry and I'm bummed I haven't checked in on him sooner.  I love his style and unceasing word play.  It is just masterful.  Not only was the writing a pure treat, the story is also one that appears timeless as it takes on the scandals and villains in the labor, trade, finance triangle.

In the 50 years since publication, I'd love to see what the next 50 stories should be.  What authors should make the cut?  What are some of your favorites?

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