Good morning! Today I’m linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for their weekly feature, Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s prompt is “top ten books you’d give to readers who have never read ________.”
I filled in the blank with “short stories”, so I’ll be talking about ten of my favorite short stories or anthologies thereof. Why? Because I love writing short stories, and enjoy reading them almost as much. One cannot survive on thousand-page high fantasy behemoths alone, after all.
1. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
This anthology inspired me to start writing short stories! If you haven’t tried Dahl’s books for older readers (YA and adult) yet, you should. Each story is wildly different from the next – in this book, you’ll find stories about a pickpocket, a boy who talks to animals, a farmer who finds buried Roman treasure in his fields. They’re all outstanding, but the first and title story is still my favorite.
2. Past Perfect, Present Tense by Richard Peck
Don’t let this book’s length – under two hundred pages – fool you into thinking that it’s light on content. Each story is unforgettable, in vastly different ways. Some made me laugh until my sides hurt. Some made me check under the bed for monsters. Together the stories span Peck’s entire career as an author. (P.S. Interspersed with his stories is writing advice, if you’re interested in that.)
3. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Rrrgh, how do I even talk about this story without giving away too much? Let’s just say it’s partially about feminism and partially about insanity and it’s really, really creepy. Highly recommended.
4. I’m A Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away by Bill Bryson
I’m cheating here: This is actually a collection of essays, but short stories. But whatever. One can’t always read fiction, right? I know I can’t. Anyway. When Bryson came back to his home country, he wrote a weekly newspaper column about his experiences there versus his life in the UK. Most of the essays are about completely mundane subjects like summer movies or the post office, but they’re not boring. They’re actually HILARIOUS. Trust me on this, OK?
I swear this book was written just for me. The twenty-odd stories were written by such nerds as Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, David Levithan, and John Green. In between each one is a dorky comic about geek life. This book is perfect.
6. “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Arthur Conan Doyle
My two favorite Sherlock Holmes stories! I really think that if you’ve never read anything about the famous detective and want to start, you should begin with the short stories instead of the novellas. They’re better, in my opinion. The first story mentioned here has a terrific twist right at the very end, and the second features one of my favorite cunning villains – Irene Adler. Yay for clever ladies!
7. Am I Blue? Coming Out From The Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer
There may be other YA LGBTQ+ anthologies out there, but to date this is the only one I have read. I hardly ever give books five-star ratings, but some of the stories here totally deserve that.
8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Honestly, I think sometimes I prefer this to the Harry Potter series proper. My favorites are “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and the haunting “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” but they’re all good. They feel as if they were written ages and ages ago, not in the 2010s.
9. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Each story in this collection is sweet but not overly so, and they’re really well written for children’s books. Forget the Disney version – this is SO MUCH BETTER!
10. The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie
Of course I included something by Christie! This is me you’re talking about. All the stories, although different in subject, feature Miss Marple solving mysteries. And I didn’t solve ANY of them before she did. Oh, well.
Well, that’s my list. I hope you liked it! I tried to feature books from a variety of genres – fantasy, mystery, children’s books, et cetera. There’s so much variety in short stories! They may be short in length, but they’re definitely not short on content.
What are your favorite short stories?