In honor of the start of Camp NaNoWrimo and my endeavor to write a short story anthology, I thought I’d point you toward some short stories available online that have left a mark on me as a reader/writer.
As an English graduate, short stories were my bread and butter during my academic days. In some ways, I learned to love short stories more than I do novels. All texts, whether 1,000 words or 100,000 words, require a level of bravery and talent to leave any kind of mark on the world, but I think a short story has a lot of work to do in a very limited space that gives them a certain appeal unobtainable by longer novels.
If a short story can elicit some kind of visceral emotion from me within their short pages, I hold them to a different level than I would a novel that did the same. There is no room for background, slow building, or space to grow a strong bond between reader and text in a short story. It’s all action, and if done right, powerful, lasting action.
—That’s not to say I don’t love full-length novels. I’m a reader of all—
I’ve fallen in love with many short tales, but these are my favorites:
If you read any on this list, let it be this one. It has Christian undertones, some might say overtones, like most of Tolkien’s work, but it’s also simply a story about people, about appreciating your neighbor and looking at the world through their eyes. It’s also about an artist, a pastor, death, and a leaf.
This one had me in a moral quandary. If you’re a lover of Utopian/Distopian stories, give this short one a read and decide what you would do. It’s about a perfect society, what is responsible for that perfection, and what one would do in the face of that thing which makes it perfect. I’m writing in circles, just give it a read.
Another moral quandary story. This is about a town that holds a lottery once a year as a ritual to bring prosperity to the town. I won’t tell anymore, but it’s definitely worth a read.
This is about a sick woman who is locked away in a house in the country at the advise of her husband to help her get better. Strange things happen in her isolation and the ending is just creepy perfection. Read it.