On Reading: The Short Story

A number of people told me that they never have time to read. Some even dislike it because they don’t have enough patience to finish a thick book. But appreciating literature doesn’t mean that one has to read a bulky volume like War and Peace from cover to cover. Don’t forget that there’s such a thing as The Short Story.

I’m not an expert on these things like my former English Professor, Dr. Pesigan, was. But I can recommend a few favorites. So here is a top ten list of my favorite brilliant short story writers (in random order) and a few links to their works. Print them out and you may read them in the bus on your way to work, or during 15-minute coffee breaks. Enjoy!

  1. O. Henry – One of the best American short story writers who ever lived, well-known for his twist endings. There’s even a lit award named after him.
    [Works: The Gift of the Magi = The Last Leaf = Other Stories ]
  2. Gabriel Garcia-Marquez – This celebrated writer is most famous for his novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. But he has written a number of short story collections as well (I need to get those books :D).
    [Works: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings = One of These Days]
  3. Nick Joaquin – Our very own National Artist, Joaquin has a gift for showing the uniqueness of the Filipino culture. May Day Eve is a well-known classic and Summer Solstice has been made into a film (Tatarin), which, unfortunately, did not equal the quality of the story itself.
    [Works: May Day Eve = Summer Solstice]
  4. Anton Chekhov – My favorite Russian writer (I like him even more than Nabokov and Dostoevsky). His stories are always interesting and very original.
    [Works: The Lottery Ticket = A Transgression = 201 Short Stories]
  5. Jeffrey Archer – Isn’t this guy a modern novelist? Yes, he is. And even if he earned commercial success through his novels, I found his short stories far more pleasurable to read than his longer works (except for Not a Penny More Not a Penny Less).
    [I’m sorry I can’t provide free links to his works, but his short story collections are still in publication and could be bought almost anywhere: Cat o’ Nine Tales = A Twist in the Tale = A Quiver Full of Arrows = Twelve Red Herrings]
  6. Woody Allen – Comedian, actor, writer, and director–Allen has done a lot for the arts. I love his books! They’re funny, satirical, and very very good.
    [Works: The Kugelmass Episode = The Whore of Mensa]
  7. Isaac Asimov – He’s a genius in the sci-fi world and his Foundation series and the Robot novels (I would love to give spoilers about these but I won’t, just read them both) are some of his most well-known works. I fell desperately in love with his sci-fi books before I started reading his other works. Unknown to some, Asimov has actually dabbled in every possible genre: from Chemistry books to joke collections, the Annotated Bible to Mystery short stories, children’s books to essays about every single topic imaginable, he has certainly covered a lot and managed to write over 500 books in his lifetime.
    [Works: The Last Question = Profession = Nightfall]
  8. Guy de Maupassant – He was supposed to be insane, but maybe that’s why he’s such a good writer. 🙂
    [Works: Marroca = The Vendetta]
  9. Nathaniel Hawthorne – Around the same time I started reading Jane Austen, I discovered his works back when I was 11 because I noticed that no one ever borrowed his short story collection from our school library (which is a shame). I was instantly addicted.
    [Works: Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment = Rapaccini’s Daughter = The Artist of the Beautiful = Other Short Stories]
  10. Arthur Conan Doyle – I cannot forget the creator of Sherlock Holmes. I was so into his writing a few summers ago that I did nothing for two months but read all of his Sherlock Holmes stories–the short ones and the novels. I’m still not tired of them. 😀
    [Works: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes = The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes = The Return of Sherlock Holmes = His Last Bow = Everything else]

Happy reading! And Happy New Year to everyone!

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