8 Very Short Stories You Must Read Immediately

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If you are on the lookout for great storytelling but don’t want to commit to a full-length novel, then short story collections are the answer. Whether it’s just before bed, during your commute, or waiting to see your doctor, small chunks of time are perfect for reading short stories.

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8 Very Short Stories You Must Read Immediately

short story books

1. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

While not exactly a philosophical or political tale like our first two examples, this twisty short story from Dahl does delve into some shady moral territory.

We are introduced to Mary Maloney: a loving wife and dedicated homemaker. In just a few short paragraphs describing how she welcomes her husband home, Dahli makes us sympathize with Mary before a rash act turns her life upside down and takes the reader with her on a dark journey.

2. “The Swan as Metaphor for Love” by Amelia Gray

This very short piece is not going to be for everyone but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’m glad I was able to find a copy of it so easily when it came up recently in a discussion on flash fiction.

I also enjoyed the brief intro and the way the story was presented in the electronic literature recommended reading format. I love short stories and I’ll drop a dollar on a good one anytime.

3. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery” continues to thrill and unsettle readers nearly seven decades after it was first published. By turns puzzling and harrowing, “The Lottery” raises troubling questions about conformity, tradition, and the ritualized violence that may haunt even the most bucolic, peaceful village.

4. “How to Become a Writer” by Lorrie Moore

Taken from award-winning writer Lorrie Moore’s debut short story collection Self-Help (1985), How To Become a Writer is a wryly witty deconstruction of tips for aspiring writers, told in vignettes by a self-absorbed narrator who fails to observe the world around her.

A modern classic, this story has been pulled out to accompany the launch of the Faber Modern Classics list.

5. “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian

Everything that takes place in Cat Person happens to countless people every day. But Cat Person is not an everyday story. In less than a week, Kristen Roupenian’s New Yorker debut became the most read and shared short story in their website’s history. This is the bad date that went viral. This is the conversation we’re all having.

6. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

It begins unassumingly with a Southern family who’s planning to go on a road trip. Yet the journey is rudely interrupted when their car overturns on an abandoned dirt road — and they are met by an enigmatic group of three men, coming up over the far hill.

This short story inspired some strong reactions from the public upon publication — and the conversation continues today as to its frank depiction of the nature of good and evil. Again, we won’t spoil anything for you, except to say that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is well worth your time.

7. “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

If there’s anyone who you can trust to deliver thought-provoking, terrifying science fiction on the regular, it’s Ray Bradbury. In “The Veldt,” George and Lydia Hadley have bought an automated house that comes with a “nursey,” or a virtual reality room.

Worried about the nursery’s effect on the kids, George and Lydia think about turning off the nursey but the problem is that their children are obsessed with it.

As an ominously prescient prediction of the downside of technology, “The Veldt” is a short and shining example of how Ray Bradbury was an author before his time.

8. “A Manual for Cleaning Women” by Lucia Berlin

Although published only a couple of years ago, the 43 short stories in this posthumous collection were written throughout Berlin’s entire life. Combining humor, grit, wit, and melancholy, her vibrant short stories follow a series of women in different occupations from cleaning women to ER nurses all struggling to survive.

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My name is Nupur from India, I am a Management Professional and Digital marketer. I write about Lifestyleblog & Wellness, Productivity, Books & Digital Mrkt

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Nupur Samaddar

Nupur Samaddar

My name is Nupur from India, I am a Management Professional and Digital marketer. I write about Lifestyleblog & Wellness, Productivity, Books & Digital Mrkt

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