Book Buzzed’s List of 15 Best Short Stories

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eading novels is good, no doubt. Though short stories are often much more impactful, with their crisp and concise plots. 

Here, we have collected a list of 15 best must-read short stories of all time. Jot it down! 


The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe


This story is a punch in your gut. It is packed with gothic horror about a murderer who is tortured by his own guilt and inevitably confesses the crime. 

The Tell Tale Heart - Edgar Allen Poe I've always loved this story ...


The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck


Elisa Allen tends her garden as her child. Frustrated by being childless and a husband not admiring her enough, the chrysanthemums symbolize femininity, sexuality, and a woman’s identity. Steinbeck’s story is thoughtful and relatable in more than one way.   

The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories by John Steinbeck


The Jewbird by Bernard Malamud


Malamud talks about the plight faced by Jews with the help of an extrovert crow named Schwartz. Funny but thought-provoking, this fable is a take on assimilated American Jews who view their roots as a burden.

The Jewbird by Bernard Malamud


Everyday Use by Alice Walker


Who knew something as simple as quilting can speak volumes? Walker employs quilting as a metaphor of an African-American family legacy and emotions attached to it. 

Everyday Use PDF Summary - Alice Walker | 12min Blog


Going Ashore by Jhumpa Lahiri


Out of all stories written by Lahiri, “Going Ashore” is a masterpiece. The story is about Hema, a middle-aged woman trying to find a buoy in life to cling to. Kaushik comes as her temporary savior, only to be washed away by a tsunami. 

Inside Jumpha Lahiri's the Unaccustomed Earth - Book Review ...


The Landlady by Roald Dahl


The story is about a young man meeting an indulgent landlady. Topped with a murder that sends shivers down your spine, you will think twice before renting a BnB flat. 

The Landlady (A Roald Dahl Short Story) eBook: Dahl, Roald: Amazon ...


The Awakening by Shashi Deshpande


Alka is a woman with high dreams, but fewer resources. Born in a poor family, she scorns her dad for being in the same position since the start. It is only when she reads his letter, she comes to accept her fate and never complain about her misery again. 

Shashi Deshpande: Collected Stories, Volume 1


Pali by Bhisham Sahni


Pali is an important story that is a part of partition literature. A young boy gets lost from his Indian parents and taken into custody by a childless Muslim couple in Pakistan. Communal and religious issues arise when the boy’s biological parents come to get him back. 

पाली: Pali (Hindi Short Stories)


Going to meet the Man by James Baldwin


This short story examines the gap between perpetrators and victims of racism. It goes deeper into the minds of people who are projected to the horrors of the human psyche. 

Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin


The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins


From a leading feminist of the 19th century, this story is about an unconventional woman trapped in a traditional marriage. All she has is an old mansion and a yellow crumbling wallpaper to stare at. 

The Yellow Wallpaper eBook by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Official ...


Araby by James Joyce


To the narrator, araby refers to the beauty and passion he is yearning in his life. It is a brief take on the notions we have. As cliché and simple as it may sound, the theme explored by Joyce is universal.

Araby : By James Joyce - Illustrated - Kindle edition by James ...


Remember this by Graham Swift


It is the tale of a newly married couple who are trying to juxtapose themselves beside each other. It is a must-read short of Graham’s.

England and Other Stories by Graham Swift


The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde


“There is no mystery so great as misery.”
The tale of the prince is a happy one but with a bittersweet winding up. Read it for the dramatic prose of Wilde. 

The Happy Prince: A Tale by Oscar Wilde: Shearring, Maisie ...


The Elephant vanishes by Haruki Murakami


A zookeeper and his old elephant vanish into the air. Is it an optical illusion or magic realism? Read an enthralling short story by the master of tales! 

The Elephant Vanishes eBook: Murakami, Haruki: Kindle Store


The Gift of Magi by O. Henry


This is a classic tale of Della and Jim who want to get each other a present for Christmas. Thanks to O. Henry for conveying that the greatest gift one can give and receive is love. The Gift of the Magi (Holiday Classics Illustrated by ...

So tell us, are you a novel person or short stories person?