1001 Short Stories

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1001 Short Stories You Must Read Before You Die is an on-going project devoted to listing not just the best short stories, but the ones actual readers think other readers should read.  You'll find most of the great classic short stories listed below along with some you've never heard of.  They're all on this list because somebody out there loves them. 

Here's the current list of 1001 Short Stories You Must Read Before You Die:
  1. Agee, James, "A Mother's Tale"
  2. Anderson, Hans Christian, "The Little Mermaid"
  3. Anderson, Hans Christian, "The Little Match Seller"
  4. Anderson, Sherwood, "A Death in the Woods"
  5. Anderson, Sherwood, "Hands"
  6. Asimov, Isaac, "Bicentennial Man"
  7. Asimov, Isaac, "The Last Question"
  8. Asimov, Isaac, "Nightfall"
  9. Atwood, Margaret, "A Travel Piece"
  10. Bacigalupi, Paolo, "The People of Sand and Slag"
  11. Baldwin, James, "Sonny's Blues"
  12. Barker, Clive, "Cabal"
  13. Barthelme, Donald, "The Balloon"
  14. Barthelme, Donald, "Me and Miss Mandible"
  15. Barthelme, Donald, "The School"
  16. Bausch, Richard, "Letter to the Lady of the House"
  17. Beagle, Peter, "Lila the Werewolf"
  18. Bear, Elizabeth, "Lucifugous"
  19. Beckett, Samuel, "Dante and the Lobster"
  20. Benet, Stephen Vincent, "The Devil and Daniel Webster"
  21. Bierce, Ambrose, "A Bottomless Grave"
  22. Bierce, Ambrose, "An Imperfect Conflagration"
  23. Bierce, Ambrose, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
  24. Bingham, Sallie, "Benjamin"
  25. Blackwood, Algernon, "The Wendigo"
  26. Bloom, Amy, "Love is Not a Pie"
  27. Bloom, Amy, "Silver Water"
  28. Borges, Jorge Luis, "The Library of Babel"
  29. Borges, Jorge Luis, "Pierre Mernard, Aurthor of the Quixote"
  30. Bowen, Elizabeth, "The Demon Lover"
  31. Boyle, T.C. "Chicxulub"
  32. Boyle, T.C. "Greasy Lake"
  33. Bradbury, Ray, "The Crowd"
  34. Bradbury, Ray, "All Summer in a Day"
  35. Bradbury, Ray, "There Will Come Soft Rains"
  36. Bradbury, Ray, "Mars is Heaven"
  37. Braughtigan, Richard, "The Scarlatti Tilt"
  38. Brown, Larry, "Facing the Music"
  39. Butler, Octavia, "Speach Sounds"
  40. Byatt, A.S. "The Story of the Eldest Princess"
  41. Cable, Lydia Marie, "The Quadroons"
  42. Capote, Truman, "A Christmas Memory"
  43. Capote, Truman, "A Diamond Guitar"
  44. Carter, Angela, "The Company of Wolves"
  45. Carter, Angela, "The Tiger's Bride"
  46. Carver, Raymond, "Cathedral"
  47. Carver, Raymond, "Little Things"
  48. Carver, Raymond, "A Small Good Thing"
  49. Carver, Raymond, "What We Talk About, When We Talk About Love"
  50. Cather, Willa, "Eric Harmannson's Soul"
  51. Cather, Willa, "Paul's Case"
  52. Cheever, John, "The Day the Pig fell into the Well"
  53. Cheever, John, "The Swimmer"
  54. Chekov, Anton, "The Bet"
  55. Chekov, Anton, "The Duel"
  56. Chekov, Anton, "The Kiss"
  57. Chekov, Anton, "Steppe"
  58. Chekov, Anton, "Ward 69"
  59. Chekov, Anton, "The Woman With the Little Dog"
  60. Chopin, Kate, "Desiree's Baby"
  61. Cisneros, Sandra, "Eyes of Zapata"
  62. Cisneros, Sandra, "Woman Hollering Creek"
  63. Chopin, Kate, "The Story of an Hour"
  64. Clarke, Arthur C., "Childhood's End"
  65. Clarke, Arthur C., "The Sentinel"
  66. Clarke, Arthur C., "The Star"
  67. Coetzee, J.M., "A House in Spain"
  68. Collins, Wilke, "A Terribly Strange Bed"
  69. Connell, Richard, "The Most Dangerous Game"
  70. Conrad, Joseph, "The Secret Sharer"
  71. Coover, Robert, "The Babysitter"
  72. Cortazar, Julio, "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris"
  73. Cortazar, Julio, "The Night Face Up
  74. Coward, Noel, "Me and the Girls"
  75. Crane, Stephen, "The Open Boat"
  76. Dahl, Roald, "Lamb to the Slaughter"
  77. de Lint, Charles, "The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep"
  78. De Maupassant, Guy, "Boule de Sulf"
  79. De Maupassant, Guy, "The Necklace"
  80. De Maupassant, Guy, "The Parisian Affair"
  81. Derleth, August, "The Lonesome Place"
  82. Diaz, Junot, "Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (New Yorker Short Story)
  83. Dick, Phillip K., "We Can Remember if for You Wholesale"
  84. Dickens, Charles, "The Child's Story" 
  85. Dinesen, Isak, "The Sailor-Boy's Tale"
  86. Dinesen, Isak, "Sorrow-Acre"
  87. Disch, Thomas M., “Descending”
  88. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, "The Adventures of the Devil's Foot"
  89. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, "The Speckled Band"
  90. Dreiser, Theodore, "The Lost Phoebe"
  91. du Maurier, Daphne, "The Blue Lenses"
  92. du Maurier, Daphne, "The Birds"
  93. du Maurier, Daphne, "Don't Look Now"
  94. Ellison, Harlan, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"
  95. Ellison, Ralph, "Battle Royal"
  96. Enright, Elizabeth, "I Pine for Thee"
  97. Farmer, Philip Jose, "Riders of the Purple Wage"
  98. Farris, John, "The Ransome Women"
  99. Faulkner, William, "Barn Burning"
  100. Faulkner, William, That Evening Sun"
  101. Faulkner, William, "A Rose for Emily"
  102. Firbank, Ronald, "A Tragedy in Green"
  103. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"
  104. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
  105. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, "A Diamond as Big as the Ritz"
  106. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, "The Last of the Belles"
  107. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, "May Day"
  108. Flaubert, Gustav, "A Simple Soul"
  109. Foer, Jonathan Safran, "A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease"
  110. Ford, Jeffrey, "At Reparata"
  111. Forster, E.M. "The Road to Colonus"
  112. Gaiman, Neil, "The Problem of Susan"
  113. Gaiman, Neil, "Snow, Glass, Apples"
  114. Gaiman, Neil, "A Study in Emerald"
  115. Gaiman, Neil, "Troll Bridge"
  116. Gaiman, Neil, "The Wedding Present"
  117. Gaines, Ernest J., "The Sky is Gray"
  118. Garcia Marquez, Gabriel, "Eyes of a Blue Dog"
  119. Garcia Marquez, Gabriel, "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"
  120. Glaspell, Susan, "A Jury of Her Peers"
  121. Goethe, "The New Melusina"
  122. Gogol, Nicoli, "The Nose"
  123. Gogol, Nicoli, "Old World Landowners"
  124. Gogol, Nicoli, "The Overcoat"
  125. Gogol, Nicoli, "The Squabble"
  126. Gordimer, Nadine, "Six Feet of the Country"
  127. Gould, Steven, "Peaches for Mad Molly"
  128. Greene, Graham, "The Destructors"
  129. Grimm, Brothers, "Brother Gaily"
  130. Gustafsson, Lars, "Greatness Strikes Where it Pleases"
  131. Harte, Bret, "Colonel Starbottle for the Plaintiff"
  132. Hawthorn, Nathaniel, "The Ministers Black Veil"
  133. Hawthorn, Nathaniel, "Rappaccini's Daughter"
  134. Hawthorn, Nathaniel, "Young Goodman Brown"
  135. Heinlein, Robert, "All You Zombies"
  136. Heinlein, Robert, "In His Bootstraps"
  137. Hemingway, Ernest, "Big Two-Hearted River, Part I"
  138. Hemingway, Ernest, "Big Two-Hearted River, Part II"
  139. Hemingway, Ernest, "A Clean Well-Lighted Place"
  140. Hemingway, Ernest, "Hills Like White Elephants"
  141. Hemingway, Ernest, "Indian Camp"
  142. Hemingway, Ernest, "Soldier's Home"
  143. Henry, O., "The Gift of the Magi"
  144. Henry, O., "The Last Leaf"
  145. Henry, O., "The Ransom of Red Chief"
  146. Henry, O., "The Skylight Room"
  147. Highsmith, Patricia, "The Snail-Watcher"
  148. Highsmith, Patricia, "The Terrapin"
  149. Homes, A.M., "A Real Doll"
  150. Hurston, Nora Zeale, "The Gilded Six-Bits"
  151. Hurst, James, "The Scarlett Ibis"
  152. Hurston, Nora Zeale, "Sweat"
  153. Irving, Washington, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
  154. Irving, Washington, "Rip Van Winkle"
  155. Jacobs, W.W., "The Monkey's Paw"
  156. Jackson, Shirley, "The Lottery"
  157. Jackson, Shirley, "One Ordinary Day with Peanuts"
  158. James, Henry, "The Beast in the Jungle"
  159. James, Henry, "The Jolly Corner"
  160. James, M.R., "The Mezzotint"
  161. James, M.R., "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad"
  162. Johnson, Kij, "The evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change.
  163. Jones, Thom, "I Want to Live"
  164. Joyce, James, "Araby"
  165. Joyce, James, "Clay"
  166. Joyce, James, "The Dead"
  167. Joyce, James, "Eveline"
  168. July, Miranda, "The Swim Team"
  169. Kafka, Franz, "The Hunger Artist"
  170. Kafka, Franz, "Outside the Law"
  171. Kafka, Franz, "In the Penal Colony"
  172. Kafka, Franz, "The Metamorphosis"
  173. Keeble, Helen, "In Ashes"
  174. Keyes, Daniel, "Flowers for Algernon"
  175. Kincaid, Jamaica, "Girl"
  176. King, Stephen, "Graveyard Shift"
  177. King, Stephen, "The Body"
  178. Kingston, Maxine Hong, "The Woman Warrior"
  179. Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund, "In the Pupil"
  180. Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund, "Quadraturn"
  181. Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund, "The Runaway Fingers"
  182. Lahiri, Jhumpa, "Interpreter of Maladies"
  183. Lahiri, Jhumpa, "The Third and Final Continent"
  184. Lahiri, Jhumpa, "This Blessed House"
  185. Lahiri, Jhumpa, "Sexy"
  186. Lahiri, Jhumpa, "A Temporary Matter"
  187. Laudner, Ring, "The Golden Honeymoon"
  188. Laudner, Ring, "Haircut"
  189. Lawrence, D.H., "The Rocking Horse Winner"
  190. Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, "Carmilla"
  191. Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, "In a Glass Darkly"
  192. Le Guin, Ursula K., "April in Paris"
  193. Le Guin, Ursula K., "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight"
  194. Le Guin, Ursula K., "Darkness Box"
  195. Le Guin, Ursula K., "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"
  196. Lee, Tanith, "Rapunzel"
  197. Leong, Russel Charles, "Geography One"
  198. Leong, Russel Charles, "Phoenix Eyes"
  199. Leong, Russel Charles, "Runaways"
  200. Letham, Jonathan, "This Shape We're In"
  201. Link, Kelly, "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose"
  202. London, Jack, "To Build a Fire"
  203. Louie, David Wong, "Pangs of Love"
  204. Lovecraft, H.P., "Call of Cthulhu"
  205. MacDonald, George, "The Golden Key"
  206. Machen, Arthur, "The Great God Pan"
  207. Machen, Arthur, "The White People"
  208. Malamud, Bernard, "Angel Levine"
  209. Malamud, Bernard, "The First Seven Years"
  210. Malamud, Bernard, "The Magic Barrel"
  211. Mansfield, Katherine, "The Garden Party"
  212. Mansfield, Katherine, "How Pearl Was Kidnapped"
  213. Mansfield, Katherine, "Prelude"
  214. Marakami, Haruki, "After The Quake"
  215. Matheson, Richard, "Legion of Plotters"
  216. Matheson, Richard, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"
  217. Maughm, Somerset W., "Rain"
  218. Melville, Herman, "Bartleby the Scrivener"
  219. Melville, Herman, "Benito Cereno"
  220. Millahuser, Stephen, 'Eisenhiem the Illusionist"
  221. Millhauser, Stephen, "A Game of Clue"
  222. Mitchell, David, "Judith Castle"
  223. Monterroso, Augusto, "The Dinosaur"
  224. Moore, Alan, "A Hypothetical Lizard"
  225. Moore, Laurie, "How to Talk to Your Mother"
  226. Moore, Laurie, "Two Boys"
  227. Munro, Alice, "The Bear Came Over the Mountain"
  228. Munro, Alice, "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"
  229. Murakami, Haruki, "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning"
  230. Nabokov, Vladimir, "Spring in Fialta"
  231. Oates, Joyce Carol, "The Girl with the Blackened Eye"
  232. Oates, Joyce Carol, 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"
  233. O'Brien, Tim, The Sweetheart of a Song Bra Bong"
  234. O'Brien, Tim, "The Things They Carried"
  235. O'Connor, Flannery, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
  236. O'Connor, Flannery, "Everything that Rises Must Converge"
  237. O'Connor, Flannery, "Good Country People"
  238. O'Connor, Flannery, "The Misfit"
  239. O'Connor, Flannery, "Revelation"
  240. O'Connor, Flannery, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"
  241. Olsen, Tillie, "I Stand Here Ironing"
  242. Orwell, George, "A Hanging"
  243. Ozick, Cynthia, "The Shawl"
  244. Paley, Grace, "A Woman, Young and Old"
  245. Palwick, Susan, "Getsella"
  246. Parker, Dorothy, "Big Blonde"
  247. Parker, Dorothy, "A Telephone Call"
  248. Parker, Dorothy, "The Waltz"
  249. Parker, Dorothy, "Here We Are"
  250. Perkins Gilman, Charlotte, "The Yellow Wallpaper"
  251. Pinera, Virgilio, "The Face"
  252. Plath, Sylvia, "Above the Oxbow"
  253. Plath, Sylvia, "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams"
  254. Plath, Sylvia, "That Widow Mangada"
  255. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Black Cat"
  256. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Cask of Amantillado"
  257. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Gold Bug"
  258. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Fall of the House of Usher"
  259. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Mask of the Red Death"
  260. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Pit and the Pendulum"
  261. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Purloined Letter"
  262. Poe, Edgar Allen, "The Tell-Tale Heart"
  263. Pratt, Tim, "Little Gods"
  264. Proulx, Annie, "Brokeback Mountain"
  265. Puskin, Alexander, "The Queen of Spades"
  266. Purdy, James, "Kitty Blue"
  267. Quiroga, Horacio, "The Dead Man"
  268. Rose-Innes, Henrietta, "Poison"
  269. Rulfo, Juan, "Talpa"
  270. Russell, Karen, "Ava Wrestles the Aligator"
  271. Saki, "The Seven Cream Jugs"
  272. Saki, "Srendi Vashtar"
  273. Salinger, J.D., "For Esme - With Love and Squalor"
  274. Salinger, J.D., "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"
  275. Salinger, J.D., "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters"
  276. Sansom, William, "Difficulty with a Bouquet"
  277. Sansom, William, "The Long Sheet"
  278. Sansom, William, "Various Temptations"
  279. Sansom, William, "A Woman Seldom Found"
  280. Sartre, Jean-Paul, "The Wall"
  281. Saunders, George, "Pastoralia"
  282. Saunders, George, "Sea Oak"
  283. Sayers, Dorothy, "Suspicion"
  284. Schanoes, Veronica, "How to Bring Someone Back from the Dead"
  285. Self, Will, "Understanding the Ur-Bororo"
  286. Sherman, Rob, "Tiny Deaths"
  287. Singer, Isaac Beshivis, "Gimpel the Fool"
  288. Smith, Ali, "The Theme is Power"
  289. Steinbeck, John, "Chrystanthamums"
  290. Stevenson, Robert Louis, "The Bottle Imp"
  291. Stockton, Frank, "The Lady or the Tiger"
  292. Stoker, Bram, "Dracula's Guest"
  293. Taylor, Elizabeth, "The Ambush"
  294. Thurber, James, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
  295. Tolkien, JRR, "Leaf by Niggle"
  296. Tolstoy, Leo, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
  297. Tolstoy, Leo, "How Much Land Does a Man Need"
  298. Tolstoy, Leo, "The Kreutzer Sonata"
  299. Tolstoy, Leo, "Master and Man"
  300. Toole, F.X., "Million Dollar Baby"
  301. Tower, Wells, "Down Through the Valley"
  302. Turgenev, "Bezhin Prairie"
  303. Twain, Mark, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
  304. Twain, Mark, "War Prayer"
  305. Updike, John, "A & P"
  306. Updike, John, "Pigeon Feathers"
  307. Updike, John, "Separating"
  308. Vonnegut, Kurt, "Harrison Bergeron"
  309. Wade Wellman, Mary, "Where Angels Fear"
  310. Walker, Alice, "Everyday Use"
  311. Welty, Eudora, "Petrified Man"
  312. Welty, Eudora, "Why I Live at the P.O."
  313. Westerfield, Scott, "Ass-Hat Magic Spider"
  314. Wharton, Edith, "Roman Fever"
  315. White, T.H., "The Troll"
  316. Wilce, Ysabeau S., "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire"
  317. Wilde, Oscar, "The Birthday of the Infanta"
  318. Wilde, Oscar, "The Nightingale and the Rose"
  319. Williams, William Carlos, "The Use of Force"
  320. Willis, Connie, "Fire Watch"
  321. Wodehouse, P.G., "The Metropolitan Touch"
  322. Wolfe, Gene, "The Island of Doctor Death"
  323. Wolfe, Thomas, "Only the Dead Know Brooklyn"
  324. Wolff, Tobias, "Bullet in the Brain"
  325. Wolff, Tobias, "Hunters in the Snow"
  326. Wolfe, Gene, "Westwind"
  327. Woolf, Virginia, "The Mark on the Wall"
  328. Woolrich, Cornell, "Rear Window (It Had to be Murder)"
  329. Wright, Richard, "Big Boy Leaves Home"
  330. Wright, Richard, "Fire and Cloud"
  331. Yamamoto, Hisaya, "Seventeen Syllables"
  332. Yates, Richard, "Dr. Jack-o'-Lantern"
  333. Yates, Richard, "I'm So Tired"
  334. Yeats, W.B. "The Adoration of the Magi"
This list is updated periodically.  Someday, we'll reach our goal of 1001 short stories.

If you've read a short story that you think everyone should read, please let me know in a comment below.


Kenny said...

Thanks for this wonderful list. I'm going to examine it and mark the ones I've read ... perhaps in a spreadsheet and will see if I have any additional suggestions for you.!

Kenny A. Chaffin

Kenny said...

I put these into a spreadsheet, if you are interested. By my count I've read 78 or those on your list.


Sarsafrass said...

Hey C.B, new follower here - I love this list but it is sorely missing one of Arthur C Clarke's best! The Nine Billion Names of God, which I first read in an Alberto Manguel anthology called Blackwater 2, in itself a great collection of short stories. It can be found online here: http://hermiene.net/short-stories/nine_billion_names_of_god.html

Tinhead said...

"Inconstant Moon" by Larry Niven is one I'd highly recommend. "The Nine Billion Names of God" recommended by Sarsafrass is very good, if slightly dated now. I'm knew to this site (link in today's UK Guardian newspaper) but I notice that the list contains a high percentage of science fiction stories. Wonder why this is?

GCLF said...

"Love Poems" by Helon Habila (http://bit.ly/KVKKc0) is a beautiful story that never grows old. "The Headstron Historian" by Chimamanda Adichie (http://nyr.kr/KVLqyh) is also very good. Another gem of short fiction is "Tropical Fish" by Doreen Baingana.

CEJ said...

Sundaresan, Indu, “Three and Half Seconds”. Sundaresan, Indu, “The Faithful Wife”. Schlosser, S.E. "The Yellow Ribbon" (though I don't think this is the original).

m. a. j. c. said...

I'm not sure it qualifies for your list, but Fredrick Brown's "The Answer" is a great example of 1950's sci fi fascination with the computer as almighty...

Bybee said...

The Catbird Seat - James Thurber
You Could Look It Up - James Thurber