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The short story genre is often eclipsed by the allure of sinking one’s reading teeth into the lengthier novel. Yet despite the genre’s lack of popularity with mainstream readers, the short story form remains the standby for teaching young readers and hopeful writers alike.


First and foremost, I am a lover of literary fiction, which readily shows in my short story collection Such is Life. I highly suggest getting acquainted with the short story genre of contemporary realism. Literary short stories can teach aspiring writers a lot about how to effectively craft fiction in a relatively short amount of time. Now how sweet is that?


Picture of Old-Fashioned Typewriter


Not to mention, the continued rise of Kindle shorts will inevitably continue to lead to more readers making the decision to download shorter works. For all the hustle and bustle of modern life, it really does surprise me that more people don’t read short stories. Perhaps it is because English teachers (which I once was) beat the life out of the genre when it comes time to teaching students how to do literary analysis.


Like many who read and write voraciously, I maintain a long list of books that crawled inside my mind and soul and somehow changed who I was, whether in terms of outlook on the world or in terms of the power of wielding words effectively on the page.


Picture of a kid reading in library.


I first visited this list back in June 2012 when my blog barely had any readers. Now that I’m re-visiting my goals for this blog, I wanted to re-post my list. Watch for future posts where I analyze passages from these stories for short story spotlight posts where I explore literary elements in context.

10 Short Story Examples of Excellence

  1. “Carnal Knowledge” by T. C. Boyle
  2. “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor
  3. “Janus” by Ann Beattie
  4. “Killings” by Andre Dubus
  5. “The Hellhole” by Annie Proulx
  6. “Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff
  7. “Mrs. Sen’s” by Jhumpa Lahiri
  8. “Rock Springs” by Richard Ford
  9. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
  10. “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates


The stories above, in addition to countless other short stories, novels, essays, and memoirs have shaped the writer I am still becoming.


What works have most influenced you as a writer?


Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.


Image Credits: Old Typewriter by Petr Kratochvil and Child And Books by George Hodan

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