Monday, May 28, 2012

Short Stories

St. Peter's List recently had two posts listing ten short stories every Catholic should read:

(1) J. R. R. Tolkien, "Leaf by Niggle"
(2) George MacDonald, "The Light Princess"
(3) Oscar Wilde, "The Selfish Giant"
(4) G. K. Chesterton, "The Blue Cross"
(5) Flannery O'Connor, "Revelation"
(6) Graham Greene, "The Hint of an Explanation"
(7) J. F. Powers, "Lions, Harts, Leaping Does"
(8) Roger B. Thomas, "The Last Ugly Person"
(9) Mark Twain, "The Story of the Bad Little Boy"
(10) Jerome K. Jerome, "The Passing of the Third Floor Back"

I haven't read the Powers, Thomas, or Jerome stories, but all of the rest are quite excellent. I was thinking of what others could be added to the list. I think a good candidate would be:

* Honoré de Balzac, "The Atheist's Mass" -- This is one of the best short stories of an extraordinary writer of short stories. In just a few pen strokes Balzac manages to capture both a great character and the sheer power of friendship.

Hawthorne also has some excellent short stories. Perhaps we could add:

* Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Birthmark"

I am myself quite partial to "The Celestial Railroad," but I'm not sure that's a short story for everyone.

And, of course, several of the authors listed have some other excellent short stories. But I find on reflection that I'm not a major short story person, so I don't have an extensive list of possible candidates. How about you? Any other short stories that a Catholic, or, for that matter, any civilized person, should read?


In the comments, Martin suggests:

* O. Henry, "The Ransom of Red Chief"

John Farrell suggests:

* Raymond Carver, "A Small, Good Thing"
* James Joyce, "The Dead"


  1. Martin10:23 AM

    The Ransom of Red Chief . OHenry

  2. John Farrell7:12 AM

    'A Small, Good Thing' by Raymond Carver. And 'The Dead' by James Joyce. 

  3. Brigitte12:44 PM

    Considering myself a somewhat civilized person, I thank you for these recommendations.  My summer reading list is now complete.


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