If you reading this, you are curious about me.
Here are 10 short stories I love that may help you get to know me a little better. In no particular order, this is not a ranking, these stories to me are foundational and formative works that influence my past, present and the future.
Pigeons From Hell – Robert E. Howard
While others extol the Cthulu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, I find Robert E. Howard’s more visceral treatment of the same world altogether more satisfying. The velocity of his writing thrums with pulsing vivacity that I don’t experience with other authors. Unjustly relegated to relative obscurity, Howard’s work is a foundational lesson in living language.
Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving
This is one of my ultimates. Humor, tension, and a story that stands the test of time. I love Irving’s style and his ability to weave satire and wit into every sentence.
Young Goodman Brown – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne for me is at his best in the short story format.
The Gift of the Magi – O. Henry
Irony is a gift to every author, this sleight of hand is a perfect display of just that.
The Black Cat – Edgar Allen Poe
A less layered and metaphorical tale, but stark and grotesque. It captures madness. Poe is a master that many work under, and that’s a great thing. Best to learn from the best.
The Moon of Skulls – Robert E. Howard
Again, Robert E. Howard. I know. But his ability to bring life to words amazes me. This story is alive, vibrant, pulsing and oozing with powerful language.
The Quiet Man – Maurice Walsh
This study of a man seeking peace being pushed by the world to give up on it showed me that stories may be bigger than they seem.
The Monkey’s Paw – W.W. Jacobs
This always takes me back to scouting, burning marshmallows around a campfire and how our wishes coming true may be just as frightening as never coming to be.
The Horla – Guy De Maupassant
Again, I think I love stories about madness. This man is a vanguard of horror and less celebrated than others, but still essential.
The Yattering and Jack – Clive Barker
This is a story that taught me that even demons can be funny.