Reading Lists

Originally this page had only a list of recommended short fiction, but it's expanded now to also include books, plays and poems. Enjoy!

Good Short Fiction

Books and Plays



Good Short Fiction

I often write about good short fiction on this blog and mention where I came across each story. For the most part I've been reading collections checked out from the library, but any story that's in the public domain can probably also be found online.

Leila Aboulela: The Museum
Chinua Achebe: Civil Peace
Alice Adams: Roses, Rhododendron
S.Y. Agnon: The Doctor's Divorce
Conrad Aiken: Silent Snow, Secret Snow
David Alexander: Mama's Boy
Margery Allingham: Three Is a Lucky Number
Sherwood Anderson: Death in the Woods
Max Apple: Bridging
Charlotte Armstrong: The Splintered Monday
Juan José Arreola: The Switchman
Paul Auster: Auggie Wren's Christmas Story

Daniel Wynn Barber: Tiger in the Snow
Robert Barnard: The Oxford Way of Death
Andrea Barrett: The Littoral Zone
Charles Baxter: Fenstad's Mother; Gryphon
Peter S. Beagle: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat; Lila the Werewolf
Ambrose Bierce: The Damned Thing
María Luisa Bombal: The Tree
Jorge Luis Borges: Rosendo's Tale
Blanche McCrary Boyd: The Redneck Way of Knowledge
Ray Bradbury: The Pedestrian
A.S. Byatt: The Changeling; The Dried Witch; Racine and the Tablecloth; Rose-Coloured Teacups

Pat Cadigan: Nothing Personal
Karel Čapek: The Clairvoyant
Alejo Carpentier: Journey Back to the Source
Angela Carter: Ashputtle: Or, the Mother's Ghost
Raymond Carver: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Willa Cather: Paul's Case
Krishan Chandar: The Soldier
John Cheever: The Housebreaker of Shady Hill; The National Pastime; The Swimmer
Kate Chopin: Désirée's Baby
Agatha Christie: The Blood-Stained Pavement; The Blue Geranium; Motive v. Opportunity
Arthur C. Clarke: The Sentinel
Colette: The Other Wife
Richard Edward Connell: A Reputation
Joseph Conrad: An Outpost of Progress
Jim Crace: The Prospect from the Silver Hills

Miriam Allen Deford: Mortmain
Don DeLillo: Videotape
Janet Desaulniers: After Rosa Parks
Isak Dinesen: The Immortal Story
José Donoso: Paseo
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The Heavenly Christmas Tree
Carole Nelson Douglas: Coyote Peyote
Margaret Drabble: Crossing the Alps; A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman; Hassan's Tower; The Merry Widow; A Voyage to Cythera
Andre Dubus: Killings
Daphne du Maurier: The Blue Lenses; Monte Verità; Split Second
Andy Duncan: A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or the Devil's Ninth Question

Nathan Englander: The Twenty-seventh Man

William Faulkner: Tomorrow
Carolyn Ferrell: Proper Library
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Babylon Revisited
Penelope Fitzgerald: At Hiruharama
Charles M. Flandrau: A Dead Issue
Richard Ford: Rock Springs
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman: Louisa; A New England Nun

Neil Gaiman: Bitter Grounds; How to Talk to Girls at Parties; October in the Chair; Other People
Ernest J. Gaines: The Sky is Gray
Jane Gardam: Blue Poppies
André Gide: The Return of the Prodigal Son
Michael Gilbert: The Killing of Michael Finnegan
Graham Greene: The Basement Room; The Destructors
João Guimarães Rosa: The Third Bank of the River

Francis Bret Harte: The Outcasts of Poker Flat
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Birthmark
Fumiko Hayashi: Downtown
Patricia Highsmith: The Heroine
Reginald Hill: Bring Back the Cat!
Peter Høeg: Portrait of the Avant-Garde
Elisabeth Sanxay Holding: The Stranger in the Car
Zora Neale Hurston: Sweat
Aldous Huxley: Nuns at Luncheon

Kazuo Ishiguro: A Family Supper

Shirley Jackson: Come Dance with Me in Ireland; The Lottery
Henry James: The Middle Years
P.D. James: Great Aunt Allie's Flypapers
Sarah Orne Jewett: The Flight of Betsey Lane; A White Heron
Matthew Johnson: Public Safety
Elizabeth Jolley: The Last Crop
Edward P. Jones: A Dark Night; The First Day
Thom Jones: Cold Snap
James Joyce: The Dead

John Kessel: Every Angel Is Terrifying
Jamaica Kincaid: The Circling Hand
Stephen King: The Gingerbread Girl; N.; Willa
Lowell B. Komie: The Balloon of William Fuerst

Selma Lagerlöf: The Outlaws
Ring Lardner: Haircut
David Leavitt: Territory
Doris Lessing: A Sunrise on the Veld
Kelly Link: Light
Jack London: To Build a Fire
Lu Hsün: The New Year's Sacrifice

John Macdonald: Nor Iron Bars
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis: Midnight Mass
Dambudzo Marechera: Thought Tracks in the Snow
Ngaio Marsh: Death on the Air
George R. R. Martin: Guardians
Bobbie Ann Mason: New-Wave Format
Colum McCann: Everything in This Country Must
Carson McCullers: Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland
Seanan McGuire: Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage
John McNulty: Cluney McFarrar's Hardtack
Prosper Mérimée: Mateo Falcone
David Mitchell: Judith Castle
Lorrie Moore: You're Ugly, Too
Alice Munro: Dance of the Happy Shades; Day of the Butterfly; Lichen; A Wilderness Station

R.K. Narayan: Forty-Five a Month
Njabulo S. Ndebele: The Prophetess

Joyce Carol Oates: The White Cat
Flannery O'Connor: Everything That Rises Must Converge; A Good Man is Hard to Find; Revelation
Frank O'Connor: The Drunkard; Legal Aid
Sean O'Faolain: Teresa
Mary O'Hara: My Friend Flicka
Seumas O'Kelly: Nan Hogan's House
Reggie Oliver: Puss-Cat
Tillie Olsen: I Stand Here Ironing

Alan Paton: A Drink in the Passage
Harvey Pekar: The Harvey Pekar Name Story
Luigi Pirandello: War
James Plunkett: Weep for Our Pride
Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat; The Cask of Amontillado; The Tell-Tale Heart

Valentin Rasputin: French Lessons
Alifa Rifaat: At the Time of the Jasmine

Saki (H.H. Munro): The Toys of Peace
George Saunders: Puppy
Dorothy Sayers: The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey
Budd Schulberg: Your Arkansas Traveler
Irwin Shaw: The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
Antonio Skármeta: The Composition
Zadie Smith: Hanwell Snr
Jean Stafford: In the Zoo
Wallace Stegner: The Blue-Winged Teal
James Stephens: Schoolfellows
Theodore Sturgeon: The Silken-Swift

Katai Tayama: One Soldier
James Thurber: Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife
Christopher Tilghman: In a Father's Place
Colm Tóibín: Donal Webster
Yūko Tsushima: The Silent Traders

Stephanie Vaughn: Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog

C. Ware: Jordan Wellington Lint
Eudora Welty: Death of a Traveling Salesman; A Worn Path
Joy Williams: Health; Train
P.G. Wodehouse: The Aunt and the Sluggard; The Autograph Hunters; Bertie Changes His Mind; The Guardian; Jackson's Extra; Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest
Virginia Woolf: Solid Objects

Richard Yates: Liars in Love


Books and Plays

In 2011 I started reading volumes of short stories (see above). I have a backlog now of short stories I want to write about, as I've come across some great anthologies.

As for books that I've read or re-read that aren't short story anthologies…

2013: Recommended Books
Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present (ed. Lisa Grunwald & Stephen J. Adler)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird
Animal Farm by George Orwell

2012: Recommended Books
Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott
The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-to-Day Guide to Ethical Living by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
The Politics of Experience by R.D. Laing
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars ed. Andrew Carroll

2011: Recommended Books
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Middlemarch by George Eliot
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery by Frank Vertosick Jr.

Classics Club
Here's my reading list for the Classics Club challenge (an explanation of the challenge can be found at the link).


Recommended Poetry

I'm using this on-going list as a way to keep track of poems I'd like to revisit and be reminded of.

W.H. Auden: Musée des Beaux Arts

Elizabeth Bishop: Seascape
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnet 32

Lewis Carroll: Epilogue to Through the Looking Glass; The Jabberwocky
Raymond Carver: Bonnard's Nudes

Emily Dickinson: I died for beauty, but was scarce; I'm Nobody! Who are you?; Tell all the Truth but tell it slant; There's a certain Slant of light
John Donne: The Good-Morrow

T.S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Robert Frost: Fragmentary Blue; Reluctance

Jack Hayes: Raintown poems

Dick Jones: Under Blue Anchor

Julia Kasdorf: First Gestures
John Keats: This Living Hand
Galway Kinnell: Blackberry Eating; Saint Francis and the Sow

Carmen Leone: Falling

Gabriela Mistral: Serene Words
Lisel Mueller: Romantics

Mary Oliver: Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks; When Death Comes

Dorothy Parker: Resumé
Jack Prelutsky: Bleezer's Ice Cream

Rainer Maria Rilke: The Panther
E.A. Robinson: Richard Cory
Theodore Roethke: In a Dark Time

May Sarton: A Light Left On
William Stafford: The Gift; You Reading This, Be Ready
Wallace Stevens: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Mark Strand: Keeping Things Whole

John Tagliabue: The Bare Arms of Trees
Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Walt Whitman: A Noiseless Patient Spider
Richard Wilbur: Love Calls Us to the Things of This World; The Writer
William Carlos Williams: Danse Russe

William Butler Yeats: When You Are Old