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From Conan Doyle to Cortázar: Short Stories to Fulfill a Busy Person

The world is changing. The exponential growth and adoption of technology means that these days nearly every form of entertainment is delivered digitally. When reading a book is just too much of a commitment, here are some intellectually stimulating reads that don’t take up more than a lunch break to finish.

Guy de Maupassant – The Necklace and Other Stories

One of the greats of French literature, Guy de Maupassant’s stories are imbued with a large dose of harsh realism. This collection is translated nicely and contains twelve of Maupassant’s most famous short stories. A few of the standouts are Buttercup, Jewels and The Necklace.

Jorge Luis Borges – Ficciones

An undisputed master of short story, Jorge Luis Borges is often lauded as one of the greatest in the Hispanic world. His stories are definitely unique and mind-benders, though tend to be on the long side. For example, the story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is about a fictional Central Asian country in which don’t follow conventional rules of language and physics.

Anton Chekhov – Selected Stories

The undisputed king of short stories, Anton Chekhov wrote over a hundred short stories during his career as a playwright. Because there are just so many of his short stories out there, getting a cheap and cheerful compilation would help streamline the selection. This exact edition was the first short story compilation that I ever bought.

Julio Cortázar – Blow-Up, We Love Glenda So Much

Another master of the short story, Julio Cortázar is a wonderful writer whose unique style has cemented his place as one of the leading figures of Latin American literature. His stories have a certain eerie or unsettling quality to most of them, and don’t expect neat conclusions to the stories.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Zikora

A wonderful modern feminist story that I came across while browsing Amazon for new reads. This is such a great short story about the struggles of modern day women, told through the lens of a Nigerian immigrant woman. I highly recommend this for a short, thought-provoking read especially if you are a woman as I’m sure you will relate to this.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Don’t forget that these timeless tales are short stories! If you’ve seen the BBC TV series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, a lot of the episodes are actually based on short stories.

I think it’s especially great that these mystery stories are short, because oftentimes with mystery stories you really want to see if your theory regarding the mystery is correct.

Seneca – Letters From a Stoic

Okay so I know these technically are a collection of letters, but because each chapter corresponds to each letter, I consider these “short stories” though they’re obviously non-fiction. Each letter contains reflections on life and life advice that is surprisingly very applicable to 21st century audiences though these letters were written nearly 2000 years ago. Seneca was a wise man and it doesn’t hurt that his writings are enjoyable, even when he’s lecturing you.

I will do a separate post on novellas so stay tuned! Got any short story recommendations? Please comment below with your favorites I would love to hear them!

830 replies on “From Conan Doyle to Cortázar: Short Stories to Fulfill a Busy Person”

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