Everyone likes a short story¹. The idea of a concise narrative goes back as far as Hesiod and Aesop, and probably even further. I’d like to think Adam told his kids stories about the crazy talking snake that tricked mommy into eating the forbidden fruit. Like many literary forms, the modern short story had it’s birth in the 19th century. Melville and Poe were early practitioners. Poe described a short story as a prose narrative that could be read in one sitting. Thankfully, no serious literary student pays any attention to Poe, so we can disregard that formulation.
Whereas a novel might have a whole host of threads and ideas, a short story usually centers on just one. They are often used as moral tales, but often they are used to evoke a particular event. Most of the time, from my experience, they do a bit of both.
This week we take look at some of our favorite short stories. These are ones that speak to us in meaningful ways, or stick with us for years. They are ones we return to over and over, gleaning new insights each time. That is what makes a great short story great–their brevity is no restriction to their profundity.
“Why are you telling us all this?” you ask. Or better yet, “Who are you, and why are you writing for this blog?” I can’t really answer that first part. What I can say about the second part is that I am human, not unlike yourselves. I have read books and watched movies and gone to amusement parts and listened to music. I have opinions on all those experiences, and I enjoy sharing those opinions with others. Mostly, though, I enjoy criticizing other people’s opinions. And that is what makes me extremely qualified for this little project. So here we go.