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But we urge you to start somewhere. According to Forbes, the average reading speed for an American adult is words per minute. So we did a little math, and found 12 short stories that, for the average American adult, should take less than 10 minutes each to read.

Printable Native American Stories

Check a few out on your lunch break! Who knows, you may discover something you like. Read it here. Length: 3 minutes. Whether you've already read Lolita or Pale Fire , or are hesitating to pick them up, this short story about a delusional boy, his family, and his peers' attempt to buy him a birthday present, is sure to entertain you. Length: 7. This specific story, which is popularly anthologized, involves first-day orientation at a Dunder Mifflin-like office job. It's prototypical of the author, who often pens short stories set in New York City about domestic relationships. She also frequently discusses immigrant life in America her parents, from the Ukraine, spoke Russian and Yiddish.

Listen to Walter Mosley reading it here. Length: 8 minutes. The same themes are at play here; it's more than worth a look. In "The Looking-Glass," a woman feverishly attempts to seek help for her husband, sick with typhus, but is met with a surprise. This particular story nods to the author's day job as a physician. Length: 5 minutes. It's not hard to see why; his stories, some of them science fiction, some of them literary realism, often portray the human spirit at odds with a consumerist culture.

This story was included in his application to Syracuse University's M. Length: 6. Hint: It's not so happy. My second favorite in the book and given the line-up of authors, that is saying something. Four stars on that one. Scott Fitzgerald's "Bernic Interesting compilation of some classic American authors. Everything else, somewhere between stars.

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In any event, a good read for those who haven't been exposed to a lot of classic American novelists. Lots of different styles and a good sample spectrum for "classic" American literature. Jan 20, Christine Harvey rated it liked it. I know the editor ordered the short stories by date, but having 4 stories in a row in which the main character dies at the end was pretty depressing Jan 21, Melinda Christensen rated it liked it Shelves: adult-fiction , short-stories.

I can remember reading most of these short stories in college and not being impressed with them then. And now, it felt like a waste of time to read the same stories. The plot isn't developed like regular-length books and the characterization is definitely lacking. When the stories end, I always feel like something is lacking. Sometimes, I feel these shorts are written for the shock-value. Mar 08, Jamie Flick rated it it was ok. Nothing really interesting to read, was a bunch of lore I already have knowledge of.

Mar 18, Tryn rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , classic , short-stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this diverse anthology of short stories by American authors from the past. I love short stories because I can begin and end them in one sitting.

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Now he has finally returned to marry her, but she comes to realize that the simple order and beauty of the life she has created for herself are more appealing than the changes, rigors, and expectations of married life. She breaks off the engagement, choosing personal values and solitude over marriage and community. She chooses loyalty to them over newfound friendship and budding romance with a visiting young man who wants to hunt one of the white herons she could lead him to if she chose.

Again, this character chooses personal values and solitude over romance. Both stories made me sigh. The women gave up something wonderful but I do not blame them. A tiny part of me envies them. Oct 03, Jenna rated it liked it Recommends it for: Mature peoples who like depressing books. The utter demented, slightly insane air of Paul himself captivated me, as well as the futility of everything he did. Very depressing, obviously, but of course every story in this entire book was depressing.

I really didn't understand Herman Melville's famous "Bartleby," which seemed long, pointless and boring to me. I hated "The Goophered Grapevine," Charles Chestnutt because it might have been a half-decent story if it was told in a half-intelligible fashion.

A Fable (Advanced C1) – Learn American English through Short Stories

As it was, it took me abotu a minute per paragraph to try to decipher old Black Southern slang, a completely unnecessary touch in my opinion. Some of these stories I would give a 5, and some a 1 specifically, Bartleby, so I'm averaging. Aug 27, Lauren rated it liked it. My rating is more based on the editor that cobbled this collection together. It's morbid unnecessarily so? The majority of the stories, though it cannot be argued are anything less than amazing, end in death or some other tragedy.

The preface gives no hint at it and left me wondering why this wasn't stated as a major theme of the collection. I simply didn't enjoy it as much as I believe it could have benefited from some variety away from the unstated theme. It might have been called Great Ame My rating is more based on the editor that cobbled this collection together.

It might have been called Great American Short Tragedies. Aug 01, Reshma Popat is currently reading it. Features 19 works from distinguished writers in American history. Most of which I've read many times before.


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Classic stories, I'm sure most of you have read all the short stories I mentioned. I know I have read them. I am s Features 19 works from distinguished writers in American history. I am such a fan of "The Yellow Wallpaper.

A distinguished and challenging collection of short stories by America's finest writers

May 03, Kevin Lucia rated it it was amazing. Aug 27, Pedro rated it really liked it. Oct 18, Terry rated it really liked it. I'd only read two of these before. I've read more European short stories British, French than American so this was a good find and totally enjoyable. Sometimes, only a short story will do Apr 09, Babs rated it really liked it Shelves: read I picked this up when I want to get back to basics with my literature I enjoyed all the different writers between these two covers Hawhtorne, Melville, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc.

It was neat to read their different styles one after another. Jan 22, Ann Dowd rated it it was amazing. Such a fun collection of stories! Thanks Devin Smith for putting it on your Beacon Hill reading list this year.


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  • It reminded me of how much I enjoyed short stories: My book group of wonderful, reading ladies are coming tomorrow night to discuss it! Feb 22, Stacey rated it it was amazing. Read some of the stories The ones I read were very good!

    A distinguished and challenging collection of short stories by America's finest writers

    Jul 06, Melissa added it Shelves: , classics-award-winners-and-other. Jan 23, Liz rated it really liked it Shelves: american-literature , short-stories. Thanks for the shout-out! Very nice… I wonder how many of these stories are in print and how many are online? I did a similar thing with the NYTimes best sellers lists and the actual best sellers by the numbers. There are some really incredible books in the actual sales numbers considering they compete with cookbooks and how to books etc..

    Someone did something very similar to what you did back around or with BASS for one of the little magazines which I subscribed to I started publishing stories a few years before that. Their results, with the names of the magazines somewhat different, of course — but not entirely — were nearly identical to yours in regard to the vast majority of BASS selections coming from a relative handful of periodicals. I thought you might be interested to know that not much has changed in 35 years.

    Thanks for the supercalc on BASS, discouraging though it is. Seems like some recent study indicated that the majority of fiction readers are women, as are the majority of fiction writers. What do the numbers say? Not remotely surprised. Contact me privately for something you might find interesting. You are a noble soul, indeed, to do this. So glad The Rumpus led me to your thought-provoking post. Onto Part two now. Fascinating — and appreciated. I have no great plan beyond: keep reading, keep writing, and keep walking. Easy solution.

    Ignore BASS.


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    Maybe ten years ago now. Hello Wendy — I enjoyed your post. The other half was C. Max over at the Millions. New Yorker Publishing 52 or something times a year and some years having some sizable fiction issues versus a smaller mag that may publish only a few fiction pieces on a quarterly basis? Is there a way to equalize the field before getting the statistical percentage of selection answer? Just wondering. Being a white guy writer, he has a harder time seeing the bias. I encouraged him to prove me wrong with cold hard facts, sir, and I would join his umbrage! Umbrage for all!

    Wait, I have some facts, I can whip up a handy graph right this minute from the last 6 years of Best American Short Stories data.