Stories to Read When You Want to Remember What a Good Story Looks Like

I asked Twitter to tell me the stories they read when they want to remember what a good story looks like & Twitter came through. I think I got all the stories (with links when I could find reliable ones), collections, & writers that were mentioned.


“The Toughest Indian in the World” by Sherman Alexie

“Guy de Maupassant” by Isaac Babel

“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin

“Tiger Mending” by Aimee Bender

“Little Wake” by April Bradley

“The Girl Who Waits for the Superhero” by Lori Sambol Brody

“The Truth about Alaskan Rivers” by Lori Sambol Brody

“Ralph the Duck” by Frederick Busch

“Cathedral” by Raymond Carver

“Neighbors” by Raymond Carver

“The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Carter

“Knock Out the Heart Lights so We Can Glow” by Leesa Cross-Smith

“White Angel” by Michael Cunningham

“Halibut Point” by Molly Dektar

“Aye, and Gomorrah…” by Samuel R. Delany

“Fiesta, 1985” by Junot Diaz

“Negocios” by Junot Diaz

“The Curse” by Andre Dubus

“Chopin in Winter” by Stuart Dybek

“Pet Milk” by Stuart Dybek

“Safari” by Jennifer Egan

“Transactions in a Foreign Currency” by Deborah Eisenberg

“Awesome Like Us” by Elizabeth Ellen

“Teen Culture” by Elizabeth Ellen

“The Twenty-Seventh Man” by Nathan Englander

“Little Faith” by Percival Everett

“Barn Burning” by William Faulkner

“Authentic Smorgasbord Dinner” by Kathy Fish

“Dusseldorf” by Kathy Fish

“Lip” by Kathy Fish

“Snow” by Kathy Fish

“A Romantic Weekend” by Mary Gaitskill

“Birthday Cake” by Rayne Gaspar

“Shelter” by Lindsey Gates-Markel

“Baby Arm” by Roxane Gay

“North Country” by Roxane Gay

“The Paperhanger” by William Gay

“The Girl Who Turns to Rabbits” by Melissa Goodrich

“The Unseen Ear of God” by Adrianne Harun

“In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel

“Tonight is a Favor to Holly” by Amy Hempel

“Emergency” by Denis Johnson

“Out on Bail” by Denis Johnson

“Araby” by James Joyce

“The Dead” by James Joyce

“Idiot’s First” by Bernard Malamud

“Cold Little Bird” by Ben Marcus

“Alive Daughter” by Kayla Miller

“The 37” by Mary Miller

“You’re Ugly, Too” by Lorrie Moore

“The Beggar Maid” by Alice Munro

“Where are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates

“Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor

“Jumbo’s” by Wendy C. Ortiz

“The Loudest Voice” by Grace Paley

“Wants” by Grace Paley

“The Lonely Leave” by Dorothy Parker

“Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx

“Strays” by Mark Richard

“Human Snowball” by Davy Rothbart (technically an essay, I think?)

“Vampires in the Lemon Grove” by Karen Russell

“For Esme, With Love and Squalor” by J. D. Salinger

“Foreign Shores” by James Salter

“Dusk” by James Salter

“The Semplica-Girl Diaries” by George Saunders

“Jon” by George Saunders

“The Janitor in Space” by Amber Sparks

“The Black Madonna” by Muriel Sparks

“Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” by Wells Tower

“Williamsburg Bridge” by John Edgar Wideman

“Escapes” by Joy Williams

“Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff



Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood

Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell

Baby by Paula Bomer

Man and Wife by Katie Chase

Every Kiss a War by Leesa Cross-Smith

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies

Jesus’s Son by Denis Johnson

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursual Le Guin

The Ice at the Bottom of the World by Mark Richard

Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: Fifty American Short Stories since 1970 edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone

In the Garden of North American Martyrs by Tobias Wolff



Lucia Berlin

Carys Davies

Alice Munro

Anne Tyler



The Coil asked a similar question for Short Story Month in May & you can read author & editor picks here & staff picks here.



Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s