Our Favorite Short Stories

by | Literature, Reading Aloud | 6 comments

I want to share with you some of the short stories we have enjoyed over the years. Our three favorite authors of short stories are Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and O Henry, and we particularly enjoy listening to these stories as books on tape.

Twain’s stories have been recorded by numerous people, some better than others. His stories are almost always funny and a few will even give you a good solid roll-on-the-floor laugh.

Punch, Brothers, Punch by Mark Twain — An unsuspecting man becomes victim to a cute little rhyme.
Guiding the Guides, from the book The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain — Playing tricks on a museum guide.
The Invalid’s Story by Mark Twain — How transporting a coffin ages a man.

Not all of O Henry’s 277 short stories are equal but there are several you won’t want to miss. O Henry seemed to usually write on serious or sad topics, but there are a few stories which will give you a good laugh, especially if they’re read properly.

The Gift of the Magi by O Henry — A poor, newly married couple give gifts to each other.
After Twenty Years by O Henry — A promised reunion of two men after 20 years.
A Retrieved Reputation by O Henry — Jimmy Valentine is released from prison and tries to reform.
The Ransom of Red Chief by O Henry — “It looked like a good thing, but wait till I tell you.” Kidnapping the only child of a prominent citizen turns haywire.
The Last Leaf by O Henry — Johnsy catches pneumonia and hangs onto life.

It’s almost impossible to pick out my favorite Sherlock Holmes mystery — I like every single one. Here are a few to get you started.

The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Miss Violet Smith is offered too large a salary as a music teacher.
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Secret submarine plans are missing.
The Adventure of the Dying Detective by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Holmes is dying of a rare disease.
The Red-headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — London pawnbroker Jabez Wilson is paid to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The Gloria Scott by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Holmes’ very first case.
The Adventure of the Empty House by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Holmes is “resurrected.”


  1. Christine Masloske

    Thanks for sharing this list with us! We are huge Sherlock Holmes fans; it’s one of Daddy’s favorite read-alouds. I believe “The Red-Headed League” is the last one we’ve read.

    “The Ransom of Red Chief” is truly one of our favorite short stories. Extremely funny, especially since one of our sons, at times, has some of Red Chief’s charm!

    Love in Christ,

  2. Milehimama

    On the subject of short stories…maybe you or a reader can help me remember the name of one?
    I read it in high school. It was about a man in the future; in the future everyone is forced to be the same. For example, people with high IQ’s have an implant that causes loud noises in their brains so they constantly have their train of thought interrupted – because it’s not fair they are smarter than other people. There is a ballerina in it also – she has to wear shackles, to affect her natural grace, so she will be clumsy like other people.
    It culminates with them casting their disabling devices aside (I think during a live broadcast to the world?). It is basically a commentary on equality and political correctness.

    I’ve really been wanting to reread it and reference it for years… but I can’t remember the name for the life of me.

    I read it the same year we read “The Lottery” and “Lenington vs. the Ants” so I think it was an American short story.


  3. local girl

    I’m always looking for some great new stories to read to my kids. Thanks for the great suggestions and for sharing it with the Carnival of Family Life.

  4. Lisa

    Those are some great suggestions. I am always looking for something new to read so I think I will check out a few of your suggestions.

    Here via the carnival of family life.

  5. Jay Passey

    Harrison Bergeron – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  6. andrew

    to the first post about the story where all are equal, the stoy is “harrison bergeron” by kurt vonnegut i think. could be wrong though.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *