Five-Star Short Fiction

I think short fiction is one of the greatest types of literature. The compressed stories, intense situations, surprising ironic twists and abrupt finishes are some of the things I love about short stories. They always leave me thinking! Here’s a list of my favorites. What are yours?

a rose for emily pic


“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner



Best American Short Stories 1993


“An Angel on the Porch” by Thomas Wolfe


Babylon Revisited


“Babylon Revisited” by F. Scott Fitzgerald



Best American Short Stories 1994


“Cold Snap” by Thom Jones

Scribner Anthology big


“Death by Landscape” by Margaret Atwood

Scribner Anthology big


“Gryphon” by Charles Baxter

in the gloaming


“In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliott Dark

Best American Short Stories 1993


“Red Moccasins” by Susan Power

Scribner Anthology big


“Same Place, Same Things” by Tim Gautreaux

the chrysanthemums pic


“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck

The Horse Dealer's Daughter new


“The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence

The Most Dangerous Game


“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell

The Necklace pic

“The Necklace”
by Guy de Maupassant

The Oblong Box


“The Oblong Box” by Edgar Allan Poe

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty new


“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber


“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
by Ernest Hemingway

the joy luck club pic


“Two Kinds” from The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan



I also enjoyed these collected stories by two of the greatest short fiction writers:

Dear Life cover


Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro







Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood



What’s your favorite genre?  Leave a comment and let’s get talking!

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Do you read banned books?

banned books

The best part about being a Book Club Mom is seeing what my kids are reading. This spring, my oldest is taking a course on banned books and today I got a look at the syllabus. His class will be reading these nine books:

The Awakening – Kate Chopin
Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
Beloved – Toni Morrison
God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
Jungle – Upton Sinclair
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The War Prayer – Mark Twain
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut

Schools, communities and governments have banned books for all kinds of reasons: controversial religious or political messages, explicit content, racist views and offensive language are the top reasons. I found some great lists and articles about banned books, including the following: America’s Most Surprising Banned Books , an infographic of the history of banned books to present day , an excellent article from The New Yorker magazine  and a Texas college library list of the top ten banned books.

Check these out. You’ll be surprised at what people find objectionable!

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Short story review from The American Tradition in Literature: “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence

Welcome to an occasional feature on Book Club Mom. Short reviews of short fiction. This selection comes from The American Tradition in Literature, Fourth Edition.

“The Horse Dealer’s Daughter”
D. H. Lawrence

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You don’t have to look for newly-published fiction to find something great to read. Today I found this moving short story in my college literature anthology. It was published in 1922.

Mabel Pervin faces a desperate decision. Her father has died, and has left Mabel and her adult brothers deep in debt from his horse dealing business. Unmarried, she has been keeping house and taking care of her family, but now the house must be sold and she is alone. Her brothers have secured their own futures, but Mabel has nothing. And they have made it clear that she must find her own way.

Her brothers ask and she refuses to discuss her plans. There is something alarming in her resolve to keep her thoughts private. Mabel reaches a sort of frightening peace when she visits her mother’s grave, feeling a strong and contented connection. And when the village’s young doctor, Jack Ferguson, spots Mabel headed to the pond, he follows.

Jack and Mabel face a crisis and intense emotions and Lawrence’s descriptions are as raw as these characters. The story ends with a hint of happiness, but much uncertainty. This is the kind of story I love because of its open-ended finish, allowing me to think about it and wonder.

David Herbert Lawrence was an English writer who lived from 1885-1930. His novels, short stories, poetry, letters, plays and sketches represent a unique and provocative style that was not universally accepted by the critics of his time. He is best known for his novels, Sons and Lovers (1913), The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love (1920), and Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1928), but he also wrote a great deal of other fiction and non-fiction during those years.

Lawrence was born in the Midland mining village of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. His father was a miner and his mother, who was educated, was determined to have her children escape from the working class life. This conflict between his parents became the source of much of his writing.

When Lawrence’s older brother died, their mother developed an intense claim on her surviving son. The many conflicts of this relationship are portrayed in his novel, Sons and Lovers. His next novel, The Rainbow, was banned for being indecent a month after it was published. In addition to its censorship, critics did not know what to make of Lawrence’s style of combining man with nature and in conflict with civilization, a style Lawrence himself could not explain. Lawrence also wrote about the working class, marriage and the intense feelings in human relationships.

Facing criticism and a misunderstanding of his work, Lawrence felt betrayed by the ideas of modern civilization and he left England. He spent the rest of his life living and writing in Italy, Australia, Mexico and France. He died in France, of tuberculosis, at the age of 44.

Biographical information comes from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Fourth Edition, Volume 2 and from Wikipedia

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