All right, you’re right, I promised to tell you these results a lllllooooonnnnngggg time ago, but who knew how hard it would be to compile all of the nominations for your favorite short stories? New titles just kept on coming, and old favorites kept resurfacing. Thanks to all of you who cast a vote via my Facebook page.
The folks who named writers and titles of short stories they admire come from various communities. Some are writers themselves, either published widely or just getting started. Respondents are teachers, waiters, students, actors, librarians, young, old, salespeople, politicians, administrators, and on and on and on. What they have in common is that they are all readers. And, they all read–and in many cases, love–the short story.
Long live the short story.
And speaking of living long, a number of the stories on the list happen to be classics, written generations ago. A number of writers came up more than once: Hemingway, Checkov, Shirley Jackson, our writerly ancestors; but, too, a number of contemporary writers (Lahiri, Hempel, Diaz) were high on the list of favorites. In fact, the most oft-picked short story was “Pet Milk,” by Stuart Dybek. Dybek is a Midwestern (Chicago) native who is still writing and writing and writing.
I’ve discovered other patterns in this list as well, but I’ll hold off on that for a bit. I know you can’t wait to see if your own favorite short story made the top. So below you will find those stories with the most votes, in the top four slots:
SECOND PLACE (TIE)
Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin
A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Flannery O’Connor
THIRD PLACE (TIE)
A Distant Episode, Paul Bowles
Fiesta, Junot Diaz
The Ledge, Lawrence Sargent Hall
Hills Like White Elephants, Ernest Hemingway
The Dead, James Joyce
Where are You Going, Where Have you Been, Joyce Carol Oates
FOURTH PLACE (TIE)
Big Me, Dan Chaon
The Lady With The Little Dog, Anton Chekov
We Didn’t, Stuart Dybek
Vomitorium, John McNally
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Pastoralia, George Saunders
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy
Bullet in the Brain, Tobias Wolff
Rape, Gerard Woodward
And there are more than seventy other stories that were named as well that I will post in a day or so, along with comments made by the readers who sent titles and writers’ names. So get your notebooks and pens ready; I know you will want to write these down so you, too, can find them and enjoy.
What’s that? You didn’t get to vote for your favorite? No worries, add a comment here (add comment button at the top of this post) and we’ll get it in the list!