And The Winner Is… Pt 2

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:


Pet Milk, Stuart Dybek 


Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin

A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Flannery O’Connor


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


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!