There’s just a couple more weeks for this year (and this decade!) to end. Most of us are scrambling to finish our Goodreads reading challenges before the year ends. We all know numbers don’t matter and reading is only for our happiness, and yet, achieving the arbitrary number that you’ve set as your reading goal just feels good!
I’m sorry I crave validation from a god awful website, OKAY?
If you’re looking to finish your reading challenge with short stories, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a HUGE fan of short stories, so regardless of whether you’re looking to reach your reading goal or would just love to check out a few short stories, this post is for you.
1. The Way Up to Heaven by Real Dahl
This macabre short story is about a rich couple, Mr. and Mrs. Foster. Mrs. Foster has a phobia of being late and her husband is a cruel man who can’t help but mess with her punctuality. This is a short read about what happens when Mrs. Foster plans to visit her grandchildren in Paris. I keep going back to this dark read every single time–I re-read it while writing this list too!
2. The Bookseller by Real Dahl
Listen, there will be a lot of Dahls in this list. I’m sorry in advance.
But I just can’t help it with wry stories and dark humour. The Bookseller is about Mr. William Bubbage who runs a rare bookshop in London. He and his secretary run an elaborate scam on the elite, making away with a lot of money, until one day when they make a huge mistake.
3. Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl
Mary Maloney is a heavily pregnant wife. Her husband, a local police detective, comes back home home aloof one night. A few drinks later, his reason comes out leading to disastrous and darkly hilarious consequences.
Reading these stories, you’ll realise how Dahl was not just the master storyteller for kids but for adults as well.
4. Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat by Roald Dahl
Unbeknownst to her dentist husband, Mrs. Bixby is having an affair with a colonel. Sadly, their affair comes to an end with an expensive mink coat being the parting gift. To avoid questions which will lead to her husband asking her about the coat, Mrs. Bixby indulges in some shenanigans which obviously won’t end well because this is a Dahl short story.
This one even got a TV adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock himself!
5. The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury
This short story is basically a dinnertime conversation between a husband and wife, in a setting where everyone on the planet has had a dream that the world is ending.
This is a famous short story (Ray Bradbury sells, duh), but I did not enjoy the story as much as everyone else did. But it’s a quick read and you should definitely check it out.
6. The Great Sermon Handicap by P.G. Wodehouse
A treat for Wodehouse fans everywhere, this short story is about Bertie Wooster who receives a letter from his cousin inviting him over to Twing Hall. Eustace promises that there’s a great opportunity to make money through an alternative to horse racing bets called the Sermon Handicap.
Wodehouse is an immediate sell for me and this short story is worth reading!
7. Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse
What better story to read during Christmas than this one!
Jeeves and Bertie have plans to visit Monte Carlo over Christmas but their plans are thrown into disarray when a letter arrives with an invite from Lady Wickham. In usual Wodehouse spirit, shenanigans ensue. This story also has a cameo by Aunt Agatha, who’s one of my favourite Wodehouse aunts.
8. The Love That Purifies by P.G. Wodehouse
Bertie receives a call from his Aunt Dahlia (another favourite aunt!) asking for his help on something she placed a bet on. With Jeeves away on vacation, Bertie takes it up on himself to solve Aunt Dahlia’s problem and as always, hilarity ensues.
This story is not my favourite but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
9. Jeeves Takes Charge by P.G. Wodehouse
More Bertie and Jeeves!
This short story is the origin story of everyone’s favourite comedy duo. Having recently fired his valet for stealing, Bertie has an agency send a new person over–Jeeves. This is the start of Jeeves managing Bertie’s affairs and the latter warming up to him.
It’s the perfect read for anyone who already loves Jeeves and Wooster!
10. The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood
I was in the mood for a spooky read when I spotted this short story. It came highly recommended but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the person who recommended it did.
A man and his aunt enter a haunted house to see ghosts, no biggie. The writing is atmospheric but the ending was a letdown for me. Other reviewers enjoyed it, though. They even referred to it as creepy and scary.
11. The Beast With Five Fingers by William Fryer Harvey
Now, THIS is a chilling read!
If you’re in the mood for the creepy crawlies, you definitely need to check this story out! It has just the right kind of spookiness, chase, and plot to keep the reader hooked until the very end.
Add it to your Halloween TBR right away!
12. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
Four words: GAY PENGUINS IN LOVE!
This is such a cute, heartwarming read that everyone should check out! This book should never have been banned. It’s the kind of book that children need to be exposed to in addition to the usual ones with heteronormative, child-centric ideals. *stares like Captain Holt*
13. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
A classic for fans of gothic fiction!
If your high school teacher didn’t make you read this one, now’s the right time. The unnamed narrator of this story tries so hard to convince you of his sanity while simultaneously talking about the man he murdered, dismembered, and hid under the floorboards.
You know. Some light reading.
There you go!
These stories are all enthralling and regardless of your reading challenge, you should check them out anyway!
Have any short story recommendations of your own? Let me know in the comments!