Are you ever in a reading slump, or not particularly enjoying the book you’re currently reading? Whenever I’m in either situation I find the best remedy is to pick up a short story! This gives me a quick burst of entertainment and usually encourages me to pick up my current read or a new book.
Below I’ve listed out a few short stories to read if you’re ever looking for something quick! You can find all of them online for free and they start from just 7 pages… so when I say short, I mean short.
(Click on the images to be taken to a place where you can read them!)
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell – 48 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: Sometimes these kinds of weird, old school, random books really hook me, but I can’t explain why. This is one of them. This story has the most simple of plot lines, yet it does so well to inflict fear and excitement into the reader.
I loved the writing. I loved the tension. I loved the plot. I loved the psychopath. I loved the ending.
Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates – 20 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: Loosely based off of real life killer Charles Schmid, this book is horrifying. My heart was actually pounding heavier than normal while reading this. I’ve never read any of Oates work before this, but my god is she good at creating tension. Sweat-producing tension.
The repetition used to create Arnold Friends’ menace actually gave me goosebumps, and Ellie, sat motionless and quiet in the car, is really, truly unsettling.
A story portraying the naivety and easy persuasion of the longing-to-be-free teenage mind, this story is haunting.
Be careful who you open your door to, folks.
Tom, Thom by K. M. Ferebee – 29 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: I adored this short story and the cover is incredible! I’ve been really into folklore and learning about changeling’s recently, so this short was the perfect book for my interests at the moment!
Such stunning, vivid imagery. Beautiful, terrifying, and melancholy all at the same time.
There is a Reaper by Charles V. de Vet – 7 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: Isn’t fiction such an amazing thing? That you can read a 10 page piece of writing that draws you in and chills you to the bone… incredible.
This one is instantly unsettling, and maybe it’s not the most unpredictable ending in the world, but it’s done in such an amazing way that you’ll feel the goosebumps rise on your arms.
An excellent little horror story.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson – 30 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: Jackson is the queen of turning normal people’s lives into a horror show. This short story is dark, disturbing and chilling.
Written and published just after WWII, this clearly sends out as message to all those involved in the Holocaust. Just because something is being done by the masses, and has become a sort of tradition, doesn’t mean its moral and right. This message translates to today’s times too. As another reviewer perfectly put it, “there is value in tradition but beware blind faith”.
This in no way surprised me, it’s not that I’ve seen spoilers for it, I just happened to get it very early on, but that doesn’t take away the effect of the horrific ending.
The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones – 32 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: I really enjoyed this story. I guess because it was “horror” it was more in-line with my genre preferences, but I didn’t find this particularly scary… I actually thought it was quite sweet… apart from the murdering bit lol.
I liked our narrator and his back story with Doreen and his history of being on the school cycling team. I liked his honesty with the reader about wanting a way out of the life he’s become used to and his view that you never really need to “grow up”.
The Night Cyclist was meant to be the scary part of the story, but there was something so melancholy about him that I ended up almost liking him… or maybe pitying him.
If you like darker stories that are also quite poignant and lovely, and you have some time to spare, I’d definitely recommend reading this one.
The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft – 40 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: Wow. I wasn’t sure what to I was going to think of this, as several state it’s not his best of stories, but as I’m a new reader of Lovecraft, I have nothing to compare this to, so I enjoyed it hugely!
The opening line of this story, “It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to show by this statement that I am not his murderer,” is enough to completely suck you in to the story. You’ll find yourself getting lost in this piece of fiction, coming out the other side of it dazed, horrified and delighted.
This story has some of the best tension building, leaving you to decide what is happening to the ever changing Edward and his mysterious wife Asenath.
The hints to black magic and the occult make this story really ominous, dark and brooding. This is really a terrific horror story. If this isn’t one of his best, I’m excited to see what his other stories bring!
The Red Room by H. G. Wells – 15 pages – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mini-review: The original Red Room, not a place of sexual kinks, but instead a place of terror. The name of this room just sounds like an ominous place, I sure as hell wouldn’t spend a night in it.
This story has amazing imagery and the tension built in it makes your heart race! Being very short sighted, at night when I have to take my glasses off, everything becomes a dark, menacing blur, so this novel played on my fear of the dark really well.
Very scary, I’m glad I didn’t read this before bed.
So there we have it! Those are a few short story recommendations for any of you who are struggling to read bigger books at the moment or just have a few minutes to kill.
Do you enjoy short stories? What ones would you recommend?