Top 10 English Short Stories That Will Awaken Your Imagination

Tags: #ErnestHemingway ,   #ShortStories ,   #JamesJoyce ,   #StephenKing ,   #NeilGaiman

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2021-01-08 15:06:20

It's challenging to stay updated with all the hobbies you're interested in when you're busy with work and chores. That's why people nowadays read books mostly occasionally. However, the right solution is to always read something, at least some shorter forms of literature. They don't take too much time, so you can finish them in one sitting, and they're still so exciting and captivating that they will keep you up at night just like good novels do! We'll show you the top 10 interesting old and new creative short stories that will keep you inspired! If you want some excellent non-English short stories, Kafka is a great choice.

10. "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway

The audiobook with a pleasant voice lasts less than 20 minutes

Hemingway is not much praised for his writing style. However, we can't forget how impactful his novels like "The Old Man and the Sea" and "The Sun Also Rises" are. If you're not into books, we have an alternative as well, and that's Hemingway's admired short story collection "Men Without Women."

In this one, Hemingway touches upon relationships between men and women – in which men are actually lonesome. This piece contains some of the highest-acclaimed works of this writer, for example, "Hills Like White Elephants" (which is, truth be told, a bit sexist, but very inspiring). "The Killers" is definitely the most exciting story out of these, with a modern theme set in the appropriate time Hemingway wanted to portrait.

9. "Babylon Revisited" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This video will help you understand the context and the setting

Fitzgerald made the Jazz Age sound so familiar to anyone who's reading his work. His recurring theme took the lead in one of his best short stories, "Babylon Revisited." If you liked "The Great Gatsby," you'll love it undoubtedly.

Everything in this story is about falling down – the Great Depression in the 1930s made people worried about the future. These characters are lost and anxious, and Charlie is struck by his endless solitude and loneliness. Getting his daughter back feels like his obsessive yet unreachable wish.

8. "Eveline" by James Joyce

Watch this exciting animation to understand the story better

James Joyce wrote 15 short stories for his collection "Dubliners," and all of them are tempting and interesting in their own way. This is a collection that should be read as a whole because there isn't any story we wouldn't recommend. However, "Eveline" is a perfect choice to begin with, since it's really brief and concise but with an exact point.

"Eveline" is named after the main character, the girl that plans her escape with her loved one. Nonetheless, there is one thing that links every story from "Dubliners" together – they all have characters that face some kind of an epiphany. Can you guess Eveline's sudden revelation? Is she actually leaving?

7. "Woeful Tales from Mahigul" by Ursula K. Le Guin

Get an insight into Ursula's creative world

Ursula K. Le Guin is a 20th-century writer that focused on science fiction and wrote more than a hundred short stories. Her work is so abundant that you won't be able to choose where to start. Should you go with her novels like "The Earthsea Trilogy" first, or maybe short stories covering so many themes?

Well, if you're about to awaken your fantasy, we recommend starting with the story named "Woeful Tales from Mahigul." What's especially intriguing about this one is that it contains four tales. One of them is called "The Black Dog," which pretty much reminds us of Edgar Allan Poe's fantasy horror story "The Black Cat." And that's a compliment!

6. "Riding the Bullet" by Stephen King

The story got its movie adaptation in 2004

It's almost impossible that you never stumbled upon a haunting Stephen King novel that was so enchanting you couldn't resist buying it. This time, however, we won't recommend an extended tale – King does it like a pro in shorter forms as well. His best short story collection is definitely "Everything's Eventual!"

His 2000 novella "Riding the Bullet" was nominated for some major awards, which was no surprise. It's a wild ride of a college student who is on his way to finding himself, with the lucky charm in the form of a button. If it's a good or bad luck charm, it is up to you to find out!

5. "The Flints of Memory Lane" by Neil Gaiman

Hear the whole story in only 11 minutes

There's no list about imagination that would be complete without the words of the magical Neil Gaiman. His worlds and words are pure fantasy, and so are his short stories. If you've already checked out his well-known work "American Gods," which is a classic, now go a step further! You can start by reading his short story collection, "Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders!"

An absolute highlight here is "The Flints of Memory Lane," as it drives you through a gloomy atmosphere, with a deep contemplation about storytelling itself. "Inventing Aladdin" and "Locks" are other works related to this theme, and we bet you'll enjoy all of them as they have the same point.

4. "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe

This animation showcases precisely how the characters feel

Maybe you're used to reading lengthy, detailed novels about the downfall of a family. Honestly, Edgar Allan Poe is so talented that he managed to fit it all into one short story of 34 pages! In conclusion, it's the closest to a horror novel about how it all went down. And it's even described in a shorter form, readable anytime.

Moreover, Usher's house is literally "going down," and it's not even a spoiler – Poe is the pro at creating the atmosphere of everything splitting apart. Of course, nothing is that easy, so don't let the first pages about Madeline's death fool you. There is something under the surface, so keep your eyes open!

3. "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

The illustration will make this not-so-funny story even amusing

Since we've mentioned "imagination" in the title… Here's a short story we've actually connected to the awakening of the weirdest phantasies! "A Rose for Emily" is the best choice if you're starting to read Faulkner since his classic "The Sound and the Fury" is a bit harder to understand.

However, "A Rose for Emily'' is not in any way simple, too – Faulkner builds the tension the southern gothic is known for, and the end will leave you shivering. The story is entirely allegorical, and the rose paints a unique symbolism that has multiple meanings for the character. We're so sure this one will leave you speechless!

2. "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

Horror stories get even better when they have a spooky audiobook - this one is so gloomy!

Once again, the king of mysticism and wild imagination – ladies and gentlemen, Edgar Allan Poe! His most beloved and highly-acclaimed short story, "The Black Cat," is merely enchanting by the way it builds mystery and confusion. Furthermore, the black cat's symbol is horror-like by itself since it's related to "bad luck."

The psychology of guilt is the recurring theme in the story, and it's so well-built you won't have the feeling this story is "short." Nevertheless, you'll spend approximately 15 minutes reading this whirlwind narration that will make you question the main character's sanity. That's what Poe would love you to do, too.

1. "The Dead" by James Joyce

The CodeX Cantina did a lengthy talk on Joyce's masterpiece

James Joyce is already the most praised British writer, so it's nothing new that his short stories are absolutely a good read. However, there aren't many that are as captivating and wild as "The Dead." We're sorry, "Ulysses," but "The Dead" might even be the peak of Joyce's legacy.

"The Dead" is the final tale, the longest, and the best piece of Joyce's collection "Dubliners." The grand finale of this already splendid collection will awaken not only your imagination but also your emotions! It's unputdownable, and its passion just adds up to the tension, disappointment, and loss. Don't skip this one at any cost!

Your inspiration hopefully popped up even after reading the brief analysis of these stories. If that's the exact case, what are you waiting for? Start your exciting journey through mystery and fantasy, and let us know if you enjoyed it!

Which short story impressed you the most? Do you usually read short stories more frequently than novels?

Photo: Pixabay


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