Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Novellas/Short Stories


Top Ten Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Favourite Novellas/Short Stories.  This was quite a tough one for me because I generally favour full length novels.  However, book blogging has made me more open to different book formats and, when I set my mind to it, I realised I had read quite a few short story collections  – and one or two novellas – over the past few years.  Enough, at any rate, to come up with a list of ten I’d recommend.  Click on the title to read my review of the book description on Goodreads.

Beautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston

I was introduced to this collection by the lovely Emily at The Dome Press when she invited me to take part in the blog tour.  The author has taken what might have been considered footnotes in history and fashioned them into compelling, character-driven stories

A Sea of Sorrow by David Blixt, et al.

Subtitled A Novel of Odysseus, this is in fact six stories each by a different author (who collectively style themselves ‘The H Team’).  Each story focuses on one of six “supporting” characters in Homer’s The Odyssey.

The Watcher by the Threshold & Other Tales by John Buchan

This is a bit of a cheat because it’s a book I’m currently reading for my July Buchan of the Month.  However, I’ve read a couple of the stories before in other collections and know they have a nicely supernatural feel.

Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James

Reading, listening to or watching one of the great BBC adaptations of the ghost stories of M. R. James are an annual Christmas tradition in our house.  Favourites include ‘The Mezzotint’, ‘Number 13’, ‘The Ash Tree’, ‘Casting the Runes’ and ‘The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral’.

The Visitor at Anningley Hall by Chris Thorndycroft

As a fan of M. R. James, it won’t be a surprise that this novella caught my eye.  It’s a skilful prequel to one of the stories mentioned above, ‘The Mezzotint’.

In A German Pension: 13 Stories by Katherine Mansfield

Divided between vignettes of guests staying at the Pension, which are gently mocking in tone, and much darker stories that often have a sting in the tail, this collection is notable for the precision of the writing and its dark humour.

Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro

This is a great collection of stories that illustrate Munro’s gift for observation and ability to reveal the petty snobberies of small town life.

CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards

A conspiracy of prominent crime authors take readers on a world mystery tour with plenty of dead bodies along the way.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Subtitled A Novel in Stories, the eponymous Olive is the main character in some of the stories but in others has the equivalent of a walk-on part.  I found some of the stories bleak, many thought-provoking, others heart-warming and hopeful.  But, in every case, I felt as though I was reading about real people.

Sherlock Holmes Short Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So many of the famous stories – ‘The Red Headed League’, ‘The Copper Beeches’, ‘The Final Problem’ – are brought together in this fabulous collection.


7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Novellas/Short Stories

  1. I can’t tell you how scared I am about reading Sherlock Holmes, mostly because everyone and their mother seems to love those stories. I love the idea of each of Odysseus’ companions getting their stories told, so I’m definitely checking it out. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some great ones on your list. I didn’t realise Brokeback Mountain was a short story. I’ve read one book by Shirley Jackson but not the one you mention. I also like the sound of the Jack London.


  2. Like you, I’m not a big reader of short stories, but I found a lot of great ones once I started thinking about it! I love Elizabeth Strout’s books, and I almost included Sherlock Holmes on my list. I’m intrigued by Sea of Sorrow.


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