30 Short Stories In English That Are Worth Reading

Quick and lovely!

Reina Piparaiya

16 days ago|10 min read

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Short stories tell incredible tales and take you on beautiful adventures in a short period of time, which is why they are so great! Several of history's greatest English authors have dabbled in the art of short stories, and others are perhaps finest and best known for it. 

Check out these short stories in English by some of the greatest storytellers, and we’re sure that you will love them all!

1. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl | Short Stories In English

Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, is a short story in English about the killing of detective Patrick Maloney by his wife Mary. After her husband's news that he's abandoning her and their unborn baby, Mary swiftly reclaims her composure after murdering him with the leg of lamb. 

In some respects, there are two climaxes to this short story. The first of these takes place when Mary assaults and murders her husband. When the investigator discovers that the oven is still on and the leg of the lamb is roasting, the story's second and primary climax happens. 

The narrative depicts domestic abuse and betrayal in a short manner.

2. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery is a short narrative by Shirley Jackson that was originally published in The New Yorker. The narrative is set in a fictional tiny town that holds a yearly ritual called "the lottery," in which a member is chosen at random. To guarantee that the year's harvests are robust, the "winner" would be sacrificed.

3. “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian

“Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian | Short Stories In English

Margot, a twenty-year-old sophomore college student, and Robert, an older guy who is frequent at the cinema where Margot works, had a short romance. This short story in English discusses the themes of power imbalances between men and women, as well as coercion.

4. “Sticks” by George Saunders

This short story in English follows a father and his odd hobby of decorating a pole in his front yard. However, the narrative is actually about a father's battle with his children's relationships, as well as his fight with his own impending mortality. It’s one that you definitely must check out.

5. “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes

“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes | Short Stories In English

The tale is recounted through a set of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human candidate for a brain operation that allows him to improve his intellectual abilities after a life of being intellectually challenged. The short story in English focuses on ethical concerns including how the intellectually handicapped are treated.

6. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story in English is one that you absolutely must read. The story follows a house servant and his narration of a plan to murder the elderly man whom he works for. It’s a great story of crime and murder that teaches the importance of staying away from crime rather than leaning into it.

7. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper recounts the decline of a woman's mental wellbeing while she and her family are on vacation to cure her depression. The protagonist spends her time in her bedroom, surrounded by a dreadful yellow wallpaper. 

Throughout the short story in English, her fixation with the wallpaper symbolizes her fall into madness, utilizing it as a metaphor for the domestic existence that traps so many women.

8. “The Dead” by James Joyce

“The Dead” by James Joyce | Short Stories In English

Gabriel Conroy is a teacher and part-time book critic. This short story in English explores his connections with the people around him. The topic of existence, relationship, loss, politics, faith, and immobility is explored in James Joyce's novel The Dead.

9. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis is one of Kafka's most well-known works, and it follows merchant Gregor Samsa, who wakes up to find himself changed into a gigantic bug, left to adapt to his new reality. Prior to his metamorphosis, Gregor worked as a peddler to take care of his family. However, Gregor begins to feel like a nuisance to his family after being relieved of that obligation.

10. “Speech Sounds” by Octavia Butler

Set in the wake of a pandemic that rendered the majority of humans unable to communicate is Rye, who is found riding the bus across Los Angeles when a brawl breaks out. It’s a great short story in English to read, especially in today’s era, where we are going through our own global pandemic.

11. “Stories of Your Life” by Ted Chiang

Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist, recounts her daughter's conception. The tale switches between the past where the aliens arrive and decode their languages; and the future, including what will happen to her daughter's childhood. 

The ideas of free will vs fate, language and actuality, and alienation are central in this short story in English.

12. “Going to Meet the Man” by James Baldwin

“Going to Meet the Man” by James Baldwin | Short Stories In English

Going to Meet the Man is a compilation of eight short stories in English by author James Baldwin. Baldwin uses sexual instability as a metaphor for comprehending racial injustice and white supremacy in his narrative. The Black man was viewed as a danger to the White man's dominion.

13. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver

This short story in English covers a period of one evening, in which two couples, narrator Nick and Laura, and Mel and Terri debate the subject of "true love." They keep attempting to nail down the definition of love but never lead to an ultimate conclusion.

14. “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver

"Cathedral," by Raymond Carver, begins with an inner monologue wherein the narrator confesses his reluctance to accommodate Robert, a blind person who is an acquaintance of the narrator's spouse. The narrator recalls the circumstances that led to his wife and Robert becoming friends. 

On the exterior, "Cathedral" is a narrative about a disgruntled man who learns new methods of viewing the world after meeting his wife's blind friend. It's a narrative about three individuals who desperately need one another to connect.

15. “Symbols and Signs” by Vladimir Nabokov

On his birthday, an older couple attempts to see their mentally unstable son at a hospital. They have been notified that he tried suicide and that they will not be able to visit him immediately. 

Following their arrival back, the husband informs his wife of his intention to discharge him from the hospital. This short story in English explores themes of misfortune and mystery and is an interesting read for sure.

16. “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

“The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury | Short Stories In English

The Hadleys enjoy a life of luxury in "The Happylife Home," a completely mechanized mansion. However, an obsession with a virtual reality chamber that can replicate any chosen environment becomes a concern to parents George and Lydia. Be sure to check out this short story in English to lose yourself between fantasy and reality.

17. “Don't Look Now” by Daphne Du Maurier

Don't Look Now is one of du Maurier's most remarkable and unsettling writings. It narrates the story of a husband and wife who encounter two sisters during their vacation in Venice. The two are mourning the death of their child, and one of the sisters claims to see their dead child seated next to them.

18. “Alan Bean Plus Four” by Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks' short story in English "Alan Bean Plus Four" depicts the storey of four Californians who construct a spacecraft out of Home Depot components and take off from an Oxnard garage to travel to space. It’s one you will be sure to love.

19. “What, Of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret

“What, Of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret | Short Stories In English

What, of This Goldfish, Would You Wish? is a short tale about a goldfish. Yoni, a young man with a hunger for fame, creates a film by going door to door and questioning them what they would ask for if they got three wishes from a magical goldfish.

20. “Runaway” by Alice Munro

The narrative of a lady who declines an opportunity to flee a miserable relationship is told in Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro's short story in English. It’s a great read that will tell you a lot about love and loss.

21. “if a book is locked there's probably a good reason for that, don't you think” by Helen Oyeyemi

We are first captivated by this short story in English with an interesting title. It tells the story of a data interpreter who falls into the custody of a coworker's encrypted journal. However, when he opens it, he discovers that the lock's purpose wasn't to keep the diary secret.

22. “A Telephone Call” by Dorothy Parker

The short story in English is about a phone call, as the title indicates. The protagonist is anticipating a phone call from a young man. She begs, screams, and bargains with God, pleading with Him to let the young guy call her. She demands to learn whether God is punishing her for anything she did wrong.

23. “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde

“The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde | Short Stories In English

The Happy Prince tells the storey of a magnificent monument that guards a city. The monument depicts a Prince who lived a comfortable, affluent life, utterly oblivious about what was going on outside his castle walls. He's now enslaved to that immovable, opulent statue, encrusted with gold and beautiful stones.

24. “Bee Honey” by Banana Yoshimoto

A lady on the verge of divorce travels to Buenos Aires, a foreign city where she does not know the language, to nurse her uncertainty and sadness. When she sees a parade of mothers of the missing, she thinks about her own mother in Tokyo, and her viewpoint changes.

25. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.

This short story in English revolves around James and Della Dillingham Young, a young couple who, regardless of their circumstances, vow to present one another a beautiful Christmas present on Christmas Night. 

Della sells her gorgeous hair to fund the purchase of a platinum band for Jim's ancient watch. This leads to a larger plot, which you will have to read the story to find out!

26. “The Monkey's Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“The Monkey's Paw” by W.W. Jacobs | Short Stories In English

Three wishes are delivered to the possessor of The Monkey's Paw in the narrative, but each request comes with a hefty price for tampering with destiny. Fate, uncertainty, sadness, and loss are all major themes in "The Monkey's Paw."

27. “Mrs. Packletide's Tiger” by Hector Hugh Munro

Mrs. Packletide aspires to be superior to her neighbor Loona Bimberton. After discovering that Loona flew 10 kilometers to shoot a tiger, Packletide grows envious of her reputation and decides to shoot a tiger as well to demonstrate her bravery and glory in public. The themes of envy, pride, insecurity, power, greed, and extortion are explored in this short story in English.

28. “The Door in the Wall” by Marguerite de Angeli

Set in the Middle Ages in England as the plague spreads throughout the nation is this short story in English. Ten-year-old Robin is handicapped by an unknown illness. 

He rises from self-pity and becomes engaged in woodworking, and subsequently becomes engaged in thrilling events at a friend's castle, after being left in the care of a courageous and daring monk.

29. “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf

​​The narrative of a husband and wife whose house is plagued by two spirits is told in this short story in English. The ghosts, though, do not hurt the pair and only engage in a frenzied hunt for riches that the couple swears doesn't really exist. This famous author's short story is one you must check out!

30. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London

“To Build a Fire” by Jack London | Short Stories In English

To Build a Fire tells the tale of a teenage prospector who travels to the Yukon in search of gold. On a chilly, windy afternoon, he is going toward his camp against the advice of an experienced miner. He slips on ice and finds his feet wet, prompting the construction of a bonfire to dry off and warm himself.

These short stories in English have been read, again and again, analyzed and beloved by people across the world. They are ones that you absolutely should not miss, and are great reads. Be sure to comment below on what your favorite short story in English is!

Also, like and share these short stories in English with the short story readers.

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Reina Piparaiya

Hi, I'm Reina Piparaiya. Check out my page for upcoming articles on film, quotes, travel and more!

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