Today’s theme over at Top Ten Tuesday is books guaranteed to make you smile; but I think I have done that one too many times. While I guess I can make up another list of books, I decided to instead list short stories sure to make you smile instead!
If you have visited my blog often enough, you know I read most everything. And I adore short stories too! So I am simply diving into my (somewhat faulty) memory bank here to come up with a list of ten (plus one more) of those most likely to lighten your hearts and/or brighten your faces! Granted, some are macabre, others are sweet and light-hearted, while still others are sharpened with irony or edged with satire, but each of them have humor threaded through!
Stories Sure to Make You Smile
As you read the descriptions below, you might notice that I don’t really talk about the story at all! I am writing these sentences after having written the descriptions below so wanted to let you know that it was not intentional at all; it just happened. I am guessing that is perfectly OK and leaves this post spoiler free!!
The Open Window by Saki
This story by Saki is easily one of my top ten short stories ever!! I think my first reading of this story painted such a vivid picture in my mind that I almost feel like I actually watched it happen with my eyes; and I relate it to others with those scenes playing like a flashback.
Read it here.
The Ransom of Red Chief by O Henry
While O Henry has been one of my favorite writers for a long long time now, I read The Ransom of Red Chief only recently (a couple or more years ago). Reading it once again proved why I adore O Henry so much!! You can read it here.
The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde
To be cliched, I have been wild about Wilde as long as I can remember. I think one of the first stories by Wilde that I fell in love with (the story and its author) was either The Happy Prince or The Selfish Giant. Most likely, I was all of seven or eight when I read these stories, but their impact was strong enough that I continued to read more Wilde-ly! Then, sometime in high school, we read The Nightingale and the Rose, and had to analyze the behavior of each of the characters (including the nightingale and the rose), and I wept and smiled through reading and analyzing it. Like with O Henry’s “Ransom…,” I only recently read (and loved) The Model Millionaire.
Read it here.
The School by Donald Barthelme
The author and the story are both recent discoveries for me, and such delightful discoveries too! If you have not read this story, do so now – you can read it here. To paraphrase Steven Polansky (in the linked article), any attempts to describe Barthelme’s The School is bound to be ridiculous, so best read it yourself!
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
I grew up reading many books, stories, and authors from Russia as a child. While I am not still very sure why it was so, I cherish the memories of reading the many tales about Vasilisa, Prince Ivan, and Baba Yaga. I wept over Mother by Maxim Gorky, delighted in the adventures of Suki in The Three Fat Men, and ..well, the list is endless, so I will stop right here and say that it was no surprise to see that I totally enjoyed Gogol’s The Nose (another recent read for me)
You can read it here.
Big Boy by David Sedaris
Well, this one is an entry I was not sure I wanted to put here, but as a mom who wrinkles her nose at all jokes that young boys seem to enjoy, I simply had to. You can read more about my thoughts on this story here.
Charles by Shirley Jackson
It might be hard to associate Jackson with this list if, like many (including me), you know her because of The Lottery or The House on Haunted Hill. But Charles is a fun and funny read, proving Shirley Jackson’s writerly skills are simply superb! And then again, The Lottery has its own sense of macabre humor, don’t you think, hidden within? You can read it here.
You Were Perfectly Fine by Dorothy Parker
Oh my, this one had me smiling throughout!! It reminded me of The Open Window while having its own uniqueness. I read it a few years ago as part of the Deal Me In challenge though I somehow forgot to review it. You can read it here.
The Soft Sell by Art Buchwald
I recall reading Buchwald’s columns even when I was a teenager back in India. Most likely, I read some of his (reprinted) columns in one of the newspapers or news-magazines. What I also recall is that I loved his writing style, but then I forgot all about reading more by him as college and life took over. But in recent years, as I started reading short stories with renewed interest and intention, I once again discovered Buchwald. His “The Soft Sell” is realistically delightful, and you can discover why by reading it here.
How to Avoid Getting Married by Stephen Leacock
How to discover the most wonderful reads by Vidya Tiru is most likely going to be a future post; well, it is an ongoing one on my blog, I guess!) To be honest, I discovered Stephen Leacock only because I decided to make a list of funny short stories. While all the other stories on this list up to this point were ones I read and enjoyed and knew I would place in a top ten or similar, this one got added here simply because I failed to come up with ten from my memory initially. Many searches invariably returned Leacock, and curiosity led me to reading his stories. I read too many of them, simply could not stop once I started; and then randomly picked one to add here (as I loved them all!)
You can read this and many of his other stories here.
There Was Once by Margaret Atwood
Once upon a time, well, just yesterday actually… or maybe I did read it earlier when I read her wickedly awesome The Stone Mattress. But anyway, this leads me to There Was Once, or is it there is now…..You can read it here.
Related Reads and More
- Ten Books That Make You Smile
- Book Titles That Make You Smile, Grin, or LOL
- Top Ten Punny Titles I Need to Read Now
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these stories? or other books/stories by these authors? Will any of these make it into a top ten type list for you? Or do you have other short stories (or books) that make you smile that you can recommend to me? I would love to hear any and all comments and recommendations.
7 thoughts on “Stories Sure to Make You Smile”
I’m reading Charles and There Was Once now. Thanks for the recommendations!
My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-books-guaranteed-to-put-a-smile-on-your-face/
An eclectic list.
I absolutely love Shirley Jackson. This one made me smile too!
Great list!! I remember reading something by Gogol back in school, can’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t about parenting or youtube LOL! Time to get back into it!!
Thanks for this list of short stories! I don’t have a lot of time with 2 young kids, so this is perfect for me to read something quick!
Emily | Good Mom Living
A great list to look out for.
It is nice to have some positive stories to read and put a smile on your face. Thanks for sharing your list!