If you love reading great works of literature but don’t have the time to get through an entire novel, check out this list of 10 best short stories free online.
Short stories are perhaps the simplest way to enjoy literature. If you are a busy professional, you may not have the time to read novels. The good news is that the internet is bursting with free short stories waiting for you. To get started, look at the 10 best short stories free online.
Short stories allow you to dive deeply into the world of literature without you having to digest 800-page novels. Instead, you can take in the best tales by renowned writers and find inspiration and joy.
And all the while, you are pursuing your passion for reading. Plus, there are non-fiction short stories if you want to learn more about other people’s experiences.
Best short stories you can read for free now
It is not just the New Yorker that delivers excellent reading material. You can discover any genre online, from classic tales to sci-fi and the latest offerings for emerging authors. A quick internet search will lead you to many must-devour short stories.
While many websites hide the best short stories behind a paywall, there is still an abundance of excellent reading material available free of charge.
Let’s look at the best short stories you can read for free right now.
The Veldt by Ray Bradbury
If ever there was a writer ahead of his time, Ray Bradbury would rise to the top. In his 1950s short story, the author tells a dystopian tale that could have been written yesterday.
The Veldt is the story of the Hadley family living in their HappyLife home. The house boasts all the latest mods. Everything is taken care of, including personal hygiene and settling you down for the night.
Naturally, everything goes pear-shaped at some point. The virtual reality features of the nursery are a little too sophisticated.
The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
As the title suggests, this story is about language and confusion. The tale unfolds in a library with unlimited books. They all feature every possible combination of the 22 letters, comma, full-stop, and space.
As you would expect, most of the books are gibberish. The key is to navigate the confusion and find meaning.
In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
Although Kafka himself didn’t speak well of this story, it is worth reading it. The author’s other famous short stories, “A Country Doctor” and “The Hunger Artist,” are also excellent.
In this story, a machine writes across the victims’ bodies in search of perfection until they cry out from pain and discomfort. The tale concludes that the body’s weaknesses are the seat of truth and light.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
If you are looking for a story to make you question everything, look no further. The protagonist of this short story is a serial killer whose politeness is striking.
The Daughters of the Moon by Italo Calvino
Diving into consumerism, Calvino tells the story of how people tried to cast away the moon.
Evelyn by James Joyce
“Evelyn” features in Joyce’s short story collection “Dubliners.” The main character must choose between leaving home or keeping her promise to her dying mother.
The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith
As the title suggests, this story unfolds at the Cambodian Embassy in London. Fatou is the housekeeper of the Derawals.
Smith went on to write a musical novel to accompany this captivating novella.
Sea Oak by George Saunders
Sea Oak is a dark comedy about a family living in dire poverty. Aunt Bernie dies but then returns to put things right.
Girls, at Play by Celeste Ng
In this offering of Ng’s, a few 13-year-old girls escape teacher supervision to play an adult game. When a new girl joins them, they take her under their wings only to rediscover their childhood.
Sweetness by Toni Morrison
Sweetness is the story of a mother-daughter relationship. As the prominent and successful daughter prepares to get married, her mother begins questioning her reasons for raising her in a loveless home.
Love short stories? Look for these authors
If you are still hungry for more, it is worth checking out the authors below to find more favorite short stories.
Thriller author Stephen King hardly needs an introduction. Apart from penning the script for numerous movies and TV series, he has sold millions of copies of his books worldwide.
If you are looking for classic short stories, look no further than Hemingway. “Hills Like White Elephants” is a must-read.
Chekhov shaped the way authors write short stories with classics like “The Bet,” The Darling, Vanka,” and “The Lady with the Dog.”
Edgar Allan Poe
Poe is another master of short fiction. Born more than 200 years ago, he was to first to write detective stories. What’s more, he kickstarted the creation of modern science fiction.
The list of outstanding short story writers is long. Remember to check out authors like Alice Munro and Haruki Murakami.
Exploring different genres of short stories
Within the realm of short stories, various genres offer a diverse range of experiences. From the thrill of mystery and suspense to the charm of romance, buckle up and prepare to be transported into new worlds.
Short stories have the power to captivate readers and leave a lasting impact in a condensed format. They allow authors to explore different themes, emotions, and ideas, providing a snapshot of a larger narrative or a complete story in itself.
The thrill of mystery and suspense
For those who crave an adrenaline rush, mystery and suspense short stories are perfect companions. These gripping tales will keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing until the very end. Prepare to become enthralled in a web of puzzling clues and unexpected twists, much like in Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’
From classic whodunits to psychological thrillers, mystery and suspense short stories offer a wide array of subgenres to explore. For those discovering this genre for the first time in the bustling streets of New York City, dive into the world of detective fiction, where brilliant minds unravel complex cases, or immerse yourself in the realm of psychological suspense, where the line between reality and illusion blurs.
As you read these stories, you’ll find yourself becoming a detective, analyzing every detail and trying to piece together the puzzle before the protagonist does. The thrill of the unknown and the satisfaction of solving a mystery will keep you hooked from the first sentence to the final revelation.
The charm of romance
If you’re a hopeless romantic, the charm of romance short stories will captivate your heart. These narratives beautifully depict the intricacies of love, allowing readers to experience the sweetness, heartbreak, and joy that accompanies it.
Romance short stories come in various forms, from passionate love affairs to tender moments of connection. Explore the complexities of relationships, the vulnerability of falling in love, and the bittersweet nature of heartbreak. Each story will take you on a journey of emotions, reminding you of the power of human connection.
Whether it’s a tale of star-crossed lovers, a second chance at love, or a whirlwind romance, these stories will make your heart flutter and leave you yearning for more. They remind us that love can be found in the most unexpected places and that it has the power to transform lives.
The intrigue of science fiction
Science fiction short stories open the door to limitless possibilities. Journey to distant galaxies, encounter futuristic technologies, and explore the wonders of the universe. These captivating tales will leave you pondering the mysteries that lie beyond our reality.
Science fiction short stories often serve as a reflection of our own society, exploring the consequences of scientific advancements and the impact they have on humanity. They challenge our understanding of the world and push the boundaries of what is possible.
From dystopian societies to time travel adventures, science fiction short stories offer a glimpse into alternative futures and parallel dimensions. They explore themes of artificial intelligence, space exploration, genetic engineering, and the ethical dilemmas that arise from these advancements.
As you dive into these stories, you’ll be transported to worlds where anything is possible. You’ll encounter alien civilizations, witness the birth of new technologies, and grapple with the moral implications of scientific progress. Science fiction short stories ignite our imagination and inspire us to question the world around us.
Grab even more great short stories on Speechify Audiobooks
If you don’t want to read online, you can also enjoy short fiction via audiobooks. You can explore an expansive library of short stories, check out collections, and enjoy them as podcasts on the go.
The website features many Hugo Award-winning short stories.
What is the best short story to read?
Scrolling through the Speechify library, you will soon find an abundance of great short fiction. Apart from the ten best short stories listed above, check out works by Vladimir Nabokov, Oscar Wilde, and Haruku Murakami.
Why are short stories so popular?
Reading novels is not for everyone. For starters, most people nowadays do not have the or headspace. Even the most avid readers love what short stories offer; entertainment, depth, stimulation, and beauty.
What is the longest short story written?
Most short stories have a word count below 7,500. World-famous author James Joyce’s classic tale “The Dead” runs to almost 16,000 words. The story features at the very end of “Dubliners.” The collection features several masterpieces of literature.
Who wrote the shortest story?
Although some literary experts doubt the link to the author, this flash fiction piece by Hemingway is the world’s shortest short story:
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Regardless of whether Hemingway wrote it, this is a masterclass in concise writing. Today, flash fiction is an emerging writing genre.