Sunday, January 04, 2015

LOA List: Top 10 Story of the Week Selections in 2014

The Library of America, my favorite publisher, has posted a "Story of the Week" for a long time, most of them new to me.  I'm a relatively recent convert to the art of the short story (having really only started reading them regularly in the last six or seven years), so the stories posted have served as quite an "education" for me.

Please take a look at this list of the most most popular stories posted by The Library of America folks last a few of them if you want, and if you like what you see, be sure to sign up for the LOA email service that will send you a link to each of 2015's stories as they are posted throughout the year.


(The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to preserving the best American writing from the past and into our future.  I am a big believer in what they do and have collected 74 of their  beautiful books so far, with, I hope, many more in my future.)


The Top 10 Story of the Week Selections in 2014
1. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
James Thurber
While on a shopping trip with his wife,
Walter Mitty daydreams of exciting and heroic adventures.
2. “The First Seven Years
Bernard Malamud
Feld, a shoemaker living in New York City,
seeks a suitable husband for his daughter.
3. “The Ice Palace
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A young woman, hoping to escape the sleepy town of Tarleton, Georgia,
travels north to visit the home of her fiancé.
4. “Playing Courier
Mark Twain
The narrator assumes the responsibilities of tour guide for an “expedition”
through Europe—with disastrous results.
5. “No Room in the Cemetery
[reprinted from the Baltimore Afro-American]

In 1966 officials in Wetumpka, Alabama, refused to permit
the burial of the city’s first Vietnam War casualty in a
segregated cemetery—except in the paupers section.
6. “You Can’t Tell a Man by the Song He Sings
Philip Roth
The narrator recalls the high school class in which he met Albie Pelagutti,
recently released from a reformatory, who had decided “to go straight.”
7. “The Story of an Hour
Kate Chopin
Louise Mallard learns that her husband was one of the casualties
in a horrible railroad disaster.
8. “Dear sister I must leave this house”
Dolley Madison
The First Lady and her staff evacuate the White House
as British troops storm the city.
9. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Ambrose Bierce
A Confederate sympathizer, condemned to die, recalls the encounter
that set him on the path to the gallows.
10. “Tyrants of the Shop
Fanny Fern
America’s first woman newspaper columnist
(and, by the 1850s, the highest paid of any columnist)
describes how some “shop-girls” are treated by their employers.


  1. Happy New Year Sam! I love short stories and have only recently discovered that LOA does this and now am on their mailing list for the stories. I have not yet gotten into the routine of reading them (since I read the weekly New Yorker story as well as a story a week from an anthology I dip into), but I am saving this list to read from. Lots of good stories there!

  2. Danielle, sometimes I wonder why it took me so long to catch on to the beauty of well written short stories. I read most of the LOA ones now plus four or five short story collections a year. Oh, and I've been dipping in and out of "The Oxford Book of American Short Stories" for over a year's the one for which Joyce Carol Oates picked all the stories.