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Taking the time to read.

Updated on March 22, 2010

World Literature Stories Worth reading

There are a great many stories that people consider worthy of reading, and while many can be agreed upon in a general sense, there are others that no one has heard of before that could be worthwhile to peruse as well. I maintain that while there are some good new writers in the world, there are a great deal of stories and books that are missed from a World Literature offering that offer the reader a more global perspective.

Literature that endures is timeless, and speaks to universal truths. Ask any literature teacher and they will offer their own personal favorites. Often degree seeking English majors focus on one single author to place all their emphasis of study upon. I maintain that it is a variety of stories that offer the reader the fullest experience. There are a number of places one can access stories written on the internet, and these can be printed for those who do not choose to read these pieces online.

Here are a few of the stories I believe are worth mentioning that offer the reader a total experience in the literary world. These choices are not as well known as some of the other lists that have been posted on these HUBS so it is my hope they will inspire and challenge you to seek them anew.

The Kreutzner Sonata by Leo Tolstoy is a short novella about a troubled relationship and two strangers traveling on a train. Very dark and psychological.

"The Hitchhiking Game" by Milan Kundera is a short story about two lovers playing a sort of "game" with each other as they take a vacation. Again, another twist in psychology and well worth contemplating.

"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a short story about appearences and how they affect us. It is a piece of magical realism and offers a look into belief systems.

"New Years Sacrifice" by Lu Xun. Xun is a Chinese writer who is well known for his contribution to change in Chinese literature. This story asks us to imagine being someone who is not really a "person" in her own right.

"The Homecoming" by Rabinadrath Tagore. Tagore wrote India's national anthem and is considered a inspirational poet and writer in India. In this story, we can see how family drama can alienate and isolate.

"The Ascent to Mt Ventoux" by Petrarch. This answers the question: why do people climb mountains and is inspired in its presentation.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. If you never read any other book, read this one. It is my number one choice of book over all others. You will be touched and inspired, and repulsed at the same time.

"Enemies" by Anton Chekhov. Chekhov is known for his plays like "The Cherry Orchard" but he is also a prolific short story writer. This one is exceptionally telling of the class structure in Russian society.

"The Bronze Horseman" by Alexander Pushkin. Read this story (poem) and see how eerily it relates to our own modern day Hurricane Katrina. Excellent read.

"Free" by Theodore Dreiser. Excellent story about Victorian times and patriarchal society.

"A Jury of her Peers" by Susan Glaspell. This also has another title in a play form called "Trifles".

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Exceptional psychological story of an unusual love affair.

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan is a great short story/novella that has wonderful twists and turns and leaves you guessing. McEwan is a odern day writer and also wrote: The Road.

"Désirée's Baby" and "The Storm" by Kate Chopin. Famous for The Awakening Kate also has some wonderful short stories that fascinate the reader.

"The Guest" by Albert Camus. Ambiguous ending, and offers two opposing views on war.

The Heptameron: "The Loves of Amadour and Florida". Marguerite de Navarre. What is love and what is lust?

"Gilgamesh". First recorded short story in history. Life is not too different these days!

There are many others that could be listed, but these are some of my favorites. If it is too difficult to read long books, these stories can be chosen instead, and offer the reader some interesting food for thought and contemplation.

Happy Reading!

There are many online resources for you to find short stories online. One sch resource is bibliomania at:


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    • melindaenglish profile image

      melindaenglish 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have made a hard copy of this list and intend to read all. Aley always knows the very best books to read...I belive her to be a BIBLIOTHERAPIST!!( a highly qualified educator/professor, and prolific reader who chooses the best of reading materials).