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  1. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry: This sentimental story has a twist with a lesson about the true meaning of gift giving.
  2. “Man from the South” by Roald Dahl: In this short story, a mysterious man offers a bargain for lighting a lighter on the first try. Win, you get a new car. Lose, he gets to take your finger.
  3. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant: Popular for its twist ending and the inspiration for many other writers, this short story is a must-read for anyone interested in the genre.
  4. “Meneseteung” by Alice Munro: While the narrative devices used in telling the story might be confusing at first, readers who persevere will be rewarded with a rich tale spanning several decades.
  5. “The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde: This story uses the form of a fairy tale to look at love, sacrifice and relationships.
  6. “The Diamond As Big as the Ritz” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Included in a short story collection and published on its own, this story documents the lengths one family will go to in order to keep their secret source of wealth a hidden.
  7. “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: This magical realist story focuses on a couple who have found what they believe to be an angel in their front yard– for better or for worse.
  8. “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy: While Tolstoy may be better known for his epic novels, this short story in the form of a parable about a king searching for the most important questions in life shows he mastered the medium of the short story as well.
  9. “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi ” by Rudyard Kipling: If you never enjoyed the tale of this dedicated mongoose as a child, pick it up today.
  10. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain: This colorful tale about a man and his famous jumping frog earned Twain fame and acclaim and is well worth a read.
  11. Dubliners by James Joyce: Over the course of fifteen short stories, readers will gain insights into Irish middle-class life at the beginning of the 20th century.
  12. “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka: Exploring themes like death, art, isolation and personal failure, this work is one of Kafka’s best and, sadly, most autobiographical.
  13. “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway: A writer on safari in Africa is close to death and looks back on his life regrettably in this short tale.
  14. “The Famished Road” by Ben Okri: Azaro is a spirit child who is born only to live for a short while before returning to the idyllic world of his spirit companions. Now he has chosen to stay in the world of the living. This is his story.
  15. “The Sound & the Fury” by William Faulkner: The novel centers on the Compson family, former Southern aristocrats who are struggling to deal with the dissolution of their family and its reputation.
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