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The Best of O. Henry

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  571 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
26 of the best of O. Henry's stories including: "The Gift of the Magi," "The Voice of the City," "The Ransom of Red Chief," and more.
Paperback, 1st, 268 pages
Published 2008 by Jaico Publishing House (first published 1929)
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Nov 02, 2010 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: social critics
Shelves: shortstories, fiction
Am not really through with this yet, but I really like O'Henry so far. He has a sharp eye for the minute, daily clashes and crashes between individuals of various races, backgrounds, etc, as per the America of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It makes me think that Singapore is in a similar situation - if only we had a writer with a sharp eye and turn of phrase to turn our history into the next generation's literature! His twists are smart but realistic, his writing sympathetic without be ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVED it. I know alot of people wouldn't sit through a book of short stories, but I've always loved them, and O. Henry has a gift like nobody else. His stories CAN be slightly predictable, but many of them were original, and ingenious, and just thoroughly enjoyable. Loved it!
Anshu Malee
Mar 08, 2015 Anshu Malee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read O Henry, some years ago in his most famous story 'The Gift of the Magi' which is one of the few stories I recall often as one of my favourite short stories. That time I had thought I shall read more of him some day sooner or later. This week I was fortunate enough to do so.

I enjoyed my short read as the stories were quite short, not so elaborated but relating to a particular incidence, with unexpected twist endings. And as critics say prominent features of his stories seemed to be w
Oct 16, 2008 Kirstie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interesting people
Recommended to Kirstie by: my mother peaked my interest at an early age
This is definitely a great starting point for those interested in O. Henry. These stories really remind me a bit of Roald Dahl without all of the grimness but with some of the twisted endings crossed with the humanity element that Richard Yates provides. Most of them take place in NYC and focus on the issues of the people there and this collection in particular is worth looking at if you are a purist because the stories are published in the original submitted form vs. the post edited forms that ...more
John Stevens
Apr 03, 2011 John Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book in a used book store, Cellar Stories, in downtown Providence, RI, while out for a lunchtime walk about 15 years ago. As most people do, I knew a couple of the stories and was curious about O'Henry's writing style. Would I like more or all of his work?

As I read the cover I found that the collection is organized in the order that he wrote each piece. It describes how O'Henry's style, vocabulary, story telling ability and perspective it easily witnessed by the reader as she st
Dec 18, 2007 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I did this play last Christmas. So I have read a script version of this about 1000 times, broken it down, memorized and read it again and then performed it about 8 times. So to say I've read it is a bit of an understatement. Many of O'Henry's story's show the "real" picture of life for people in the cities while still giving you the warm fuzzies. Hard to do but he manages it. Gift of the Magi anyone? I would highly encourge anyone who is feeling Scroogy at any time of the year to head to Greensb ...more
Jul 08, 2009 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's true, O. Henry looses a little something after the first read, but just the guy's command of language is worth multiple reads. Somewhere between Samuel Clemens and John Steinbeck. And the sheer number of original short-stories he has written (over 600 (?)) is phenomenal. I listened to this in the car and I think it would have been better in a quiet situation, like in the dark before bed, because everything is so condensed and the innuendo is important. He manages to evoke a lot of feeling f ...more
Melanie Lofstedt
Feb 18, 2008 Melanie Lofstedt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: O. Henry fans
Recommended to Melanie by: My Dad
My dad got me this book after he discovered that I have not read the Gift of the Magi. This book is a huge collection of O. Henry stories, mostly that take place in New York. The Gift of the Magi was probably my favorite short story in the book, but they all had the same formula with a twist ending. After awhile you train yourself to not read the last paragraph or line of the story so you don't spoil the ironic ending. While it is quite entertaining the way the stories conclude, it does get a li ...more
Ok, I admit--I haven't met all of these. But I wanted to get Tje Ransom of Red Chief and The Gift of The Magi all in one swell foop (as my aunt says), and the rest came along for the ride.

I came to O Henry at the wrong age. If I'd encountered him earlier, I'd have enjoyed the stories at face value. If later, I'd have appreciated the subtleties. But as a
pre-teen being led by the nose into 'good literature', I was mulish and balky, and determined not to like anything I was shown.

Now, of course,
Ibrahim Khaleel
I read O'Henry in school as a part of my English curriculum. I loved the story (20 years later) and always wanted to read more of his works. I was fascinated by The last leaf and also The secret of the magi, but this book was boring to the hilt
I never thought that his collection would be so boring. Most of them are so monotonous that it left me completely drowsy to no ends.
May 15, 2011 JoPaul rated it it was amazing
I love O. Henry's stories.

Although I will prepare my own guess of the how the author will end it, I always surprised how wrong my predictions were when it comes to O. Henry's short stories. The only problem with this collection is that, there are a lot of typographical errors. Almost every page contains spelling mistakes, which I think is a grave sin in publishing. I don't think Jaico had been thorough in proofreading. So, I hope that they will publish flawless copies on their next printing.

Sep 23, 2008 Belinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O. Henry was a brilliant story writer. I am amazed when I find people who have never read a single one of his stories. There was always one O. Henry short story in my English books and it was always assigned. As soon as my mother purchased my school books at the beginning of the year, I would thumb through the pages of my English class textbook to find if there was an O. Henry story in there.

Definitely a wonderful treat for any avid reader of short stories.
Phani Tholeti
O.Henry. "Cop and the Anthem" with Soapy was the first story followed by "after Twenty Years" with Silky Bob and Jimmy Wells. And from then on I've tried to read as much as I could. This collection begins with a beautiful description of streets and roads. And has some very very good stories including the above and also "The Last Leaf". Probably the major missing story is "Roads of Destiny".
Jun 16, 2015 Hanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice short stories, but many of them were so similar to each other that it got a bit predictable and boring.
Sep 24, 2015 SmarterLilac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Airplane book.

Getting five stars because I didn't think it would 'hook' me (and I love O. Henry) because I didn't think these stories were really the author's best.

I was totally wrong. This little text helped me survive a scary take-off from PDX, and held my attention on a brutal red eye flight. So, hats off to you, Ian F. A. Bell. You really know your stuff.
Jan 31, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
O. Henry short stories are the scale that all other short stories in English are measured against. Writers crave winning the O. Henry Award for their writing. Winners have included Stephen King, John Updike, and Woody Allen (had to throw that one in). This is a good little collection of some of the stories from the ex-con who wrote under the pseudonym O. Henry.
Feb 05, 2010 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jessica this is ny
It's evident why O. Henry is one of the finest writers from any era. Right off the bat "A Harlem Tragedy" knocks your socks off and the stories that follow are just as crisp, easy to read and captivating. Clip on your "mighty bright" book light (got mine at Borders) in a pitch black room and go off into your imagination. Thanks, "New York World". Thanks, O.!
Goodloe Bankes
Sep 18, 2011 Goodloe Bankes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O. Henry is a master of language and can use it like an artist uses brush and canvas. He paints his story with words. I enjoyed him in jr.high, high school and university. When someone refers to his language as archaic, they should consider the date he wrote it and that the language of that day was. Heck, they even have a candy bar named after him.
Jul 09, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure how I missed ready any O. Henry before this. They're great. The first half was western stories, the second half stories centered in New York City. He is witty, throwing in twists to almost every ending. I learned a whole bunch of new words while I was at it (and that I have a lambrequin in my house ooh!)
Feb 21, 2016 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
O. Henry has a way with words reminiscent of Fitzgerald: one turn of phrase, and he owns the English language.

Savor O. Henry intermittently. A few stories here and there in between longer reads. Otherwise, many of his "twist-endings" come to feel all-too-predictable.
Yash Mehta
Dec 19, 2014 Yash Mehta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O'Henry is an indulging author, combining humour and circumstantial oddities, resulting in a mindbogglingly fantabulous page-flipper. His usual theme "Life Offers To Deny" at its apex.
Feb 09, 2009 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i adore o'henry. excellent writing style, great dry wit, beautifully crafted sentences. his stories usually have a white hat verses black theme and are good for some quick moral inventory.
May 03, 2016 Ronald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read SOMETIME in 2008; the book I actually read was "Stories by
O'Henry so no rating is being given but it was entertaining with his twist endings.
Rita Platt
Didn't read every story... but, I personally am finished with this book. O Henry's story are uneven...some are FANTASTIC so much.
Oct 26, 2010 Fish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories are amazing. The first, The Gift of the Magi, is very famous. It could made a stone cold serial killer smile.
Aug 30, 2012 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must have read this over and over as a child and adolescent. I loved his surprising twists of fate. So much like real life!
Kell Willsen
Jun 27, 2013 Kell Willsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, short-story
A brilliant collection of short stories from a master. A delight to dip into, again and again.
Apr 23, 2011 Prashansa rated it it was ok
The stories I liked: The Last Leaf and The Cop and the Anthem.
Yara Chalupa
Aug 30, 2012 Yara Chalupa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult to read, his English is so rich, many words I never heard.
Lindsay Campbell
Aug 27, 2007 Lindsay Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
the original master of the short story.
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William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.

He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in uncle's drugs
More about O. Henry...

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