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Selected Stories

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  15,492 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
O. Henry originated the humorous, energetic tale that ends with an ironic, even shocking twist. In "After Twenty Years," for example, two boys agree to meet at a particular spot exactly twenty years later. Both are faithful, but in the intervening years one boy has turned into a criminal, the other into a policeman. Behind the rendezvous lurks a powerful dramatic situation ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1977)
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May 23, 2009 Theresa rated it really liked it
I've just got a little bit left to finish, but I just love O. Henry's stories. I read a couple of his short stories in high school, and was hooked. It is just positively amazing what he can cover/accomplish in just a few pages! Also how true what he has to say, and quite humorously too! Wish I could write like that! AND I have way too many exclamation points in this review...
Deborah Johnstone
Nov 29, 2012 Deborah Johnstone rated it it was amazing

It’s hard to believe that O.Henry died penniless. Perhaps his facility to peer inside an individual’s soul took its toll. He wrote of people from all walks of life and his egalitarian position was that everyone deserved to be written about. Every human being possessed vitriol, pathos, and humor. His ability to define character via humor is a revelation that will never pale beside more current work and it is what continues to resonate once a story is complete.

“Jeff Peters has been engaged in as m
Jul 24, 2011 Frank rated it it was ok
In high school I read "The Last Leaf". It was brilliant and simplistic. Many years later I decided I wanted to read more of O. Henry's work and Barnes and Noble provided the fodder. "Selected Stories of O. Henry" is a sort of Best Of collection of 45 short stories by O. Henry. The tip of the ice berg compared to his tiresome output over a short period of time.

O. Henry is considered by many to be the greatest American short story writer. This cross section of his work shows why. He is able to wea
Minh Nhân Nguyễn
3 sao

Rât mong moi đơi đươc đên ngay sach cua O Henry đươc xuât ban ơ Viêt Nam vơi ban dich mươt ma, biên tâp ky lương, xưng đang vơi gia tri cua quyên sach. 3 sao la danh cho ban tiêng Viêt nay, con 2 sao nưa minh tam gơi ngân hang vây, hy vong sơm co ngay đươc rut ra :p
Nov 26, 2010 Jessika rated it really liked it
Even though this book took me forever to read, I really enjoyed it.

Everyone is familiar with "The Gift of the Magi," and I had read a couple of his short stories in school, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked up this volume. I enjoy short stories from time to time, but I usually end up liking some stories more than others. Most of the time, short story collections are "meh" for me. Not so in this case. I can honestly say that I enjoyed each and every story.

I was real
Krishna Kumar
May 31, 2012 Krishna Kumar rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Devlin
Dec 17, 2008 Jennifer Devlin rated it it was amazing
Loving these short stories! The unexpected endings are great, and his humor is right up my alley. Just enjoying some light reading in the midst of life...
Ilyn Ross
Jul 22, 2008 Ilyn Ross rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
O. Henry is a great delight. He transported me to his world of joy and wonderful surprises.
Jun 09, 2017 Danny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Gift of the Magi”
The story of Della and Jim, a married couple struggling to make ends meet. Each sells his most valuable belonging to buy a Christmas present for the other. Della sells her beautiful long brown hair for twenty dollars, and Jim sells his watch, which has been in his family for three generations. Each buys a present intended to enhance the beauty of the other’s most valued possession: Della buys Jim a beautiful fob for his watch, and Jim buys Della a pair of jeweled tortoise-s
Nov 11, 2014 Katrice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When reading a short story collection, especially a collection by only one author, I always face the problem of fatigue. Of being "authored - out". Becoming so familiar with the writer's style that the stories blur together and it gets. . . yeah, maybe a little boring and a bit of a chore to finish.

There were times that I did feel that when reading this collection. When, I suppose, the O.Henry "twist" became O. Henry "rote" and I had to step away a read something else but. . . more often then th
Apr 03, 2011 Wordwizard rated it it was amazing
Funny and clever. These aren't just gripping yarns, though; they're wonderful period pieces and cut to the heart of an atmosphere. Much of the setting and the characters may be larger than life, but the impression is wonderful, especially the elements that repeat over stories: the dizzying freedom of the open prairie during last days of the real "West"; the casual fierce loyalty of the cowboys who lived there; the plucky resourcefulness of hardworking shopgirls and flippant con men alike; the vi ...more
Sep 12, 2010 carissa rated it it was amazing
O. Henry is famous for his surprise endings (which i guess makes them a little less surprising) as well as his light humor. while that makes for entertaining reading, i wouldn't call it frivolous. more gentle than his contemporary Mark Twain, but with greater realism, his stories deal with various classes of New York society, sometimes in the same story, and always make me think or feel something i didn't expect to.
Apr 28, 2010 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cypress, benicia, 2010
I searched by ibn but this isn't the edition I have.
We'll see how many of these I have time to read before it must be returned.

Some of these are excellent, others less so. There were times that the description of even a minor character ran on to such an extent that I lost track of the finer points being set up in the plot.
Mar 03, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I seem to adore O. Henry, though the stories that are set in the West do seem to be a bit thin and are constantly repeating the same plots....but! I do love the allusions, the language, and the "surprise" endings.
Feb 24, 2009 Shane rated it it was ok
Henry never fails to catch you with his trick ending. But this master of the short story may have also contributed to its evolution away from the formulaic trick ending to today's slice of life, open-ended, much ados about nothing stories.
Manasi Shiledar
Oct 16, 2011 Manasi Shiledar rated it really liked it
Shelves: cherished
Before Roald Dahl and Sudha Murthy and R K Narayan, O Henry was my favorite author of short stories! 'The Last Leaf' 'After 20 years' 'The Count and the Wedding Guest' are a few of my favorites.!
Feb 07, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
"The Last Leaf," "The Gift of the Magi," "The Ransom of the Red Chief," and "A Retrieved Reformation" are his best short stories.
Feb 27, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I will never get tired of re-reading these stories. Shortly after purchasing it on a discount rack at a college I was visiting, I realized what a wonderful discovery I had made! <3 O. Henry
Jun 24, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it
There are some really funny, sad, inspiring, and weird stories in here. I love O. Henry's style. He is great!
Beka Sukhitashvili
Sep 23, 2011 Beka Sukhitashvili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
"მსოფლიოს რჩეულ მოთხრობებში" ხომ დაიბეჭდა და აქ უფრო მეტია და ბევრი. თან სხვა თარგმანია. განსაკუთრებუად მომეწონა "წითელკანიანთა ბელადის გამოსყიდვა" და "მოგვების ძღვენი"
Mar 04, 2017 Kevin rated it liked it
Enjoyable read, but the endings became quite predictable. Written at the turn of the last century the style was likely much more novel back then.
Κάλι Γαβριά
Jun 23, 2017 Κάλι Γαβριά rated it it was amazing
Wonderful stories!!!
Χρύσα Ράπτου
May 27, 2017 Χρύσα Ράπτου rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Some stories I really enjoyed them, but others not. Generally, worth reading it.
Mar 02, 2017 Paddyspub rated it it was amazing
The version I read was 401 pages long. This book at the end of every short story I wanted to read an entire book to see what the characters did after the story ended. Very good book. My favorite story was The Last Leaf.
May 17, 2017 Thomas added it
O. Henry was possibly the greatest short story writer ever. He, other than Roald Dahl, was the master of the plot twist.
Oct 25, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it
Of my preferred short story authors, O. Henry is not on the list. No particular reason beyond exposure, I suppose, which was limited to 2 of his stores in a school anthology, "Gift of the Magi" and "Ransom of Red Chief" and Soapy, of course. That being said, the Ransom of Red Chief still lives in my memory as a story that made me laugh harder than anything I had ever read, by grade 7. To the point where I made my parents and sibs remain at the dinner table while I read the story - but given that ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
This book was on the shelf, and I hadn't read it - I somehow thought I already had. Well, I was familiar with a few of stories: The Last Leaf, The Gift of the Magi, The Man Higher Up, and The Ransom of Red Chief. This last one, for some reason, is not included in this anthology.

As others have noted, O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) is a fine author. Those are stories that can be enjoyed even when they've been read before and you know the ending twist. His descriptive powers are amazing and I rea
Sep 21, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: own
While often regarded for his comedic “twist” endings, I’d like to argue for the superiority of O. Henry’s introductory prologues. His best stories often involve casual ruminations about things that might concern the average reader–largely topics concerned with conversational habits, romance, etc. In The Green Door, he begins by philosophizing what it would mean to be a great adventurer, and in this case that would be one who merely accepts a series of hypothetical surrealist situations without q ...more
May 03, 2015 Batyrbek rated it it was amazing
O'Henry now became one of my favorite writers. These short stories are amazing. They're really entertaining, witty and with unpredictable (or rather surprise) endings. I've only read 15 stories. According to Wikipedia there are more than 40. I surely will be reading all of them.
Here is my top list by now:
1) The Roads We Take
2) The Cop And The Anthem
3) The Ransom Of Red Chief
4) A Retrieved Reformation
5) The Handbook Of Hymen
6) The Complete Life Of John Hopkins
7) The Ethics Of Pig
8) The Bu
Abhishek Gour
Oct 22, 2015 Abhishek Gour rated it really liked it
Bravo !! Every single story is a lesson in writing. And what a magnificent motley of tales, from the bucolic adventures to the upper echelons of New York, the drudgery of a housewife competing with the riddles of a detective, the foolish sacrifice of an endearing couple juxtaposed with the high hand of justice delivered, though inadvertently, by Georgia.The courage of Jimmy Hayes, the misfortune of Simmons, the budding bromance interrupted by the lure of love, the unresolved mystery of Smith, th ...more
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O Henry's gift 4 19 Jul 11, 2013 09:03PM  
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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 his uncle's d
More about O. Henry...

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