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Best Short Stories of Jack London

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  824 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Poetic, swift with violence and action.
1 To the Man on Trial
2 Law of Life
3 Wit of Porportuk
4 To build a Fire
5 Heatmen
6 A piece of Steak
7 Love of Life
8 Lost Face
9 Pearls of Parlay
10 Odyssey of the North
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Fawcett (first published 1945)
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Real Man Books
187th out of 539 books — 239 voters
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Grit-Lit - Writing that Bleeds
81st out of 88 books — 26 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,559)
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Shaun
Apr 19, 2016 Shaun rated it liked it
Jack London short stories. Now, this might be the first time I’ve actually read short stories. I’ve read a number of London stories now – The Sea Wolf, Call of the Wild, and White Fang. I really like how he describes the characters’ philosophy, so to speak, and how their environment changes them into being something else. Now, with the short stories… In a large way, I think the short stories left something to be desired. It just didn’t have that same “oomph” that I like, from The Sea Wolf and Wh ...more
Jamie VW
Dec 02, 2012 Jamie VW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this over the past few months - London is masterful at drawing the reader into the mind of his characters, especially when expressing desperation or the descent into madness as so many of his subjects, more often than not lost in the wilds of Alaska. It is hard not to feel the freezing cold, the pangs of hunger, the desire for warmth and comfort that his subjects crave. However the story that stuck out to me the most is titled "The Mexican", oddly enough a boxing story and take ...more
Tim Stiller
Jul 14, 2014 Tim Stiller rated it it was amazing
What more can I say than I loved this collection. There's not one story that bored me or went on too long. If I had to pick one favorite, it would have to be "Lost Face." Great stuff. I think I prefer his shorts to his novels, and I really like all his known novels, so that says a lot. They weren't kidding when they named the book "Best Short Stories" of London. They really are. The book cover is quite nicely done as well.
Eleanor
Jul 05, 2007 Eleanor rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who have dreams of leading sled dogs, and crying "mush! mush!"
Mixed bag of short stories. Picked this up because it included "To Build A Fire", one of the first "survival lit" stories I'd read as a teenager, and one which left an indelible impression on me back then.

I think much of what fascinates me about survival lit in general is that it centers on man's hubris in believing he can win the war against Mother Nature - that he can outwit, outarm, outlast her. He cannot. At the very least, he may get lucky, and the best survival literature explores the lim
...more
Tate Stevenson
Jan 28, 2016 Tate Stevenson rated it it was amazing
The difference between Jack London's short stories and other short stories I've read (For example Carver.) is that his stories are like complete mini novels with clear beginning and end. If you want enjoyable complete stories - most in this book are adventure/action (protagonists fighting to better themselves or something else) that leave you with no questions or ambiguity about what's going on, then this is a good book for you.
Brian
Feb 25, 2014 Brian added it
I feel as though me and Jack have been on one intense and remarkable journey ever since that brilliant Northern Exposure episode where Chris in the Morning inadvertently introduced me to his work as he narrates The Call of the Wild. London's greatest attribute is that he never fails to take you on a journey and this quite wonderful collection of his short stories fully encapsulates a boyish sense of 'adventure', albeit based on experience and no little imagination. Jack's adventures are never gl ...more
John
May 10, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Jack London reduces life experiences to their purest, most pessimistic form. His stories are uncomfortable because we hope there's more to our lives than how much protein we ate in our last meal and how cold it is outside.
Bill
Dec 07, 2009 Bill rated it liked it
I'd read White Fang and Call of the Wild many years ago, but never read any of Jack London's short stories before now. This is a good collection of those and validates the view that London was better as a short story writer than as a novelist. He can create memorable figures but is not capable of making them fully-rounded characters.

His prose vividly evokes the harsh environment of Alaska and how it takes its toll on humans. Despite the emphasis on action, London consistently shows a more refin
...more
Abhishek
Makes you wanna travel to desolate , windy islands !!
Sam Chiang
Mr. Chiang...test.
Chris Bushman
Apr 04, 2013 Chris Bushman rated it really liked it
This collection sat on my bookshelf untouched for years and years. One insomniac night last summer, I casually cracked it and was sucked in.

The South Seas stories are fantastic, a window into a harsh world of seafaring colonialism, indentured servitude, cannibals, fools and heroes.

The tales of the Industrial Revolution and petty crime in turn of the century San Francisco get an equally severe description as does the Alaskan wilderness.

I never knew what I was missing.
Hatice
Jan 12, 2015 Hatice rated it it was amazing
Yaşadığı kırk yıl boyunca maceranın çağrısına her zaman cevap veren büyük usta iyi ki öyle yapmış. Yoksa bu muhteşem öyküler yazılamazdı.
Onun şu düsturunu çok beğeniyorum: " İnsanın işlevi yaşamaktır, öylece var olmak değil. Günlerimi onları uzatmaya çalışarak ziyan etmeyeceğim. Zamanımı kullanacağım."
Harry
Aug 29, 2012 Harry rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-authors
Jack London is a fantastic author, with a disturbing fascination with darkness and death that I just couldn't look away from. My favorite story in this collection was definitely 'Lost Face' - the ending at first shocked me and then had me chuckling. Well worth the read, even if for Lost Face and the very popular, disturbing, 'To Build a Fire'.
Beverly Maher
Jan 01, 2014 Beverly Maher rated it it was amazing
To build a fire was the most emotionally draining story I had ever read! I don't know why it took so long to read his short stories, they are realistic and sometimes very frightening.
Ann M
I read two stories and am temporarily Londoned out, similarity of tone. He men and dumb savages, ho hum. The first story, about the man trying to get to his camp in record-breaking cold, is good. It might eventually get bumped up to four stars.
Kathleen Young
Jan 31, 2013 Kathleen Young rated it really liked it
Shelves: quotable, adventure
The Cruise of the Dazzler: A boy anxious to see the world leaves home too early without decorous schooling. From middle class to a pirate ship he finds himself maturing through his conscious, connected responsibilities, and family loyalty.
Charles
Dec 26, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Not only the best stories of Jack London, but among the best stories ever written in the English Language. "To Build a Fire" and "A Piece of Steak" are absolute masterpieces.
Tim Addison
Sep 08, 2014 Tim Addison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up now and again over the summer. Some good tales, topics from Alaska good rush, survival , South pacific cultures and sailing.
Katie
Aug 23, 2009 Katie rated it liked it
His stories have a great arc; they are a study in short story writing. They're a little too macho for me to really enjoy, though.
Deb
May 19, 2015 Deb rated it it was amazing
Jack London...this man is a genius. I can't wait to read more of him. "An Odyssey of the North" simply haunted me!
MiChAeLPaUl
Jul 19, 2013 MiChAeLPaUl marked it as fini
Shelves: books, short-fiction
A selection of short stories by JL depicting the brutality and reality of nature.
Joe  Noir
Apr 23, 2013 Joe Noir rated it it was amazing
Contains two of my all time favorite short stories: "Lost Face" and "To Build a Fire".
Jesse Mcwhirk
Apr 11, 2011 Jesse Mcwhirk rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Everyone should read this book
Toni
Feb 02, 2010 Toni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better than I remembered...
Nyan2010
i like jack london's books.
Keely
May 29, 2008 Keely rated it it was amazing
'To Build a Fire' is AMAZING.
Tim Gehring
Feb 27, 2008 Tim Gehring rated it liked it
master storyteller...
Caleb
Dec 26, 2011 Caleb marked it as to-read
Shelves: torchlight-list
'A Piece of Steak'
Helene
Helene rated it really liked it
Apr 29, 2016
Ryann Pratt
Ryann Pratt is currently reading it
Apr 29, 2016
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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