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Selected Stories

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,106 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Eighty stories that display O. Henry's comic eye and unique, ironic approach to life's realities. These stories about con men and tricksters and 'innocent' deceivers, about fate, luck, and coincidence, have delighted generations of readers. Set in New York and the West, in Central America and the South, they demonstrate O. Henry's mastery of speech and place, and highlight ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 25th 1993 by Penguin Classics (first published 1977)
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Nguyễn Minh Nhân
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 ...more
Deborah Johnstone

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
...more
Krishna Kumar
May 31, 2012 Krishna Kumar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I READ FEW OF O HENRY'S SHORT STORIES IN MY HIGH SCHOOL. HE WAS MY FAVORITE AUTHOR SINCE THEN. HIS STORIES INSPIRED ME A LOT. I WAS SWEPT OFF MY FEET BY AFTER TWENTY YEARS, GIFT OF THE MAGI AND LAST LEAF THOSE WERE NOTHING BUT THE SLICES OF LIFE. THE O HENRY AWARD IS THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION. I BELIEVE HIS WIT IN THE TWISTS AND ENDINGS OF THE STORY DESERVES IT. SO, I DECIDED TO READ HIS STORIES BUT HE HAS INCREDIBLY WRITTEN MORE THAN ONE COULD IMAGINE OF ABOUT 600 STORIES. SO ...more
Theresa
May 23, 2009 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Jennifer Devlin
Dec 17, 2008 Jennifer Devlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
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...
Katrice
Oct 14, 2015 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
...more
Jessika
Dec 30, 2010 Jessika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Frank
Jul 24, 2011 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Wordwizard
May 24, 2011 Wordwizard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol
Nov 22, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Nancy
Oct 25, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
carissa
Sep 14, 2010 carissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kathleen
May 25, 2010 Kathleen rated it really liked it
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.
Shane
Feb 24, 2009 Shane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kathryn
Mar 11, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Manasi Shiledar
Oct 16, 2011 Manasi Shiledar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.!
Amy
Feb 27, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel
Feb 07, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Last Leaf," "The Gift of the Magi," "The Ransom of the Red Chief," and "A Retrieved Reformation" are his best short stories.
Miriam
Jun 24, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some really funny, sad, inspiring, and weird stories in here. I love O. Henry's style. He is great!
Batyrbek
Dec 18, 2015 Batyrbek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Eric
Mar 04, 2016 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeni Enjaian
I have to start this review with yet another iteration of the fact that short stories are just not my thing, especially short stories of this particular kind. These stories are short, sweat and quite readable. They all seem to have a fable like point although sometimes the twist happens so suddenly that the story finishes without the reader being able to catch on to the main point. Many of these same stories had a deus ex machina sensation to them. These are nice little stories but not my cup of ...more
Abhishek Gour
Dec 28, 2015 Abhishek Gour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dudley Danes
Jun 13, 2013 Dudley Danes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not one for reading 45 stories straight through, so I'll confess this one took me a while. But oh man, what a writer O. Henry was! Even the less-famous stories are a delight to read and contain a fresh wit that would bring them to the forefront of most short story collections.

I was impressed and inspired with each tale. Yes, there is something like a formula here which sometimes comes with a bit of predictability... But not too much and not too tedious. Lining up such a large selection from
...more
Ashley
Apr 06, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore o. henry. if you've ever wanted to read short stories, I would always point you in the direction of him first. The twists at the ending of his stories is what makes his work so wonderful
Summerfly
Jan 28, 2016 Summerfly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Gift of the Magi, The Last Leaf, After Twenty Years

These are just a few of O. Henry's works that might seem familiar. Don't read this all at once. Take your time and savor.
Melissa
This book was a gift from my husband two years ago. He hasn't been able to figure out why I can read other books in a day and yet it has taken me sooooooooo long to read O. Henry. I like O. Henry. I think he has some great stories, but honestly his writing style doesn't allow me to read and multi-task at the same time. He provides the reader with a lot of detail and information throughout the story that sometimes when you finally get to the end you've forgotten what happened in the beginning. I ...more
Aram
Apr 04, 2014 Aram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O'Henry has so many great short stories. But, of course, the one standing out in most people's memory, I guess, would be "The gift of the magi". Or am I wrong?)
Last Melancholic
Feb 07, 2016 Last Melancholic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ო'ჰენრის კითხვა მაშინაც კი სასიამოვნოა როცა პრეზენტაციას აკეთებ .
"ნამდვილი ამბავი" მომეწონა განსაკუთრებით.
მიუხედავად იმისა რომ ღამე მათენებინა და დამაბეჩავა .
ისევ შევხვდებით ალბათ ბიძია ო–ვ.
Caitria O'Neill
Jul 28, 2015 Caitria O'Neill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite short story author now. So tender, and pretty, and surprising. And all between 3 and 5 pages.
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O Henry's gift 4 19 Jul 11, 2013 09:03PM  
  • A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories: Christmas Festivities, The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton, A Christmas Tree, The Seven Poor Travellers, The Haunted Man, and Master Humphrey's Clock
  • Daisy Miller and Washington Square
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York
  • Pygmalion and Three Other Plays
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • American Passage: The History of Ellis Island
  • Common Sense and Other Writings
  • Silas Marner and Two Short Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
  • The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
  • Ninja
  • Northfield
  • The Best Early Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Back in the World
  • Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas
  • The Collected Oscar Wilde (Classics)
  • Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction
  • A Good Fall
8993
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
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“We can't buy one minute of time with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer.” 73 likes
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