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The Best Short Stories of O. Henry

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,533 ratings  ·  135 reviews
The more than 600 stories written by O. Henry provided an embarrassment of riches for the compilers of this volume.The final selection of the thirty-eight stories in this collection offers for the reader's delight those tales honored almost unanimously by anthologists and those that represent, in variety and balance, the best work of America's favorite storyteller.They are ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 16th 2000 by Modern Library (first published 1904)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,533 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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"Of course there are two sides to the question. Let us look at the other."
The writers of short stories, the bar has been set. And it's really high. I've known it since I was about eight or nine, when my mother (bless the heart of the amazing literature teacher I have the privilege to be descended from!) slipped me a nondescript brown-cover book opened to the page with the title 'The Gift of the Magi'.

I read the story, and then the rest of a hundred or so in that little brown book, and the impo
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Accused of embezzling money from a Texas bank, O Henry (1862-1910) bolted to SoAmerica in the late 1900s and only returned when his wife was dying of TB. There seems to be a murkiness about what actually happened, but I'm not keen enough to read a bio. OH's wife expired and he spent 3 years in prison. A gifted writer and a likeable chap, he had a venturesome life. The big question for me, still lacking an ending - twist or not - is, why did he bolt? Well, so much for that.

Like most GRs, I read O
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Prior to reading this collection, my only association with O. Henry was the famous 'Gift of the Magi' which has spawned innumerable replications, homages, references, and allusions. I was moved to explore the rest of his writing at the recommendation of a short story how-to book. It claimed O. Henry was an acknowledged master of the short story, creating interesting characters with a compelling hook, and then his trademark twist at the end.

Yes, there's a twist at the end of every story. Every sh
Mara Sundwall
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
And you thought O. Henry was just a witty name for a mediocre candy bar..."O" no!! This guy's another master of the English language, and I'm a sucker for a good short story. "Gift of the Magi" and "The Last Leaf" are unmatched. Its just a shame they couldn't have named a tasty Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor after him instead.
Onur B
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actually it was much better than my expectations. Stories were funny, fluent and quite ironic. As summary; a love service, medicine and robbery, Jim's watch and Della's hairs, voluntarily to have a feud!, voluntarily to had beat up!, If the love elixire given the wrong person, One police convict at the train, A loft, One meeting 20 years later at the same place, social triangle, farewell of robber, able to firend with burglar...
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sonlight, classics
Dearest Reader,
It is with the greatest pleasure I bring to your attention one of the most excellent writer of the nineteen and twentieth centuries, O. Henry. In his time, O. Henry wrote over six hundred short stories that continue to delight readers to this day. His work is entirely memorable, once you have read “The Ransom of Red Chief” or “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen”, you will never forget them. The writing is generally humorous, with a profound awareness of social ills.
Some may find t
Lahni Johnson
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I discovered this book one day long ago on my parents bookshelf. It's kind of a smaller book and had been stuck between a huge atlas of the universe and the wall. Once I liberated it I decided to take my dad's advice (If you're bored go read O. Henry) and now I have my own copy sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust and waiting to be discovered by someone new.
Едно малко бижу, което се чете на един дъх.
Любим О.Хенри.
Veselina Stefanova
Много приятни, леко тъжни, но много обнадеждаващи разкази. Три къси истории, които много ми напомнят "Щастливият принц" на Оскар Уайлд. Същата тъга, но и благородна любов, човешка топлина има в тях.
Чете се бързо и леко, а има над какво да се помисли по тях.
Първият разказ "Хиляда долара" ми е любим.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Some touching moments (see the Leaf story), some very unusual settings, and some poignant twists. At other times, however, the reader can see his trademark twist coming a mile away. Maybe he's a victim of his posterity. Like when you go to watch Spaceballs because it was so awesome when you saw it 20-something years ago, but the humor has been redone so many times since then the movie is innefective. It's not Mel Brooks's fault! Or maybe Spaceballs is just lame, and you were only 12 so the lamen ...more
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love O. Henry. I've a collection of his stories, but I'm not sure if it's actually this edition or not. At any rate, my favorite of his short stories is "The Pride of the Cities". It's probably available as an e-text SOMEwhere. Give it a perusal, the ending is too perfect for words. (There's a bit of a pun in that last comment)
O.Henry hikayelerinde genelde mizahi bir dil kullanıyor. İroni hakim tüm anlattıklarında. Yüreğindeki tüm trajedileri, şaşırtıcı sonlarıyla hikayeleştirmiş.
Benim, O.Henry deyince hep aklıma, en sevdiğim hikaye olan , Son Yaprak hikayesi geliyor.
Herkesin bildiği bir hikaye...
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I'm sure these had a time and place but in the present(jaded, cynical) world the stories had a saccharine overload. I eventually needed to bail and toss this in the trash. (I was never a big fan of the O. Henry candy bar, either.)
Zach Barnes
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Wonderful Bed-side reading with a message. Collection of some of his best work, the master of the short story
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I re-read some of these old favorites last year, and I have to agree with Helen that O. Henry is the master of the short story.
Gideon Arulmani
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The twists at the end of the tale are always breath taking.
Dilip Kainikkara
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
O Henry is the king of English short story genre. While his works tend to be formulaic, that is one damn golden formula. 'The Gift of Magi' and 'The Last Leaf' are arguably among the best short stories ever written in any language. And O Henry surprisingly manages to keep up a decent threshold of quality across his large collection of short stories. I still consider going back and reading a random picking out of them a very enjoyable pastime.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Нужни са 60 страници и 20 минути, за да усетиш истинската магия на Коледа.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
O’Henry’s short stories had become classic examples of American modernist literature. The book, The Best Short Stories of O’Henry, showcased 38 short stories by O’Henry. Every story there appeared didactic and good-humored, and the household morals came from often witty culminations. Classic settings from New York to Texas provided a mural of America. Themes such as love and greed pervaded the potpourri of American characters, yet each short story resulted in a fresh ramification based on the de ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
The collection of O. Henry's best short stories starts off with his most famous one , "The Gift of the Magi", which I have loved for many years. I really did not know what to expect from the rest of the collection, but for the most part they were similarly entertaining. I guess I really like more character and plot development than can be done in a short story so I often felt they were abruptly ended, but then I suppose that is the nature of the genre.

Set in the late 18th and early 19th century,
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it
O. Henry wasn't what I was expecting. Since the prestigious prize is named for him, I expected him to be the pinnacle of the genre of short stories. I know he's been a bit neglected by modern lit critics as light reading, but I wasn't prepared for how magazine-y these stories are. Not that they lack literary merit I guess... just that there are so many cheap, trick endings you begin to feel once you've read one, you've read them all. Also I don't think they've aged well... O. Henry loves to do d ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all

I had only previously The Gift of the Magi which I dearly love. From the High School library I checked out this book. It is 1600+ pages, and it took me a while to read it, but it was well worth the time. In our world it is hard to find books that are clean. This was one of those books. Many of the short stories are merely entertaining while others teach significant morals. If a person would buy this book, he/she could use it to teach his family principles of good living.
Summer Larson
I have long been familiar with "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Last Leaf" so I was excited to find more O'Henry gems in this book. Some of the stories were clever, and some were boring, a few were wise, but overall I was disappointed with this book. Usually when I like an author I wish they had written more, but I guess there is such a thing as being too prolific.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Tried my best to read this for book club but had a hard time and didn't finish it. O. Henry was a trailblazer in his day, and is considered the grandfather of the short story and the twist ending. Today, I think audiences are much more sophisticated and it's not hard to foresee the twist in most of his stories.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I gave this an extra star because it was given to me at the O Henry Hotel I stayed out and I thought that was pretty cool. The hotel also had the BEST bed I have ever slept in and the absolute BEST pillows ever.
Dec 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
My favorite airplane companion...not the book you bring to LOOK like you're reading something intelligent...but nice, compact stories with twists to leave you feeling satisfied, even if you're interrupted by the captain's comments a little too often.
Satish Jha
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to believe Saki and O Henry were contemporaries. Chekhov fine he was of different school. But the detailed often ruffian characters and clever plot of O Henry with the setting in a different land miraculously complement the fluid prose and more commonplace setting of Saki
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Had no idea about this author - took it from my mom's book shelf. The stories are short and really witty - who knew that he wrote the Gift of the Magi?!! And who knew it was only 5 pages long!!
Really good read

Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this stories over and over. Even though you know the ending, it's still cool the way they twist!
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
O. Henry's short stories are amazing. My favorites: The Last Leaf, The Gift of the Magi and The Cop and the Anthem. Great reading.
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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
“He studied cities as women study their reflections.” 15 likes
“It ain't the roads we take; it's what's inside of us that makes us turn out the way we do.” 5 likes
More quotes…