Bulldog by Arthur Miller
I first read this in The New Yorker. You can read it at the link above for free courtesy of NPR. Arthur Miller is best known as a playwright who wrote The Crucible and a minor celebrity author who married Marilyn Monroe. In Bulldog, he explores the tenderness a boy can feel for a puppy contrasted with boy's own loss of innocence.
Paper Lantern by Stuart Dybek
This story was published in The New Yorker in 1995. The link will take you to a page view of the original publication. It was also anthologized in Best American Short Stories of 1995. It's the sexy tale of a love affair between two people and our human fascination with heat seeking.
Powder by Tobias Wolff
Tobias Wolff read this piece from his collection The Night in Question at a reading at University of California, Santa Barbara probably around the year 2000. It is a sweet, sad story about a boy who finally recognizes some of his father's limitations despite the charms he has long admired.
In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel
This story is part of a compilation called Reasons to Live. It's a short, painful, beautiful story about a young woman who visits her friend in the hospital and realizes that her friend is going to die very soon. It's almost impossible not to cry at the end, but it's worth it.
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Here I'm referring to the story, but if you choose to read the entire collection of stories set in Vietnam, I don't think you will be disappointed. This is one of my favorite short story collections.
Did one of these stories touch you? Is there one you would add? Let me know.
Also, I'm still working on my Dickens post. It's taking longer than anticipated, but it will be up soon.