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With a new Introduction by Professor Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D. This selection of a hundred of O. Henry’s succinct tales displays the range, humour and humanity of a perennially popular short-story writer. Here Henry gives a richly colourful and exuberantly entertaining panorama of social life, ranging from thieves to tycoons, from the streets of New York to the prairies of T With a new Introduction by Professor Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D. This selection of a hundred of O. Henry’s succinct tales displays the range, humour and humanity of a perennially popular short-story writer. Here Henry gives a richly colourful and exuberantly entertaining panorama of social life, ranging from thieves to tycoons, from the streets of New York to the prairies of Texas. These stories are famed for their ‘trick endings’ or ‘twists in the tail’: repeatedly the plot twirls adroitly, compounding ironies. Indeed, O. Henry’s cunning plots surpass those of the ingenious rogues he creates. His style is genial, lively and witty, displaying a virtuoso’s command of language and allusion. This great collection offers delights for the mind, imagination and emotions.


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With a new Introduction by Professor Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D. This selection of a hundred of O. Henry’s succinct tales displays the range, humour and humanity of a perennially popular short-story writer. Here Henry gives a richly colourful and exuberantly entertaining panorama of social life, ranging from thieves to tycoons, from the streets of New York to the prairies of T With a new Introduction by Professor Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D. This selection of a hundred of O. Henry’s succinct tales displays the range, humour and humanity of a perennially popular short-story writer. Here Henry gives a richly colourful and exuberantly entertaining panorama of social life, ranging from thieves to tycoons, from the streets of New York to the prairies of Texas. These stories are famed for their ‘trick endings’ or ‘twists in the tail’: repeatedly the plot twirls adroitly, compounding ironies. Indeed, O. Henry’s cunning plots surpass those of the ingenious rogues he creates. His style is genial, lively and witty, displaying a virtuoso’s command of language and allusion. This great collection offers delights for the mind, imagination and emotions.

30 review for 100 Selected Stories (Wordsworth Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    I'm thinking this book (at a whopping 735 pages) might be a good project for next year. But I have just read The Gift of the Magi for the Retro Reads Group. As soon as I started this short story, I remembered it. Many years ago I did a creative writing course. My tutor was a big Henry fan & read this story & The Ransom of the Red Chief to the class as examples of beautifully written humorous short stories. knowing the punchline didn't stop me falling in love with this short story & it's message o I'm thinking this book (at a whopping 735 pages) might be a good project for next year. But I have just read The Gift of the Magi for the Retro Reads Group. As soon as I started this short story, I remembered it. Many years ago I did a creative writing course. My tutor was a big Henry fan & read this story & The Ransom of the Red Chief to the class as examples of beautifully written humorous short stories. knowing the punchline didn't stop me falling in love with this short story & it's message of love & giving being more important than receiving. Heart warming & heart felt. 5★. Project Time January 2018 A Cosmopolite in a Cafe Well I learned a new word! This story is warm, witty & timeless. 4★ Between Rounds A funny & fond telling of a world Henry knew well. 4★ The Skylight Room This one touched my heart 4.5★ February 2018 A Service of Love Very similar to The Gift of the Magi& also very timeless! 5★ The Coming Out of Maggie Yes I know it is a product of it's time but I couldn't enjoy this one - mainly because of the casual racism. 1★ June 2018 The Coming Out of Maggie left such a bad taste in my mouth, that it has taken me a while to get back to this book. Anyway... The Cop and the Anthem The wit that Henry is known for! I laughed my socks off! 5★ Memoirs of a Yellow Dog I think I missed a few colloquialisms in this one, although I did smile a couple of times. Really twee! 2.5★ The Love-philtre of Ikey Shoenstein More of Henry's humour with a twist! 5★ Mammon & the Archer Sooo tongue-in-cheek & quirky. Loved it 5★ Springtime a la Carte Witty & rather sweet. Unlikely too, but Henry pulls it off 4.5★ From the Cabbie's Seat One of the quirky twist Henry's that I usually enjoy - but not this time. Something seemed a little off - pacing, attitude. Don't know. 2★ October 2019 I've had another long break from this book. The door stop size makes it hard to carry around. But I have just read three delightful stories from it. An Unfinished Story Just so sad. Such a drab life and an unpleasant future is foretold. 5★ Sisters of the Golden Circle I found this one funny and quirky - certainly would have felt differently if I was James! 5★ The Romance of a Busy Broker Yes, it does have a great twist, but I'm wondering if the stockbroker had (view spoiler)[ early onset Alzheimers (hide spoiler)] I'd be really worried for this pair's future! 4★

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vishal

    I always have time for a short story collection by a single author, especially when they showcase a broad spectrum of subject, characters and emotions. O Henry can certainly be considered a master of the form, and there’s even a short story prize named after him. Getting through 100 stories in just under 3 weeks is a feat I am quite proud of! OK it's testament to the time I have on my hands, but also how quickly O Henry’s storytelling moves the reader along, gripping you with expert building of I always have time for a short story collection by a single author, especially when they showcase a broad spectrum of subject, characters and emotions. O Henry can certainly be considered a master of the form, and there’s even a short story prize named after him. Getting through 100 stories in just under 3 weeks is a feat I am quite proud of! OK it's testament to the time I have on my hands, but also how quickly O Henry’s storytelling moves the reader along, gripping you with expert building of dramatic tension and a masterful dropping of relevant clues that keep you guessing, and make for glorious (or ironic, or vindicatory) twists at the end of the story. He covers an electric range of topics: from romance to deception to family feuds to bank robberies, war, romance and even the Wild West. His twists range from the satisfying to the darkly ironic to the poignant and heartwarming, or just laugh out loud (yes I’m one of those introverted nutters you see on the subway chuckling and beaming into a book) hilarious. His narrators can range from cowherds to cowmen, to freedom fighters and even dogs! Some stories like The Municipal Report are considered among the best American short stories ever written. I particularly enjoyed Roads of Destiny, which for its time must have been quite groundbreaking, developing a character’s fate for three different scenarios when he reaches a fork in the road and takes a different direction each time. The Social Triangle can be considered in the same vein, one for those Inarritu-type stories where parallel lives interconnect. My only gripe would be the archaic vocabulary used that had me grasping for my Merriam-Webster at every opportunity, and his outdated, blatantly racist views towards, well, anyone who isn’t white. The collection finishes on a chilling note, with the unfinished The Dream, a haunting and somber diversion from O Henry’s usually lighthearted fare, a story of a man on Death Row who dreams of a different fate, unsure if his reality lies in prison or in the warmth of domestic bliss with his wife and children. The manuscript was found incomplete on O Henry’s desk after his death, and unlike his other stories, we can only guess what expertly crafted twist this one was going to take.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

    I'd be lying if I claimed that I read every single story in this volume--that would take nearly a lifetime. But do I have a love for O. Henry! His stories are the perfect comfort food for a rainy day. Once you get beyond the 19th century trappings--he's got a wonderful cozy chair feel that's sort of like watching your favorite brainy sitcom. Sometimes he can be a bit mawkish, but even that's forgivable, because his scope is so delightful. O. Henry doesn't write for depth so much as breadth, he ha I'd be lying if I claimed that I read every single story in this volume--that would take nearly a lifetime. But do I have a love for O. Henry! His stories are the perfect comfort food for a rainy day. Once you get beyond the 19th century trappings--he's got a wonderful cozy chair feel that's sort of like watching your favorite brainy sitcom. Sometimes he can be a bit mawkish, but even that's forgivable, because his scope is so delightful. O. Henry doesn't write for depth so much as breadth, he has a knack for making the simplest actions funny and memorable--my favorite story has a couple who just got married playing with their Hansom Cab, pretending that she's a lady about town. It's just the sort of thing some lovely couple would do. Every scene is full of Norman Rockwell style Americana, and though he doesn't do any dark writing, he shows humanity just full of quirks and (mostly) benign trickery. Going on a plane trip? Going to a cabin? This book is perfect for both.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ananya Ghosh

    I love reading short stories and so I picked it up just when I laid my eyes on it. But lately, I have been a snail paced reader and this being a library issue, I had to return it unfinished. I only got to read a couple of the early stories and all of them were brilliant. I have loved O. Henry's short stories since I have read them in my school syllabi, and I loved it so much I'm planning on buying a copy and enjoying the stories at a slow and steady pace. I highly recommend this. I love reading short stories and so I picked it up just when I laid my eyes on it. But lately, I have been a snail paced reader and this being a library issue, I had to return it unfinished. I only got to read a couple of the early stories and all of them were brilliant. I have loved O. Henry's short stories since I have read them in my school syllabi, and I loved it so much I'm planning on buying a copy and enjoying the stories at a slow and steady pace. I highly recommend this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Ma

    I've heard most of the stories before...so it wasn't that good. I've heard most of the stories before...so it wasn't that good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    رِناد

    This book embodies the quote: “Literature is also a form of time travel that helps put today in context.” I read it for being a literature student at the first place, it wasn’t planned for but these pleasant stories had a considerable role of saving me during quarantine.. Thanks O.henry! I read almost half of this unique book and decided to save the other half till another time, because sometimes the good book is not easy to find.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Having reached page 350, I’ve had enough and am giving up. It isn’t that O. Henry is a bad writer, that the stories aren’t well crafted, or that I object to long books in principle. This collection is simply too lengthy. One hundred short stories absolutely bury the reader. It is very difficult to make it through a book of more than 700 pages with no continuity, only a series of fragments. I am not generally a fan of short stories anyway, with the huge exception of those by Borges. I was given t Having reached page 350, I’ve had enough and am giving up. It isn’t that O. Henry is a bad writer, that the stories aren’t well crafted, or that I object to long books in principle. This collection is simply too lengthy. One hundred short stories absolutely bury the reader. It is very difficult to make it through a book of more than 700 pages with no continuity, only a series of fragments. I am not generally a fan of short stories anyway, with the huge exception of those by Borges. I was given this book as a present, so felt I had to give it a good try. I have, and it has been quite rewarding, but persisting seems like it would be masochistic. O. Henry’s stories mostly take place in urban milieus, especially New York, around the time that the 19th century became the 20th. He has an eye for peculiar incidents and interactions, which illustrate how society adapted to unprecedented urbanisation and economic transformation. In particular, I noticed the stories often show how urban spaces provide new opportunities for women whilst also condemning and sometimes endangering them for taking advantage of such opportunities. The differences between experiences of poverty for men and women, as well as single and married women, are adroitly shown. In other words, there is a lot of depressing sexism, including some frankly unpalatable romance and one very unpleasant story that glorifies domestic violence. I wouldn’t say that I found O. Henry’s stories funny as such, although he had some excellent turns of phrase. His wordplay is quite distinctive: ‘Several of us met over spaghetti and Dutchess County chianti, and swallowed indignation with the slippery forkfuls.’ He also expanded my vocabulary with words like ‘eleemosynary' (charitable) and ‘cosmopolite’ (citizen of the world). As little postcards from a vanished past, the stories are for the most part charming and well-drawn. Their quality and tone remains remarkably consistent. They are so brief and so many, though, that the reader is left with little to cling to. If you’re collecting stories that are on average seven pages in length, I really think that thirty or forty would more than suffice for a book. I respect O. Henry’s productivity, though. Very impressive.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephan

    O. Henry’s short stories are filled with morals and human compassion. Destiny, karma law, and free will often intermingle with a twist or an element of surprise. Like Chekov many of the messages of O. Henry appeal to the love of humanity and call for social justice and equality. My favorite story was a heartbreaking story called ‘Roads of Destiny’ (If you are a poet then you must read it). Great collection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Miloš Petrik

    A classic, a must read for all short fiction fiends.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    O Henry why must you be so sesquipedalian?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Clever, light-hearted stuff that's easy to digest. Reading them now is less enjoyment and more of an appreciation I'd say. They've just lost their bite somewhat with age. I'm sure some of the more cheeky stories were a laugh riot back in the 1800s, for example. Now they're just mildly amusing on a good day. You can still respect the writing here though as I said. The stories all feel like they're written by a deft hand. It's an easy collection to kill some time with. It's my "lunch break book" c Clever, light-hearted stuff that's easy to digest. Reading them now is less enjoyment and more of an appreciation I'd say. They've just lost their bite somewhat with age. I'm sure some of the more cheeky stories were a laugh riot back in the 1800s, for example. Now they're just mildly amusing on a good day. You can still respect the writing here though as I said. The stories all feel like they're written by a deft hand. It's an easy collection to kill some time with. It's my "lunch break book" currently, and might stay that way. Aside from some of the old-timey dialect, it's easy to read one or two stories in a very short time. You can also find this book for about five bucks, and it's a thousand pages, so the value is better than almost any book out there if you want to give points for that sort of thing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Justin Bumgarner

    You can't read a bunch of these stories in one sitting, you have to read one, maybe two, and step away for a bit and come back. Which sucks because while the stories are all pretty short, 100 pretty short stories still add up to over 700 pages. The stories themselves are all pretty cheesy and the writing style didn't age very well. Doesn't mean some of the stories aren't good or even that I didn't like them, I'd say I liked about 25 or so if I had to guess, it just is what it is. Cheesy, dated t You can't read a bunch of these stories in one sitting, you have to read one, maybe two, and step away for a bit and come back. Which sucks because while the stories are all pretty short, 100 pretty short stories still add up to over 700 pages. The stories themselves are all pretty cheesy and the writing style didn't age very well. Doesn't mean some of the stories aren't good or even that I didn't like them, I'd say I liked about 25 or so if I had to guess, it just is what it is. Cheesy, dated things are ok some times. Anyways, this book will get donated and I'll probably never read another thing by O. Henry, mainly because I feel 100 stories is enough to hear from him.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kirthi

    The rating is more for the writing of O.Henry than for the book itself. Got through 12 short stories in this voluminous book. O.Henry has some of the brilliant short stories crafted with amazing humor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

    I've read enough of these to know that they are darn good. Well written and frequently with a surprise ending. I've read enough of these to know that they are darn good. Well written and frequently with a surprise ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ERIC

    Great collection of Ohenry stories in one nice paperback for 5 bucks - you can't beat it. Great quick stories all together - definitely a bedstand reader! Great collection of Ohenry stories in one nice paperback for 5 bucks - you can't beat it. Great quick stories all together - definitely a bedstand reader!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katerina

    a perfect collection of short stories of all kinds: romance, detective, and adventures. Loved it and cherished it as bed-time reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Srividya Kasim

    The book contains 100 beautiful short stories written by O Henry, who is famous for his pieces written ironically. This was one of the best short story collection books that I have read so far and wish there were more stories so I can experience each story. Every single story in this book has impacted me in some sort of way and left me with different emotions; love, curiosity, sadness and many more. The author has somehow created the characters to be perfect for the story like a poor couple tryi The book contains 100 beautiful short stories written by O Henry, who is famous for his pieces written ironically. This was one of the best short story collection books that I have read so far and wish there were more stories so I can experience each story. Every single story in this book has impacted me in some sort of way and left me with different emotions; love, curiosity, sadness and many more. The author has somehow created the characters to be perfect for the story like a poor couple trying to buy each other amazing gifts and sacrificing their most favourite possessions. in some twisted way, I wanted to be in the story and be one of those characters. If your reading this book and you love short stories, this is definitely the book for you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dhanvant

    O. Henry is hands down one of the best storytellers ever and I wanted to read him since the first time I read one of his masterpieces "The Last Leaf". This collection contains some of the best of O. Henry stories some good, some very and some simply great. It's like experiencing to live in so many different worlds and to feel emotions of so many different human beings. Although all the stories are good and enjoyable these are the stories that I love from this collection: The Gift of Magi The Skylig O. Henry is hands down one of the best storytellers ever and I wanted to read him since the first time I read one of his masterpieces "The Last Leaf". This collection contains some of the best of O. Henry stories some good, some very and some simply great. It's like experiencing to live in so many different worlds and to feel emotions of so many different human beings. Although all the stories are good and enjoyable these are the stories that I love from this collection: The Gift of Magi The Skylight Room A Service of Love The Cop and the Anthem The Furnished Room Telemachus, Friend Brickdust Row The Last Leaf The Man Higher Up A Tempered Wind The Day Resurgent The Poet and the Peasant A Ramble in Aphasia A Municipal Report The Third Ingredient The Head Hunter Jimmy Hayes and Muriel The Door of Unrest Transformation of Martin Burney A Double-dyed Deceiver A Retrieved Reformation Two Renegades While the Auto Waits One Thousand Dollars The Memento A Blackjack Bargainer The Marionettes This book has some of the most beautiful, some of the funniest and some of the most touching portrayals of life. It is completely worth reading. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tuong Cao

    On of the best books I read in 2013. Yes, it is old, it is classic, but the stories can entertain one at any time, at any place. In comparison, the book is like a gigantic panoramic masterpiece with lives interwoven, creating the light and dark sides of American society in 1800s. Comical, sad, hysterically funny, moving, charismatic, and often sarcastic, O.Henry's use of words is of the master. I literally lived through all of my emotions while reading this book. Best of all, if you are a busy p On of the best books I read in 2013. Yes, it is old, it is classic, but the stories can entertain one at any time, at any place. In comparison, the book is like a gigantic panoramic masterpiece with lives interwoven, creating the light and dark sides of American society in 1800s. Comical, sad, hysterically funny, moving, charismatic, and often sarcastic, O.Henry's use of words is of the master. I literally lived through all of my emotions while reading this book. Best of all, if you are a busy person who struggle to keep up with a long-running storyline, you can enjoy this book bit by bit and it is still amazing. Highly recommend.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maria Zapanta

    'But Fergus was no talker. He was brought up with the idea that to be beautiful was to make good. His conversation was about as edifying as listening to a leak dropping in a tin dish-pan at the head of the bed when you want to go to sleep; and I'm sure that whenever I heard the feeble output of throat noises that he called conversation I felt contented to be a gargoyle with a silver tongue.' ~O. Henry, Next to Reading Matter 'But Fergus was no talker. He was brought up with the idea that to be beautiful was to make good. His conversation was about as edifying as listening to a leak dropping in a tin dish-pan at the head of the bed when you want to go to sleep; and I'm sure that whenever I heard the feeble output of throat noises that he called conversation I felt contented to be a gargoyle with a silver tongue.' ~O. Henry, Next to Reading Matter

  21. 5 out of 5

    Connie Snow

    It took me a very long time to slog through this book. But it was definitely worth it. I compare it to the experience of shopping in a second hand store. Everything is pretty ancient. It takes a long time to sift through all of the dust. Some of it is just quaint and irrelevant but mixed in with it all are some priceless gems definitely worth taking home. I'm glad that I wasn't required to read this in school. It makes it a new discovery for me. It took me a very long time to slog through this book. But it was definitely worth it. I compare it to the experience of shopping in a second hand store. Everything is pretty ancient. It takes a long time to sift through all of the dust. Some of it is just quaint and irrelevant but mixed in with it all are some priceless gems definitely worth taking home. I'm glad that I wasn't required to read this in school. It makes it a new discovery for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kartick Suriamoorthy

    A classic collection of O.Henry's short stories with a twist. Keeps me occupied while I am on the Munich underground and suburban trains. I love O. Henry's style of writing and the fact that he also spent time in Austin, Texas (my home for 12 years) and also the fact that he coined the term "banana republic"!! A classic collection of O.Henry's short stories with a twist. Keeps me occupied while I am on the Munich underground and suburban trains. I love O. Henry's style of writing and the fact that he also spent time in Austin, Texas (my home for 12 years) and also the fact that he coined the term "banana republic"!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Safa Alamoudi

    randomly,i selected some of the short stories to read from this book...They are amaaaaaaaaaaaazing.......most of o henry's stories are marked by a surprising ending, and you can feel the good sense of humour the author has.....simply, this book is amust-have for all who became absorbed in literature....... randomly,i selected some of the short stories to read from this book...They are amaaaaaaaaaaaazing.......most of o henry's stories are marked by a surprising ending, and you can feel the good sense of humour the author has.....simply, this book is amust-have for all who became absorbed in literature.......

  24. 4 out of 5

    Himesh

    Just flicked through a few stories and started feeling the taste of the revered author. Although a slow read, it just leaves you scratching your head at the end of every story. He doesn't confine himself to one niche, He can write about just any aspect of life and the ends of stories are marked by suspense. He takes sarcasm to a new level and the faint tanginess of comedy keeps you delighted. Just flicked through a few stories and started feeling the taste of the revered author. Although a slow read, it just leaves you scratching your head at the end of every story. He doesn't confine himself to one niche, He can write about just any aspect of life and the ends of stories are marked by suspense. He takes sarcasm to a new level and the faint tanginess of comedy keeps you delighted.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vaibhav

    Pretty good collection of short stories with a witty ending to nearly every story, although a lot of them rely heavily on things chiefly associated with American history and culture, it can be a little hard to understand those parts for the unfamiliar reader.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tushar

    Some of the stories are really really illuminating and intriguing. The stories kind of cast a spell that makes you think awhile after you've finished reading them. You will either end up agreeing or disagreeing with the end but you will certainly spend sometime thinking. Some of the stories are really really illuminating and intriguing. The stories kind of cast a spell that makes you think awhile after you've finished reading them. You will either end up agreeing or disagreeing with the end but you will certainly spend sometime thinking.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nia F. S. Kartadilaga

    100 Selected Stories of O. Henry is full of variety of social life happened in our daily life. O. Henry is well known as an author whose works are detail for its twist and plot. I found his works are simple yet meaningful and somehow funny; incredibly-exceptional experiences!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Imagedirector

    wonderful fantastic stories.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shefali

    You canread any of these stories and be assured that he is the best short story writer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    ...witty...never figured out how he manages to come up which such surprising endings?

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