While we take a break over the holidays, Library of America presents—in case you missed any of them—our ten most-read Story of the Week selections from the past year (based on traffic in the two weeks after each story was posted).
1. Floyd Gibbons, “Wounded—How It Feels to Be Shot”
During the Battle of Belleau Wood an American journalist was struck by machine-gun fire while attempting to crawl to the rescue of a wounded officer on the battlefield.
2. Elmore Leonard, “Three-Ten to Yuma”
A deputy marshal transporting a convict arrives in an Arizona town a few hours before the departure of the train to the Yuma prison—when the rest of the outlaw’s gang shows up.
3. Sherwood Anderson, “Loneliness”
A fledgling artist leaves the town of Winesburg for New York City but struggles to make ends meet in an apartment “long and narrow like a hallway.”
4. Charles W. Chesnutt, “White Weeds”
Hours before his wedding, a college professor receives an anonymous letter claiming to reveal a scandalous secret about the bride.
5. Kate Chopin, “Her Letters”
A woman hesitates to destroy a batch of old love letters she has hidden away from her husband.
6. F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Benediction”
Lois, on her way to a dalliance with her lover, visits her brother at the Jesuit seminary where he is a novice.
7. Wendell Berry, “A Half-Pint of Old Darling”
In 1920, the year alcohol was banned and women finally acquired the right to vote, Tol and Minnie Proudfoot travel to the county seat—where Tol purchases a bottle of whiskey.
8. Thornton Wilder, “The Angel That Troubled the Waters”
In one of Thornton Wilder’s “three-minute plays,” a physician visits a healing pool and seeks a cure for his melancholy.
9. Alice Eleanor Jones, “Created He Them”
In a future dystopian civilization, a mother endures an abusive husband, food shortages, electricity outages, and distressing social burdens.
10. Cynthia Townsend, “They All Fired at Her”
A former slave describes the horrifying acts she witnessed during the Memphis Massacre of 1866.