Short stories don't get the credit they deserve. Some of the best, most memorable, writing I've read is in that format. Mark Twain's take the cake. Poe is right behind. William Faulkner, outstanding. A surprise for me was Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Those guys turned out some of the funniest, most frightening and deepest stories I've ever read.
What I also like about them is you can grab a book of their collected works and knock one out in a few minutes. Don't have time to settle in for an hour or two of reading, but want to feel like you accomplished something, grab a short story.
I seldom read two in a row, especially if the one was good. I feel like they should stand on their own and if you read two in one sitting it seems like they meld together a bit. Read one good one and marinade on it.
Lawrence Block's collection I just finished featured twenty-one short stories. Some better than others, as obviously you're always going to have your favorites. But there were a couple where I went to work the next day and regaled the staff with the plots. I don't know if I actually regaled them. I might have bored them with my telling of the story, but I regaled myself by reliving them.
"Cleveland in My Dreams" was like a long joke with a zinger of a finish. I'll be telling that one to captive audiences the rest of my life.
"The Tulsa Experience" was one where Block just drops the hammer at the end with a twist that makes you wonder "Did he really just write that?"
"Some Days You Get the Bear" was just so darn weird that it made me respect the writer's twisted mind so much I wanted to be like him but would be worried if I were.
In his introduction, Block says: "Short stories should speak for themselves. Writers, on the other hand, probably shouldn't." He goes on to talk about his stories anyway.
Block is a master and a delight and one of my favorite writers. I have some issues with him personally that I have written about in the past. But I'm guessing Edgar A. Poe wasn't always the most delightful person at times either. Actually, iy seems like a running theme with most of the greats. Watch Ken Burns' documentary on Ernest Hemingway for a prime example.
Writers. Go figure.