It only takes ten minutes to escape.
If a novel is a marriage, then a short story is a love affair. So said Lorrie Moore, one of the undisputed masters of the form. There's an inherent intensity to really good short fiction, an every-word-matters fervor urging readers to a revelatory finish. Below are thirteen of our favorite short stories, from irrefutable classics by Jamaica Kincaid and Flannery O'Connor to newer additions to the pantheon—spanning crime, magical realism, and snackable tales you can devour on the beach. An added bonus? You can read these all online for free.