10 Free Stories by George Saunders, Author of Tenth of December, “The Best Book You’ll Read This Year”

For writers and serious readers, George Saunders is anything but a newcomer. Saunders published his first short story with The New Yorker back in 1992, and his new stories have regularly debuted in the magazine’s Fiction section ever since. Over the years, he has gained the reputation of being a “writer’s writer,” with authors like Tobias Wolff saying about Saunders: “He’s been one of the luminous spots of our literature for the past 20 years.” But despite his literary accomplishments, and despite winning the prestigious MacArthur award in 2006, George Saunders never quite became a household name until January 6 of this year. On that day, The New York Times published an article with the title, “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year,” a pretty bold declaration given that 2013 still had 359 days to go. Since then, Saunders has found himself in the limelight talking about Tenth of December, his newly-published collection of short stories. You can watch him give a reading at Google above, or make appearances on the PBS News Hour and The Colbert Report.

If you’re not familiar with Saunders’ writing, then we have you covered. Below we’ve collected 10 stories by the author, all free to read online. Even better, the list features three stories from Tenth of Decemberincluding the story after which the book takes its name. All stories from the new collection have an asterisk next to the title.

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Comments (12)
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  • This is a great opportunity to read ten stories by one of the best writers in the country. When I first read “Tenth of December,” I had to finish through tears. It’s that good.

    I’ve since developed a writing exercise based on the story. You can check it out here: readtowritestories.com.

  • Adam says:

    Also here is “CommComm” which apparently won the 2006 World Fantasy Award.


  • VirgaDweller says:

    After reading a number of Saunders’ stories in The New Yorker I put him at number one in my best current authors’ list. I feel like I discovered him. I was so pleased to read online yesterday the terrific and deserved praise of him in the New York Times Book Review. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The enthusiastic writer of the article, (sorry, I can’t get off of this comment box to check his name) appreciates Saunders for the same reasons as I. Re this video, a delight to hear and watch him reading this excellent story.Thank you so much for this website, which i just came across this afternoon. Eager to explore more. I’ve never been much of a fan of SciFi, altho appreciate some quality speculative fiction, I hereby crown Saunders as king of the genre.

  • Gary Knesevitch says:

    Am I a total idiot? I just don’t get Saunders’ appeal. Will someone please enlighten me?

  • Diego Lopes says:

    I read Tenth of December this year, and I can say that it was, undoubtedly, the worst book I read in 2015. I feel he’s a prankster, not a writer.

  • Tom barrett says:

    The perspectives, detail and ease at which we read his narrative is unlike anything you’ll ever experience with another writer. Brilliance beyond the best writers before him. Saunders is our readers’ treasure.

  • Francisco says:

    Escape from Spiderhead – New Yorker, December 2010:

  • Shannon Ayres says:

    Listened to “Tenth of December” on Audible. Not good! I don’t get his appeal either. I don’t know what he’s talking about most of the time. And the stories run into each other (on audible), so I can’t tell when one story ends and the next begins.

  • Mo Bock says:

    Hi Shannon
    Saunders is very hard to follow on audio, it’s not a Saunders-friendly medium. Before you give up on him, read the hard copy. It’s actually quite startling how bad some books you loved reading sound on audio. Obviously I’m a fan of his, but I urge you to try this, he’s worth the effort [if you like the result]!

  • Bridie says:

    He inspired me to get into short fiction after I’ve said for years it was not my thing, so I’m totally in love with his writing. It makes me happy. But anyone who feel like they don’t “get him”; he’s probably just not a writer for you. The connections are not there between every reader with every writer. No need to bang your head against a wall because of that. We all have different tastes. It would be a very boring world if we didn’t.

  • Charles Chalmers says:

    False Dichotomy

    Also, you’d have to tell us what the Best Books you read were to give us a point of comparison. Of course then, you would be opening yourself, and your tastes to scrutiny…

  • Tike Pyae Aung says:

    It’s a great pleasure to have a greeting to you. I’m a student mastering in English. I’d like to do a research dealing with one short story of George Saunders named “Home”. If you want to give me a favour, I’d like to get the pdf version of this story. If you read my words sympathetically, I’m much appreciated to you.

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