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.

Relat­ed Con­tent

George Saun­ders Extols the Virtues of Kind­ness in 2013 Speech to Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty Grads

Neil Gaiman’s Free Short Sto­ries

Free Philip K. Dick: Down­load 11 Great Sci­ence Fic­tion Sto­ries

30 Free Essays & Sto­ries by David Fos­ter Wal­lace on the Web

375 Free eBooks: Down­load to Kin­dle, iPad/iPhone & Nook

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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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