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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Master of irony, March 23, 2011
By 
Gary Sprandel (Frankfort, Kentucky) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
This presents 16 of O. Henry's hundreds of stories from 1903-1910. The lynchpin of this collection is the 1906 The Gift of the Magi, where a couple realizes what the most valuable gifts are. The story (Like the Three Magi of the bible) centers on three valuables: Jim's gold watch, Della's hair, and the love Jim and Della share. O. Henry's stories are remarkable I that they are both set clearly set in the early 1900's and cities but seem timeless. Perhaps no story represents more than "The Last Leaf", when Pneumonia might take a child's life, but the resolution is timeless. One of the most fun stories us the 1910 The Ransom of Red Chief, about the kidnap of a little hellion. The "Retrieved Reformation", is perhaps the story with the happiest ending, about a reformed bank robber. If I were to teach a class on Irony, it would include this collection, some Kierkegaard, and perhaps some game theory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the stories, terrific. For the footnotes, awful., April 7, 2010
This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
This edition contains a subset of O. Henry's massive collection of short stories, organized loosely around genres and settings (New York City, the untamed West, grifters and con men, etc.) The stories offer delight on a few levels: O Henry can just flat-out tell a story, and even if you anticipate the ending, he can often fool you; his work is set in a time long since past, so the historical elements give the reader a glimpse into society and environs of his era; his stories are short, so you've not invested a large amount of time here, and you can grab a few good stories while the kids play for awhile (in my case).

Where this book falls down is the footnotes and editorial comments in the back. I am not a fan of appendices and back matter content; I despise flipping through a book and would rather read marginalia or footnotes. However, the footnoting is usually condescendingly simple. If you're even somewhat college-educated, you'll be insulted by what the compilation editor feels the average reader would not know. In some cases, what might have been assisted by a footnote goes largely unexplained.

To add some semblance of value to a compilation, either treat the reader to insights they would not ordinarily have -- explaining the origin of some turn-of-the-century songs is a good example of this -- or put together a nice "Related Reading" list to explore the continuum. Instead, the compilation editor feels that I might not know who Sisyphus is, or what persona non grata means. Ineffectual help that smacks of condescension or ignorance.

So, four stars for the story content. Minus a star for the non-help.

--#
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 5, 2014
This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
Good book. Used but in good condition as advertised.

JCW
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reintroduction to an old favorite, March 16, 2014
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This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
I have always loved O Henry and purchased this for myself. My husband, who is a big reader, was not familiar with O Henry and basically took the book from me. When our son came to visit, my husband, who had finished reading the book, gave my copy to our son who also loved the book. The book was written in the same period when my son's house was built and he especially enjoyed getting in the head of people who lived around the turn of the 19th century.

So I purchased another copy for myself and hid it away.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BIG print, January 18, 2014
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This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
Hard and expensive to find big print books - for a patient with bad eyesight. Now she can read and these stories, for me,
are the old fashioned romance of love found, love lost, selflessness and humor. Love O Henry - now I can share him with
my older patients.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading O. Henry, December 17, 2013
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This review is from: Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) (Paperback)
Enjoyed my large print copy of O Henry, I love his stories and the great endings....Bought copies for my friends
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Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics)
Best Short Stories (Dover Large Print Classics) by O. Henry (Paperback - October 9, 2002)
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