Actually, I don't read many short stories as a rule. I've read my share, but don't actively seek them out. I just prefer the novel. By the way, good short stories are not as easy to write as most people think. When you consider that the short story writer has to establish and strengthen his/her main character, announce setting, plot lines, instill suspense(maybe), adhere to theme, present rising action, give a satisfactory climax and resolution, all within 20 pages say, is quite a feat. Novelists take 300 pages to do that. Many writers will not even attempt to write a short story.
Short Stories are excellent to read before you turn in for the night. Oh, by the way, I'm surprised how many people don't read before they go to sleep. Reading before you hit the sack is quite beneficial. It focuses your attention away from the stresses of the day; calms you down; puts you in a mellow mood; lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, blood/sugar thing, and prevents cancer--- Clinically Proven!(Ah, I'm just messing with you, I don't know this). It does help you sleep, though, I'm sure.
Children should definitely be read to before they go to bed, and should be kept up until they are much older. Oh, also, if your partner is a good reader, get them to read to you---that's a treat! I'm not that good at reading out loud, nope. I can read like the dickens to myself, but I tend to stumble a lot, mispronounce, cough, chuckle, mumble, and so on, when I read aloud. Not good. My wife, on the other hand, reads perfectly out loud. She has an even, soothing, distinct, error-free, reading voice. Quite nice. What you do is lie comfortably in bed, close your eyes, and watch your mind come alive with images while your partner beautifully reads a short story. Cool! It's a treat. Try it.
Oh! And sex! This is for adults now; Children, do NOT try this at home! Get your partner to read sexually explicit passages from,let's say, Anais Nin; Henry Miller, or Anonymous---Anonymous, that most prolific, truthful, trustworthy, underrated author. Of course, a sultry, sexy voice can read the instructions for changing gears in a car manual and be effective.
But I digress.
Short Stories, yes, well, I would probably say that Chekhov is the overall master of this literary form. Guy de Maupassant(French), beautiful stories. Joseph Conrad, HEART OF DARKNESS, and my all time favorite, YOUTH. YOUTH is an amazing sea voyage to the far East(It's that old sea theme again). Not many can write like Conrad. A CLEAN WELL-LIGHTED PLACE by Hemingway has got to be the absolute perfect short story. Ambrose Bierce: His short stories usually have a twist around the end, quite entertaining, quite powerful. Bierce was a journalist,I think; he disappeared in Mexico when he was older. Just disappeared. To this day no one knows what became of him. It's one of those literary mysteries. (I'm digressing, again)
Short story readers are going to get mad at me for not mentioning other masters of this genre. Ah... Poe, of course. Anything by E.A.Poe. It was Poe who elevated the short narrative to the short story as a viable literary form. The modern---as in recent---master of the short story is indisputably our own Alice Munro. She is a wonder. Her stories carry so much depth and emotion, no writer comes near her. Take Alice to bed and read her.
Next: Not quite sure yet.