I love short stories. They are single-serving literature. Staying up all night with a fantastic book you can't put down has its place, but the demands of scheduling often command sleep, and thus a fantastic short story before bed can function as the best possible choice of reading material. No wondering what happened, no drive to press on; just closure and sweet dreams.
Joyce always tops the literature best-of lists, but after my unsuccessful run at Tristam Shandy, I thought something more approachable than Ulysses was in order. Thus Dubliners, which had the additional advantage of being on Geoffrey's bookshelf.
The stories are told in short, savage arcs, and the attention to language is clear. Many short stories are mere vehicles for a clever idea, but these are more like character studies. However, they avoid the tedium of some other character-focused writing I have encountered. Do read Dubliners.