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A must-have for the fans of the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris, a collection of his favorite short fiction from Flannery O'Connor to Tobias Wolff.

Topics: United States of America, Anthology, Cancer, Provocative, Emotional, Heartbreaking, Family, and Death

Published: Simon & Schuster on Apr 4, 2005
ISBN: 9780743282543
List price: $13.99
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I used this book in a creative writing class. I've written in many notes on characterization and other writing elements, so the stories are a good study in examples and ideas. I've also found this book to be a good introduction to some classic authors (Jhumpa Lahiri, Jincy Willett, Joyce Carol Oates, etc.) before diving into their longer works.read more
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Some of the oddest short stories, ever!read more
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A friend gave me this, as we are both Sedaris fans. None of this is his work (save the introduction, which was on par with most of his better essays), but I decided to trust his judgment and try something new. As with most collections, the stories were of varying quality.Where the Door is Always Open and the Welcome Mat is Out by Patricia Highsmith, read by Cherry Jones: Mildred is rushing around frantically to prepare for her sister Edith’s visit. The reader was great, but the story itself was pretty boring. Maybe it was because I just wasn’t all that interested in the characters, or maybe because all the minutia felt excessively detailed.Bullet In the Brain by Tobias Wolff, read by Toby Wherry: A fascinating little vignette that stretches out an instant of time into a fully coherent narrative, and it ended at just the right spot too.Gryphon by Charles Baxter, read by David Sedaris: A new substitute teacher with crazy ideas. Sedaris did an excellent job, which is kind of surprising since he tends to narrate in a sort of monotone, but somehow he managed to get across everything with subtle changes in pitch and inflection. Probably my favorite of the batch.In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried by Amy Hempel, read by Mary-Louise Parker: I’ll be perfectly honest here: I had a whole lot of trouble following this one. Maybe I was just distracted, but I have absolutely no idea what it was about.Cosmopolitan written and read by Akhil Sharma: A somewhat strange tale about an older Indian man attempting to have an affair with his American neighbor. Sharma probably should not have read his own story, as his cadence tended toward the droning, but I still very much enjoyed the story, and the ending made me smile.In all, not a bad collection. These are the sorts of stories we’d read in creative writing classes, which gave me weird flashbacks from time to time, but it was a nice break from the string of novels I’d been listening to lately.read more
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I used this book in a creative writing class. I've written in many notes on characterization and other writing elements, so the stories are a good study in examples and ideas. I've also found this book to be a good introduction to some classic authors (Jhumpa Lahiri, Jincy Willett, Joyce Carol Oates, etc.) before diving into their longer works.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Some of the oddest short stories, ever!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A friend gave me this, as we are both Sedaris fans. None of this is his work (save the introduction, which was on par with most of his better essays), but I decided to trust his judgment and try something new. As with most collections, the stories were of varying quality.Where the Door is Always Open and the Welcome Mat is Out by Patricia Highsmith, read by Cherry Jones: Mildred is rushing around frantically to prepare for her sister Edith’s visit. The reader was great, but the story itself was pretty boring. Maybe it was because I just wasn’t all that interested in the characters, or maybe because all the minutia felt excessively detailed.Bullet In the Brain by Tobias Wolff, read by Toby Wherry: A fascinating little vignette that stretches out an instant of time into a fully coherent narrative, and it ended at just the right spot too.Gryphon by Charles Baxter, read by David Sedaris: A new substitute teacher with crazy ideas. Sedaris did an excellent job, which is kind of surprising since he tends to narrate in a sort of monotone, but somehow he managed to get across everything with subtle changes in pitch and inflection. Probably my favorite of the batch.In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried by Amy Hempel, read by Mary-Louise Parker: I’ll be perfectly honest here: I had a whole lot of trouble following this one. Maybe I was just distracted, but I have absolutely no idea what it was about.Cosmopolitan written and read by Akhil Sharma: A somewhat strange tale about an older Indian man attempting to have an affair with his American neighbor. Sharma probably should not have read his own story, as his cadence tended toward the droning, but I still very much enjoyed the story, and the ending made me smile.In all, not a bad collection. These are the sorts of stories we’d read in creative writing classes, which gave me weird flashbacks from time to time, but it was a nice break from the string of novels I’d been listening to lately.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Now it begins, the sorting and testing of words. Remember that words are not symbols of other words. There are words which, when tinkered with, become honest representatives of the cresting blood, the fine living net of nerves. Define rain. Or even joy. It can be done.So, short stories. I do like them, but have trouble reading several by one author as they end up feeling like Faberge eggs. You know, you see one and it's exquisite. And then you see the next one and, hey, it's quite nice too, but by the third or fourth, any elements of surprise are gone and after a half dozen I'm a little bored and looking forward to the cafe. An anthology of some sort is a different matter. Each author spins their perfect little tale and then is finished. I don't become jaded with a dozen instances in a row of subdued disappointment or witty dialogue, but get to be astonished all over again with the next story. This book is a collection of short stories gathered by David Sedaris. There is the expected Dorothy Parker (Song of the Shirt, 1941), but there's also Richard Yates (Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired), Joyce Carol Oates (The Girl with the Blackened Eye) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies). Sedaris favors stories with emotional resonance over clever wordplay, and the best two stories in the book were amazing; Revelation by Flannery O'Connor and Cosmopolitan by Akhil Sharma.I loved rediscovering how a short story can compress all the emotion and heft of a novel into a dozen or so pages. I think I may start reading from all those Collected Stories of I have sitting around, but one at a time, with a few months between each story so that I can be newly astonished with each one.
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for a book edited by David Sedaris, not overly funny. Having said that, I think I have found a few new authors to read.
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David Sedaris's introduction to this short story collection, which he edited, is a lovely ode to reading and taste, and the way a really good story can just flatten you. "I believed, and still do," he writes, "that stories can save you." The stories included here, he says, are the "Herculai"--the literary giants that make him feel like "a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow." Among my favorites here were "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired," "Gryphon," "People Like That Are the Only People Here," and "Cosmopolitan." And--on top of a great read--when you buy this book you get to feel like a do-gooder, too; all proceeds from the sale go to 826NYC.
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