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The Virginity of Famous Men

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  72 reviews
This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love?

The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have tak
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA
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Elyse  Walters
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
From the start....
The book cover is alluring. The title captivating.

I like short stories. And I like *THESE* short stories -- A LOT!!!!!
I've fallen in love with Christine Sneed....( a new author to me) the same way I did - and still 'do' love the following 'authors' of Short Stories:
Tom Bash, David James Poissant, Etgar Keret, Robin Black, Peter Tieryas Liu,
Susan Perabo, Lori Oslund, Lauren Acampora.....etc.

I will GLADLY read anything CHRISTINE SNEED writes!!!

These stories are some of
Larry H
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Like you wouldn't be intrigued by a book with this title?

While at times, fiction can take us to worlds, places, times, and/or cultures we can only imagine, at other times, fiction can be equally as effective chronicling the ordinary, everyday activities and foibles we confront in our lives and relationships. Perhaps not all of the situations described in the stories in Christine Sneed's new collection, The Virginity of Famous Men , happen to people every day, but I'd imagine many happen rathe
Diane S ☔
Jul 03, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Choices, infidelity, a ghost, a disrespectful son are just some of the topics observed in this collection. First Wife reminded me loosely of the Pitt, Aniston and Jolie pairings. Can't say I had a favorite nor were there any that I disliked. They were well written but the stories never really touched me, never penetrated beneath the surface. So good, a worthy collection but this year I have read better and maybe that is my problem, too many comparisons.

ARC from Netgalley.
Lots of interesting concepts in this short story collection yet it lacked the emotional depth I desired. So much of this content captures my attention, ranging from the intriguing title The Virginity of Famous Men to the stories about a couple that holds a celebration of their coupledom and not their marriage, a woman who submits a tell-all CV with lots of her naked life story, a man who almost has an affair with his brother’s wife, and more. I appreciated the theme of how married people and “ad ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-own-book
I wrote these stories over a period of about 7 years, and they range from comic to serious in theme and tone. In "The Functionary," the male point-of-view character works for a senator who is involved in whitewashing the murders of dozens of women in a neighboring country.

"The New, All-True CV" is written in the form of an annotated resume, with possibly a little too much truth-telling about the main character's employment history and personal life.

"Five Rooms" focuses on a teenaged girl who h
David Abrams
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christine Sneed's first short story collection was called Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry. After reading the stories in her new book you can add me to that gallery of the tear-streaked. Not that The Virginity of Famous Men is necessarily sad--because it also blooms with joy in places--but it contains some of the emotionally-rich writing I've read in quite some time. Whether it's a mother walking a taut tightrope with her brooding teenage son, a woman trying to break up with her gh ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"There are people I have loved without them knowing it. So many more people than seems sane or worthwhile. What do you do with so much heartfelt but unessential affection, I wonder. Because I doubt there is a remedy." ...more
Lori Ostlund
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christine Sneed's stories never disappoint. I loved the range she showed here and her sly humor, which was fully in play. ...more
Renee Rosen
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was a fabulous read. With each story in this touching, quirky, inventive collection, I grew more and more enamored of Christine Sneed's talent. Highly recommended! ...more
Brian Rothbart
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Don’t let the title fool you, The Virginity of Famous Men, it isn’t about what you think. Christine Sneed is a fantastic story teller, who packs a punch in this collection of short stories. These stories are all about relationships. Although a lot might not seem to be happening there is a lot of stuff going on under the surface. I really enjoyed this collection. Most collection have a couple good stories, a few okay ones and a few duds. There really isn’t a bad story among this bunch. Most of th ...more
Mar 31, 2016 added it
Really lovely story collection! A few of the pieces take off from where Little Known Facts left off, but overall the collection is varied and full of new voices: my favorite piece is Five Rooms, about an adolescent girl who learns to care about something outside of herself, with a complete irreverent and snarky voice that we find is redeemed in the end. I loved it!
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The speed of life is what kills most of us, one way or another."

( visit my blog

This is a wonderful collection of stories. While the saddest is "Five Rooms" and maybe the most meaningful, I absolutely delighted in "Roger Webster Would Like To Stay". Is he a 'product of a dream' or a real ghost? We all have different phantoms. In this case, it is a quirky story (my favorite kind)...
The characters in this collection are wonderfully realistic. I absolutely fe
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I liked this collection a lot, but was not fully in awe of the collection because it was hard to find a link that united them all. Perhaps what I appreciated most is that these stories seem real--there's nothing too fanciful about them. When a story is about a woman once married to a famous actor or when a teenage girl rives a blind man hours to beg his girlfriend not to break up with him or when a ghost is trying to get between a
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: short story writers
Christine Sneed is one of America's finest writers, a master of both the novel and the short story form. This is a smart, funny, surprising, sometimes dark, and always honest collection. I studied these stories, seeking to discover how she illuminates the human condition with such seeming poise. Highly recommended. Now I'm off to read everything she's written. ...more
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a surprise to discover that the title story of this short story collection is a continuation of Little Known Facts, the first book I read by Christine Sneed. I was thrilled to see how the characters of that book were doing and get some sort of closure. But even without that gift, I would call the s a great collection of stories with peeks into the lives of various people. It's like that meme that pops up in social media feeds now and again: you never know other people's stories, so be kind. ...more
Maggie Mitchell
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
ach story in The Virginity of Famous Men introduces us to a complex and often unsettling psychological landscape; Sneed's trademark is her willingness to look unsparingly into the hearts of women and men and expose the conflicted longings she finds there, ad she does it brilliantly in this collection. These characters aren't all admirable, but they are startlingly, recognizably human, whether they are floundering in unsatisfactory relationships, consorting with ghosts, or navigating a disturbing ...more
Rachel León
(3.5 stars) I enjoyed Sneed's short stories. There are a few I loved quite a bit, others I felt less enthusiastic about. Overall though I thought this was a good collection. ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I buy too many books. Thanks, largely, to a combination of the need to collect and a love of a bargain, I hit daily/monthly Kindle/Google Books deals with reckless fervor. This results in a lot of blind buys--author unknown, title unfamiliar--that draws my eyes for any number of reasons. In the case of The Virginity of Famous Men, it was the title--oh, what a title!--and the colorful cover. A quick glance at the Goodreads rating was enough for me to plunk down the $2, as it convinces me to spend ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A pretty good collection overall. I found the stories engaging, right from the start of each one. But sometimes the ending was not satisfying. It's interesting to get the slice of life presented in a well written fashion with characters that are well developed, but I guess I like it to ultimately make some point. ...more
Joseph Pfeffer
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Christine Sneed's fourth book is a collection of thirteen stories that illuminate the choices we make in life, how we go about making them, and the consequences they have. Including the consequences of making no choice at all. Sneed has steadily matured since Portraits of Some of the People I've Made Cry, and The Virginity of Famous Men is a leap of several notches from her novel Paris, He Said. She manages to give us snapshots of her protagonists' lives, not by trying to encapsulate the arc of ...more
Mary Hawley
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This riveting short story collection by Christine Sneed is populated with unique, well-drawn characters facing comic, tragic, or tragicomic situations, each story a world unto itself. Sneed explores wide-ranging themes including celebrity, infidelity, and the infidelities of celebrities; marriage, parenthood, and other questionable commitments; an experimental, hilarious approach to job applications; the shadow politics of a secretive government agency and the shadowy presence of a ghost with a ...more
Anthony Pignataro
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful collection of stories. Some are funny ("The New All True CV," "Roger Weber Would Like To Stay"), some are not ("The First Wife," "Beach Vacation"). "Older Sister" is an especially strong story that I won't soon forget. But all the stories here are filled with heart and humanity, which is pretty much true of anything Christine Sneed writes. ...more
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's rare that I plow through a book of short stories in a way that I do a novel, but this book was the exception. I owe it to the author, Christine Sneed, a master craftswoman, who can make the conflicts of otherwise ordinary characters a matter of urgency. I was amused by how each story sparked my empathy as well as my disdain, and sometimes, my disgust. The blind senior citizen who wanted to win back his girlfriend, the college girl who couldn't remember her sexual adventures, the needy mothe ...more
Rocco Versaci
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One pitfall I sometimes see in short story collections is a “sameness” in the stories that makes them indistinguishable in memory; happily—and impressively—this is not a problem in "The Virginity of Famous Men." Each of Sneed’s stories invites us into the uniquely troubled lives of her characters, and the collection as a whole demonstrates a wide range of narrative voices. This collection frequently had me laughing out loud, so sharp are Sneed’s powers of observation and ability to capture the d ...more
Randy Richardson
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read all of Christine Sneed's published works, starting with her first collection of short stories, "Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry," and continuing with her two novels, "Little Known Facts" and "Paris, He Said." A tremendously gifted storyteller, Christine is constantly exploring the complexities of the human condition in ways that make you both laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Her latest, "The Virginity of Famous Men," is perhaps her best yet. It is her second coll ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was completely absorbed by each story. The characters were so genuine, and seemed so honest in their thoughts and feelings as they came to grips with their choices and their relationships with one another. Even though the stories occasionally got dark, some were also funny and uplifting, so there was a nice balance. Sneed is a very gifted in the short story genre. These stories made me look at the situations presented in a completely different way ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christine Sneed's latest publication is her best so far. She is at her best when she explores situations and emotions that we all know in some way: loneliness, love, living with our choices. More than this, her compassion for her characters allows us to inhabit their lives, however briefly, and leave with a better understanding of our own. Story by story I found myself thinking of friends, colleagues and relatives to whom I simply must recommend this book. I am eagerly looking forward to Sneed's ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop, short-stories
Some brilliant (even though predictable) stories (the first four in the collection), the title story doesn't work the best for me. Stories of infamous (less privileged) people seem to ring the brighter bell (e.g.: Five Rooms, Whatshisname, Clear Conscience, Words That Once Shocked Us).
In terms of narrative style, some are highly original though, "The New, All-True CV" appeals to me much stronger than "Roger Weber Would Like to Stay".
Paul Wilner
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christine Sneed is one of our finest contemporary writers, and this collection is a quantum leap forward for her already excellent work.
My question and answer with her, for the website of Zyzzyva magazine, is linked below:

Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful and engaging stories about daily lives, quirky lives, American lives (some with Parisian influences), interesting lives, simple lives, complicated lives, sexy lives, funny lives and much much more. Ms Sneed is a superb short story writer.
Loved it all, especially Whathisname.
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Christine Sneed's fourth book, the short story collection The Virginity of Famous Men, was published in September 2016 and was a finalist for the 2016 Chicago Review of Books Award for best fiction. Her third book, the novel Paris, He Said, an Illinois Reads selection for 2016, was published in 5/2015 by Bloomsbury USA, and it is set in contemporary Paris and New York. The main character, Jayne Ma ...more

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