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Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules
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Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,788 Ratings  ·  501 Reviews
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.
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published (first published March 29th 2005)
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Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: human beans with heart muscles in working order
Shelves: short-stories
I gave this book to a friend for her birthday a few years ago and she mentioned that while she loved the book, it was proving to be life threatening. She was reading while walking, while eating, while riding her was an accident waiting to happen.

The thing about this collection of short stories (chosen, not authored, by David Sedaris) is that every time I finished a story I would think, "Oh definitely. That is my favorite short story EVER." Then, I would read the next story and find tha
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not Sedaris fans...
Shelves: 2007
As a big fan of David Sedaris, let me just say that I am very very glad he has not been able to better emulate his writing heroes. Because for a very talented storyteller, the man has appalling taste in stories.

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules is a Sedaris-edited short story collection. Sedaris makes clear in the book's introduction that these are stories by authors he particularly loves, and that he aims to be as great as he thinks they are. Oh dear.

The version I listened to is abri
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen Germain
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see David Sedaris speak at UCLA. In my haste to make sure that I had read all of Sedaris' books, I bought " Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules" on my Kindle. It turns out, that this a collection of Sedaris' favorite short stories and he edited the compilation.

I am not the slightest bit disappointed that this wasn't a collection of Sedaris stories, because the selections he picked are fantastic. In fact, this is probably the best collection of shor
Apr 15, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Don't get freaked out when you see two stars next to David Sedaris' name...he didn't write the book, he just edited it. But, that's why I was so surprised. It's an interesting collection and not at all what you might assume Sedaris would pick as his favorite short stories. Actually, a lot of them were about death, so not his usual fun topics like midget guitar teachers or christmas whores. But death, or almost dying. So yeah, this is actually a pretty morbid collection of stories. If I could ind ...more
rachel  misfiticus
I am very happy that I borrowed this book.
Although the proceeds go to 826nyc, and that is good, the book itself is a waste of time.
The stories within are either ones I have read many times before (i.e."Revelation" Flannery O'Connor*) or are stories that made my eyes contort from boredom (i.e. "The Garden Party" Katherine Mansfield).
Sarah Vowell's epilogue explaining 826nyc is so poorly constructed I closed the book after 3 sentences.

*I really like O'Connor, but I was hoping for authors who ar
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really fabulous collection of stories from masters of the craft; Hempel, Baxter and Wolff's are my favorite. The audio version is extremely well done - Sedaris reading "Gryphon" was the best of the bunch. Highly recommended.
Briane Pagel
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I'm contrarian by nature, I once came up with a theory as to why you can judge a book by its cover. The theory is this: if I like a cover, I will probably like the book. The reasoning behind it is: someone had to design a cover and to do that they had to at least know something about the book. They then distilled that feeling about the book into an image, and they liked the image (or they wouldn't have created it). If I like the image, I am at least somewhat likely to like the thinking b ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a regular reader of fiction, but when I find an author I enjoy, I tend to read the entire collection of his/her work. I love David Sedaris's humor and writing, so purchased this along with several of his other books. When I learned that this was "just" a collection of his favorite short stories instead of his own words, I was disappointed. That feeling of disappointment continued through about half of the stories in Hercules, some of which I had to force myself to finish, and one of whic ...more
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, shortstories
This is a compilation of David Sedaris' favorite short stories by literary greats such as Alice Munro, Flannery O'Connor and Dororthy Parker, just to name a few. With a crowd like this, you can expect stories that will leave you ever so slightly unsettled, such as Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain" and Lorrie Moore's troubling tromp through a pediatric cancer ward in "People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk." The stories seem to gather eccentric value as the b ...more
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David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated American humorist and radio contributor.

Sedaris came to prominence in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. Each of his four subsequent essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Fa
More about David Sedaris...
“Now the room has the contours and atmosphere of all rooms in which people stay awake talking. The fluorescent light is grainy, staring. The clutter on the kitchen table—ketchup bottle, sagging butter dish, tin of Nestlé Quik, the rowdy crudded ashtray—the world is narrowed into these, a little universe that the eyes return to again and again. 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.” 2 likes
“You spend hours wrestling with yourself, trying to keep your vision intact, your intensity undiminished. Sometimes I have to stick my head under the tap to get my wits back. And for what? You know what publishing is like these days. Paper costs going up all the time. Nothing gets printed unless it can be made into a movie. Everything is media. Crooked politicians sell their unwritten memoirs for thousands. I’ve got a great idea for a novel. It’s about a giant shark who’s possessed by a demon while swimming in the Bermuda Triangle. And the demon talks in CB lingo, see? There’ll be recipes in the back.” 1 likes
More quotes…