The order of the stories.

The question:

I don’t usually read short story collections
consecutively, so all the thought that goes into how to order stories
goes to waste on me. Most of the time I decide to read the shortest
story in a collection first and then I jump around.

(This is the "tutti-frutti" approach, endorsed by Steve Almond.)

One thing someone said that made sense is that there
usually is a personal and emotional order to an author’s short stories
that mean something to the writer, but doesn’t resonate with a reader.
Ultimately, does it matter what order short stories appear in a book
collection?

Depends on who takes the "tutti-frutti" approach (does Rudy?) and who follows the order presented by the book.  I don’t know: does the author usually choose the order, or does the editor/publisher?  If the author, then it certainly matters.

When you buy an album, do you listen starting with track one through until the end?

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2 thoughts on “The order of the stories.

  1. Does the order matter?

    That’s a question that deserves to be asked about every collection of stories. In most cases, it the answer will be, no–because that’s all they are: collections.

    When it does matter, every story gains.

    Winesburg, Ohio. Dubliners.

    But these are not “selected shorts,” they are books, books made up of short stories. All too rare…

  2. Interesting… I hardly ever read a collection from beginning to end, just because I don’t have to. I wouldn’t read a novel that way, either, if it made sense any other way.

    But I much prefer to listen to an album from beginning to end than to use shuffle mode.

    The difference, I think, has to do with the fact that I listen to albums over and over again, but read a collection only once. The transitions from mood to mood become more important on repeated listenings…

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