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
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?