Significant Objects

Overview

Collects the results of a literary experiment in which a best-selling or popular author wrote a short fictional prose story about an object on eBay, raising its value; the profit from the object’s sale then went to charity.
100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS
SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic ExperimentCan a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to ...

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Overview

Collects the results of a literary experiment in which a best-selling or popular author wrote a short fictional prose story about an object on eBay, raising its value; the profit from the object’s sale then went to charity.
100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS
SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic ExperimentCan a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales.That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way.But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination? The founders of the Significant Objects project, that’s who. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment; you’ll never look at a thrift-store curiosity the same way again.FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES BY: Chris Adrian • Rob Agredo • Kurt Andersen • Rachel Axler • Rob Baedeker • Nicholson Baker • Rosecrans Baldwin • Matthew Battles • Charles Baxter • Kate Bernheimer • Susanna Breslin • Kevin Brockmeier • Matt Brown • Blake Butler • Meg Cabot • Tim Carvell • Patrick Cates • Dan Chaon • Susanna Daniel • Adam Davies • Kathryn Davis • Matthew De Abaitua • Stacey • D'Erasmo • Helen DeWitt • Doug Dorst • Mark Doty • Ben Ehrenreich • Mark Frauenfelder • Amy Fusselman • William Gibson • Myla Goldberg • Ben Greenman • Jason Grote • Jim Hanas • Jennifer Michael Hecht • Sheila Heti • Christine Hill • Dara Horn • Shelley Jackson • Heidi Julavits • Ben Katchor • Matt Klam • Wayne Koestenbaum • Josh Kramer • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer • Neil LaBute • Victor LaValle • J. Robert Lennon • Jonathan Lethem • Todd Levin • Laura Lippman • Mimi Lipson • Robert Lopez • Joe Lyons • Sarah Manguso • Merrill Markoe • Tom McCarthy • Miranda Mellis • Lydia Millet • Maud Newton • Annie Nocenti • Stephen O’Connor • Stewart O’Nan • Jenny Offill • Gary Panter • Ed Park • James Parker • Benjamin Percy • Mark Jude Poirier • Padgett Powell • Bob Powers • Todd Pruzan • Dan Reines • Nathaniel Rich • Peter Rock • Lucinda Rosenfeld • Greg Rowland • Luc Sante • R.K. Scher • Toni Schlesinger • Matthew Sharpe • Jim Shepard • David Shields • Marisa Silver • Curtis Sittenfeld • Bruce Sterling • Scarlett Thomas • Jeff Turrentine • Deb Olin Unferth • Tom Vanderbilt • Matthew J. Wells • Joe Wenderoth • Margaret Wertheim • Colleen Werthmann • Colson Whitehead • Carl Wilson • Cintra Wilson • Sari Wilson • Douglas Wolk • John Wray

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Editorial Reviews

NPR's All Things Considered
“Finding magic in unexpected things.”
GalleyCat
“Like a Salvation Army staffed by brilliant writers...”
The Independent of London's Couch Surfer
“Significant Objects combines one of the oldest of all media — the near-improvised short story — with the reinvigorated writer-reader relationship afforded by Web 2.0.”
GOOD Magazine
“Significant Objects is an incredibly fun, if curious, success, one that toys with the disparity between an object’s financial and emotional values, and speaks to our wonderfully human propensity to believe in nonsense.”
The Economist's More Intelligent Life
“The short stories are lovely. Some allude to an object’s brush with fame; others suggest heartache, loneliness and the occasional bar fight. Each story casts a strange spell on the objects, and on our perception of them.”
The Guardian
“One of the most life-affirmingly cheeky studies I have seen for ages.”
AdWeek.com
“To those who don’t believe in the transcendent power of a good story … behold: the Significant Objects project.”
NPR’s All Things Considered
“Finding magic in unexpected things.”
The Independent of London’s Couch Surfer
“Significant Objects combines one of the oldest of all media — the near-improvised short story — with the reinvigorated writer-reader relationship afforded by Web 2.0.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606995259
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 8/6/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 998,130
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Glenn is editor of the website HiLobrow; in the ’90s he published the independent zine/journal Hermenaut. He’s co-authored and co-edited several books, including The Idler’s Glossary, The Wage Slave’s Glossary, and the kids’ field guide to life Unbored (October 2012). In 2011, he produced a brainteaser iPhone app, KER-PUNCH!. In 2012, HiLoBooks will serialize and reissue six overlooked classics of science fiction. He lives in Boston.

Rob Walker contributes to The New York Times Magazine and Design Observer, among others. He is the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, and Letters from New Orleans. More at www.robwalker.net.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Brooklyn and Maine.

Gary Panter was born in Texas in 1950 and now lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife, the designer Helene Silverman. He is a three-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as the production designer of Pee-wee's Playhouse.

William Gibson is a professor of ecclesiastical history at Oxford Brookes University. He is also academic director of the Westminster Institute of Education.

KURT ANDERSEN is a novelist (Heyday, Turn of the Century) and journalist (Studio 360).

Meg Cabot is an American author of romantic and paranormal fiction for teens and adults and used to write under several pen names, but now writes exclusively under her real name, Meg Cabot. She has written and published over fifty books, including The Princess Diaries.

Mark Frauenfelder is a blogger, illustrator, and journalist. He is editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine and co-editor of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing.

Sheila Heti, who was born in Toronto, Ontario, studied art history and philosophy at the University of Toronto and playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada. She is a writer and works as Interviews Editor at The Believer (magazine).

Shelley Jackson is a writer and artist known for her cross-genre experiments, including her groundbreaking work of hyperfiction, Patchwork Girl (1995). In 2006, Jackson published her first novel, Half Life.

Heidi Julavits is an American author and co-editor of The Believer magazine.

Neil LaBute is an American film director, screenwriter and playwright.

Tom McCarthy is a writer and artist. He was born in London in 1969 and lives in central London.

Lydia Millet won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for her third novel, My Happy Life, and her short story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was one of three finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the bestselling novels American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which are being translated into twenty-five languages.

Michael Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction author, best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which helped define the cyberpunkgenre.

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