Which Lydia Davis story collection should I read?
September 25, 2018 5:49 AM   Subscribe

I've never read Lydia Davis's short fiction. Does anyone have strong opinions about which collection to read first?
posted by Morpeth to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
I have only one, Break It Down, which I'd recommend just because it has "Break It Down" in it.
posted by booth at 6:09 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a copy of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis on my bedside table. I'm working my way through it by picking stories at random based on how long they are and how much time I have to read. It's working for me.
posted by Del Chimney at 6:23 AM on September 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yep, I periodically reread Collected Stories in the same way Del Chimney describes and it's great. "What I Feel" is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature.
posted by torridly at 6:50 AM on September 25, 2018

She has enough great work that I think you'll get a wide variety of answers. My vote would be for Samuel Johnson Is Indignant.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:38 AM on September 25, 2018

Best answer: Varieties of Disturbance is my absolute favorite collection of hers. It's later in her career and I think Davis just hits her stride there. Samuel Johnson is Indignant is also great.

I traded my copies of Break it Down and Varieties of Disturbance for a copy of Collected Stories. I am glad I own Collected Stories, but there is something about the thickness of it (700+ pages) that makes for a more cramped reading experience, and I notice I don't really pick it up as often as I did her other works. Might also be helpful to note that Collected Stories does not include anything from her most recent collection, Can’t and Won’t.
posted by jnrs at 9:32 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: i'm going to get Collected Stories AND Can't and Won't.
posted by Morpeth at 5:01 PM on September 25, 2018

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