This anthology attracted me the way a movie preview dropping major celebrity names grabs my attention. Edited by David Sedaris, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules boasts some of the big time stars of the book world: Flannery O’Connor, Richard Yates, Tobias Wolff, Dorothy Parker. The already established status of these authors as successful is about the only theme in this anthology, a fact that Sedaris establishes in his introduction. This anthology is merely a collection of short stories that Sedaris admires the most and its publication supports 826NYC, a tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York, for developing young writers. I do agree that each of these stories are remarkable in their own way and could easily inspire the reader to seek out more of these authors’ works or explore his or her own writing style, which was part of Sedaris’ intent. A few of my personal favorites: “Applause, Applause” by Jean Thompson, “Gryphon” by Charles Baxter, and “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk” by Lorrie Moore.