Significant Objects began in 2009 as a bold online inquiry into the relationship between narrative and the value of everyday objects. It has been the subject
of speculation by everyone from NPR to litbloggers to The New York Times’
Freakonomics crew. Some theorized about the project’s hypothesis, others
about its methods and results. Others just wanted to know if there would be
a book collection. The answer is yes. A collection of one hundred Significant
Objects stories is published in this volume.
This represents the latest plot twist yet to the story of a very unlikely project that began as an experiment, turned into an
experimental literary magazine secretly published on eBay, and currently raises money for youth tutoring nonprofits.
Founded by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker, SignificantObjects.com has published an extraordinary series of 200
stories and counting — by William Gibson, Curtis Sittenfeld, Sheila Heti, Colson Whitehead, Nicholson Baker, Meg
Cabot, Gary Panter, Ben Katchor, Lydia Millet, Jonathan Lethem, and other talented writers — about ordinary stuff like
novelty items, discarded souvenirs, and tasteless kitchenware picked up cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. The goal: To
see if commissioning great stories about these insignificant things would increase their value — as measured in actual
The experiment, in short, was a smash hit. As will be the Significant Objects book, which features 100 moving, absurd,
surprising, and always entertaining stories from the project’s three volumes. It will change the way you look at things,