Anais Concepcion

The Looking Glass | Anton Chekhov | Literary Roadhouse Ep 75

Discussion Notes: The Looking Glass

Find this week’s story here: The Looking Glass by Anton Chekhov.

Next week’s story: Bad Latch by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Rated: Clean

This week Maya, Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss a Chekhov short story. Surprisingly, none of the hosts liked the story. For Anais, the theme of life being riddled with hardships was bland. In her opinion, the story failed to deliver on a lessons ripe for storytelling. Maya agreed, and speculated that the theme had perhaps not aged well. Meanwhile, Gerald felt the story didn’t explore the character’s emotional state deeply enough. As for Rammy, the narration was melodramatic. Perhaps that was appropriate, as in the end, it was all a dream.

Stay tuned to the end to listen to some boozey bonus content. Maya discusses breakfast drinks. Which ingredient horrifies Gerald? Listen and find out.

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Silver Blaze | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Literary Roadhouse Ep 74

Discussion Notes: Silver Blaze

Find this week’s story here: Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Next week’s story: The Looking Glass by Anton Chekhov.

Rated: Clean

Maya couldn’t join us this week, but Gerald is finally back from his vacation!

This week Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss a Sherlock Holmes classic mystery. While all three hosts enjoyed the story, they found it difficult to analyze the story for depth beyond the mystery. Anais realized that the story represented a game that people have always enjoyed: riddles. Meanwhile Rammy dug into the story’s prose and questioned the grammar of English phrases. As for Gerald, the story served as a palette cleanser from the heavier themes of literary dramas.

Did any of the hosts solve the mystery before the big reveal at the end? Listen and find out!

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison |Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 8

Discussion Notes: God Help the Child

Next month’s novel: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Rated: Adult Themes

Lovelyn Bettison discusses God Help the Child.

Lovelyn Bettison

This month we’re joined by Lovelyn Bettison, author of Perfect Family and The Box. She is an avid reader of magical realism and a fan of Toni Morrison, who influences her work. You can buy her books on her website: lovelynbettison.com. Listeners of our weekly show may remember Lovelyn from our discussion of Zadie Smith’s “Escape from New York.”

Join Anais, Maya, and Lovelyn as they discuss Toni Morrison’s latest novel God Help the Child. The book follows primarily Bride and Booker as they try to find their adult identities, but are weighed down by the burden of childhood traumas.

The hosts analyze how Morrison’s prose departs from her usual style. At the same time, they highlight the ways in which this more subtle story remains quintessentially Morrison. For Lovelyn, the book’s magical realist elements tickled her imagination. Meanwhile Maya found the emotional of the book a bit muted. As for Anais, the relationship between shifts in point of view and theme seemed like a puzzle worth cracking.

What is Morrison saying about childhood trauma, and is there hope? Listen and let us know what you think in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer, leave a voicemail by clicking on the feature to the left. By the way, we may play your voicemail on our next show, so tell us if you would prefer we did not.

We (try to) air the first Friday of every month, and discuss the books on Twitter between shows using #LRHBookclub.

Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic | José Pablo Iriarte | Literary Roadhouse Ep 73

Discussion Notes: Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic

Find this week’s story here: Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic by José Pablo Iriarte.

Next week’s story: Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Rated: Clean

Gerald continues to enjoy summer in style without us.

Michael La Ronn

Michael La Ronn

Good news, everyone! Science fiction author Michael La Ronn joins the podcast this week. Regular listeners will remember him from the Literary Roadhouse Bookclub’s discussion of Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist.

Michael is best known for his Android X series which is available on Amazon. You can learn more about him on his website michaellaronn.com He also shares his self-publishing and authorpreneur tips on his Youtube channel: Author Level Up. He just published his latest novel, Old Dark, on Amazon.

This week Maya, Anais, Rammy, and Michael discuss literary science fiction. All four hosts enjoyed the story. In Maya’s case, she was so moved by the story she even shed a tear. The Latin culture references tickled Anais. Meanwhile, Rammy liked the uplifting premise. As for Michael, this story reinforced his belief that good literature can be found in all genres.

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings | Gabriel García Márquez | Literary Roadhouse Ep 72

Discussion Notes: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Find this week’s story here: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez.

Next week’s story: Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic by José Pablo Iriarte.

Rated: Clean

Gerald is still gallivanting across Europe on his extended summer vacation.

Caleb J. Ross

Caleb J. Ross

This week Caleb J. Ross joins the podcast. Regular listeners will remember him from our discussion of Julio Cortázar’s Axolotl. Caleb has been published widely, both online and in print. Most recently he co-authored The Soul Standard, which was published by Dzanc Books in July. You can find out more about his five books and other literary ventures at his website: calebjross.com.

This week Maya, Anais, and Caleb discuss “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. Caleb came to the discussion already a fan of of this story. It’s a classic magical realism tale by Gabriel García Márquez in which a winged man, who may or may not be an angel, visits a small town.

Caleb analyzed the religious versus secular commentary and wondered about the author’s religious beliefs. Meanwhile, Maya enjoyed the prose’s dreary tone. As for Anais, the lack of empathy among all characters regardless of their beliefs struck her as key to the story’s theme.

This week we also have bonus content at the end of the episode. Maya and Caleb discuss enjoying an author’s complete catalog, audio books, and more.

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Escape from New York | Zadie Smith | Literary Roadhouse Ep 71

Discussion Notes: Escape from New York

Find this week’s story here: Escape from New York by Zadie Smith.

Next week’s story: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez.

Rated: Clean

Gerald is still soaking up the sun on his annual summer road trip.

www.lovelynbettison.com

Lovelyn Bettison

Lovelyn Bettison, author of Perfect Family and The Box, joins us to discuss Zadie Smith. She is an avid reader of magical realism, which influences her work. You can buy her books on her website: lovelynbettison.com.

This week Maya, Rammy, Anais, and Lovelyn discuss “Escape from New York”. This story portrays a celebrity urban legend. Shortly after 9/11, rumor had it that Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor escaped NYC together by driving west.

Surprisingly, all four hosts enjoyed the story! In particular, Maya appreciated the gallows humor. Meanwhile, the celebrity cast of characters tickled Rammy. Regarding plot, Anais loved the absurdity of the celebrity narcissism in the midst of a national tragedy. Lovelyn found the prose and understated humor to be reflective of Smith’s style.

The New Yorker also hosts an audio recording of the story as read by Zadie Smith. What’s funnier than Zadie Smith doing as Michael Jackson impersonation? Anais impersonating the Smith impersonation! Tune in to hear it.

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

The Dog of Tetval | Saadat Hasan Manto | Literary Roadhouse Ep 70

Discussion Notes: The Dog of Tetval

Find this week’s story here: The Dog of Tetval by Saadat Hasan Manto.

Next week’s story: Escape from New York by Zadie Smith.

Rated: Clean

This week Maya, Rammy, and Anais discussed The Dog of Tetval. Meanwhile, Gerald is still on vacation living his best life.

Anais liked the story’s political activism and wondered if the message changes depending on the reader’s culture. Meanwhile, Maya struggled to connect to the characters. Nonetheless she enjoyed the pacifist message, especially because it aligned with her personal beliefs. Rammy liked Manto’s portrayal of war as futile, but felt the story’s translation was confusing. By contrast, Maya loved the poetic language. As for Anais, she got a kick out of looking up the pop culture references.

Despite mixed opinions during discussion, the story earned top marks. Why so? Tune in to find out.

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila |Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 7

Discussion Notes: Tram 83

Next month’s novel: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Rated: Explicit

John McCoyThis month we discuss Tram 83 with John McCoy, host of Sophomore Lit, a podcast about your tenth grade reading list. Follow John on twitter @tracemcjoy

Join John and Anais as they discuss Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel Tram 83. Set in a fictional city-state in Western Africa, the novel shares a name with a frenetic jazz club where alcohol and sex transact like currency.

The hosts analyze Fiston’s unique prose and shifting tone. While, the narrator and point of view confound, they charm. Anais struggled to find the protagonist’s goal. Meanwhile John debated whether or not the characters represents individuals, or archetypes. To what extent does the novel echo the real world’s West African history? Does a setting like Tram 83 exist? How much of the story should be interpreted as allegory to the real world, and how much of it should be enjoyed as hyperbolic fiction?

If you have any comments, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer, leave a voicemail by clicking on the feature to the left. By the way, we may play your voicemail on our next show, so tell us if you would prefer we did not.

We air the first Friday of every month, and discuss the books on Twitter between shows using #LRHBookclub.

Harrison Bergeron | Kurt Vonnegut | Literary Roadhouse Ep 69

Discussion Notes: Harrison Bergeron

Find this week’s story here: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Next week’s story: The Dog of Tetval by Saadat Hasan Manto.

Rated: Clean

Gerald is still on vacation. This week Gabriel Jarboe, aspiring author and friend of the show, joins the discussion.

This week’s discussion of Harrison Bergeron led the hosts to debate the choices authors make in designing their characters. Gabriel thought the over-the-top, comedic quality of the title character, Harrison, was a stroke of genius and meant to be taken with levity. While Anais believed the choice to make Harrison an egomaniac undermined the satire’s larger lesson that warns against the perils of egalitarianism. Maya felt the story to be emotionally flat, but an enjoyable thought experiment. Rammy surprisingly liked the science fiction story, and admitted he normally does not like sci-fi. The discussion also veered into how innate competition is to the human condition. Maya noted that the handicaps made the subjects stronger, and Anais realized that even with the handicaps, the characters in the story could tell who was gifted and who was not.

Gabriel makes a valiant effort to convince Maya of the story’s pathos. Is he successful?

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

What Splits Us | Mark Farrington | Literary Roadhouse Ep 68

Discussion Notes: What Splits Us

Find this weeks story here: What Splits Us by Mark Farrington.

Next weeks story: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Rated: Explicit

Gerald couldn’t join us this week, because he is on his annual caravan road trip in France. This week’s story was chosen by Gerald, and he left us with one heck of a story!

What Splits Us by Mark Farrington left Maya, Anais, and Rammy feeling emotionally flat, but with a lot to analyze and dig into. Despite the explicit content, neither the story’s kink nor characters moved the three hosts. Maya and Anais agreed that the characterization of Sara felt unreal, while Bob resonated with Anais. Maya wished Bob would have taken more risks and thought more on his new role as spanker.

Anais enjoyed the story intellectually, but agreed that the story stirred no emotions, while Rammy railed against the explicit nature of the story and once again made a plea to pre-read stories before submitting them. The three hosts agreed that the prose was clean, but discussed the extent to which clean language robs a story of emotion. Maya makes an admirable attempt to convince Rammy that explicit stories can still have literary merit. Was Rammy finally convinced?

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.