Anais Concepcion

Why I Need An Online Reading Group

Do you read what I read?

Maybe. Probably. I don’t read obscurely. Let me prove it. The last five fiction books I have read are The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut, The Green Mile by Stephen King, and World War Z by Max Brooks.

See? Nothing rare or unknown. Those books have been widely read, and yet I have very few people to discuss them with. It’s a bizarre complaint in the age of the Internet. How have I not found a community to discuss books with?

¯_(ツ)_/¯

The best answer I can invent, with no guarantee that this is my truth, is that I like to discuss stories with people that I know.

I have some evidence to this theory. When I finish a book, I harass my closest friends and family with a froth of words that loosely describe my rabid feelings about what I just finished. Take care to remember that these poor souls have not read whatever whipped me into a frenzy. And yet, they bear through it (often with admirable enthusiasm), knowing that eventually the caps lock will be released. Eventually, I have to breathe. Eventually, normal human interaction will begin anew.

But that isn’t fair to them, and now I have this podcast: the unexpected salvation to my personal relationships. But more importantly, a community where I can discuss stories with people that I know, and will over time get to know better.

I am talking about my co-hosts primarily, but the community isn’t limited to just the four of us. It’s open. Listeners can become commenters at will, and the most vocal will become as known to me as my co-hosts are. I can’t wait to meet them.

I am also particularly excited by the choice to read short stories. They will keep the community glued. They are short, accessible, and often jam-packed with as many thought provoking kernels of wisdom and questions as a novel.

Some of you may have noticed that I listed 2BR02B in my list of books. That is a short story, and still, I frothed over that story just as much as any of the other novels on that list. Short stories are not truncated novels. They are full stories that capture as much of humanity as a novel can. They can be just as funny, seductive, discomfitting or scary as any long form book.

And you can read them in one sitting. Perfect for a weekly podcast. All the story to chew on, none of the time-suck. I hope you’ll read some short stories with me — that you’ll read what I read.

Anais

The Case of the Third Co-host

Gerald Interview

The Suspect: Gerald Hornsby

The Mystery: Will Gerald join Literary Roadhouse as a co-host?

Evidence: Shortly after concluding today’s three-way video call with Gerald, Maya and Anais met on a call of their own. They agreed that Gerald will bring great energy to the podcast. “He has a great voice,” they said, “And his interests differ enough from ours that opinions and short story submissions should vary.”

They decided to invite him to join the podcast, but had no way to know for certain that Gerald would accept. They had a hunch that he would, but they’re serious podcasters. A hunch isn’t enough. They needed facts.

Anais believed that if Gerald submits to Maya a good headshot and a short bio for use on the podcast webpage, then that is a sure sign that Gerald is in. She slipped him a short story, left in an inbox he was sure to find at least six hours into the future. Time zones were never her forte.

She signed it, perhaps a bit too hopefully,

Your fellow co-host.