Anais Concepcion

Underground Airlines by Ben Winters | Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 10

Discussion Notes: Underground Airlines

Next month’s novel: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Rated: Clean

Na'amen Tilahun

Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

This month we welcome Na’amen Gobert Tilahun, a California-based writer whose words have appeared in io9.com, Fantasy Magazine, Queers Dig Time Lords, Stone Telling, Full of Crows, The Big Click, faggot dinosaur, Spelling the Hours, Eleven Eleven and others.

Recently, he was named one of 13 Bay Area Writers to Read in 2016 in 7X7 magazine. In June, Night Shade Books published his debut novel The Root. Set in modern-day San Francisco, this second-world epic and urban fantasy brims with gods, sinister government agencies, and worlds of dark magic hidden just below the surface.

To learn more about Na’amen, visit his website at naamen.org.

On today’s show, Tamara Woods returns as a regular host. Anais, Gerald, Tamara and Na’amen discuss Ben Winters’s controversial novel, Underground Airlines. In Underground Airlines, the Civil War never happened and four southern states still old slaves. Victor hunts down fugitive slaves who cross into the free states, and must reconcile his race and his past with his job.

The hosts analyze the novel’s politics, historical re-imagining, cast of characters, and the effectiveness of the thriller-genre narrative. While talking about race can prove thorny, we embrace the discussion rather than shy away from it.

We’d like to hear from you

Did we miss something? Let us know what you think of the novel in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer, leave a voicemail by clicking on the feature to the right. By the way, we may play your voicemail on our next show, so tell us if you would prefer we did not.

Please leave an iTunes review! It helps us attract a wider audience and keep growing.

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

Restoration | Ann Joslin Williams | Literary Roadhouse Ep 80

Discussion Notes: Restoration

Find this week’s story here: Restoration by Ann Joslin Williams.

Next week’s story: Memento Mori by Nathan Nolan.

Rated: Explicit Themes and Language, though the explicit content is only at the end when we discuss recommendations for next week’s story. Discussion of Restoration itself is clean.

This week Maya, Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss another story found in Carve Magazine: Restoration by Ann Joslin Williams. True to his nature, Gerald loved yet another gem from Carve. He wasn’t alone, as Maya, Rammy, and Anais also enjoyed the story immensely. Anais, as the least enthusiastic reader, found it difficult to justify the link between the murder plot and the grieving plot. As for Maya, the wonderful prose appealed to her poetic roots. As for Rammy, the gorgeous imagery of the story hit the mark.

Listen for a brief discussion of what Anais calls “MFA voice”, and why she has over-dosed on 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.

A Silver Dish | Saul Bellow | Literary Roadhouse Ep 79

Discussion Notes: A Silver Dish

Find this week’s story here: A Silver Dish by Saul Bellow.

Next week’s story: Restoration by Ann Joslin Williams.

Rated: Clean

This week Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss A Silver Dish by Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow. Perhaps because of that lofty award, Gerald and Anais expected more of the story. Gerald found the story’s message too numerous and scattered to properly analyze, and felt the characters to be flat. In contrast, Anais enjoyed the characters and themes, though she agreed the story was opaque to analysis. As for Rammy, the story didn’t move him at all, and various anecdotes outright confused the point of the story in his opinion.

Though there was one anecdote that stumped us all: why did Woody stuff the turkey with hashish? If you know, please explain in the comment section.

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.

Strays | Mark Richard | Literary Roadhouse Ep 78

Discussion Notes: Strays

Find this week’s story here: Strays by Mark Richard.

Next week’s story: A Silver Dish by Saul Bellow.

Rated: Adult themes, but does not contain explicit language.

This week Maya, Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss Strays by Mark Richard. Our three writers, Maya, Gerald, and Anais were ovr the moon with this cleverly written, but bleak story of poverty, abandonment, alcoholism, and desperation. However, Rammy did not share the other hosts’ enthusiasm. He found the story lacking in imagery and descriptions to drive home the dreary theme. Meanwhile, Anais was surprised by the effective use of a child’s POV. Gerald loved the clever writing, and Maya got a kick out of the representation of Uncle Trash.

Were the three enamored hosts able to sway Rammy’s opinion?

If you’re a math nerd or a card game geek, stay tuned for the game at the end of the episode.

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 Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon | Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 9

Discussion Notes: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Next month’s novel: Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

Rated: Clean

Tamara Woods

Tamara Woods

This month we welcome back Tamara Woods, author of The Shaping of an Angry Black Woman, and writer behind the PenPaperPad blog. She has been writing for 20 years, and has a passion for poetry.

Tamara is working with Literary Roadhouse behind the scenes to publish a poetry podcast soon. She was recently in New York interviewing poets. If you’re interested in poetry and want to support her podcast, please consider donating at Literary Roadhouse’s Patreon campaign. Every show we produce brings with it additional costs, so every bit helps.

Join Anais, Gerald, and Tamara in their discussion of Joanna Cannon’s debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Grace and Tilly, two young girls in an English suburb in 1976 look for a neighbor who has gone missing.

The hosts analyze the novel’s ensemble cast, the rich prose, and the novels many themes. While all three hosts enjoyed the novel, they agreed that the first third of the novel felt different than the last 2/3rds. For Gerald, the rich imagery from the first third tapered of later in the book. Meanwhile, Anais found it difficult to reconcile the wise voice of the first third of the book with a ten year old child’s point of view. As for Tamara, she enjoyed the mystery’s suspense and gasped at key points as twists and clues were revealed.

This episode ends with a religious epiphany! Listen to find out who is God.

Did you enjoy Joanna Cannon’s mystery? 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.

Please leave an iTunes review! It helps us attract a wider audience and keep growing.

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

Miss Temptation | Kurt Vonnegut | Literary Roadhouse Ep 77

Discussion Notes: Miss Temptation

Find this week’s story here: Miss Temptation by Kurt Vonnegut.

Next week’s story: Strays by Mark Richard.

Rated: Clean

This week Maya, Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss a Vonnegut short story called Miss Temptation. Anais got a kick out of the story’s feminist theme and the female protagonist’s reclaiming of her reputation. However, Gerald found the feminist message to be heavy handed. This led Maya to wonder if the feminist themes from a story written in the 50s seems redundant in present day. Yet despite the fact the story is old, our hosts discuss how the same sexism in this story repeats itself today. As for Rammy, he enjoyed the larger than life characters and the supporting cast. When it came to language, Gerald and Anais loved the way Vonnegut built suspense.

How does this story compare to Vonnegut’s other work? Listen for a comparison.

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.

Bad Latch | Curtis Sittenfeld | Literary Roadhouse Ep 76

Discussion Notes: Bad Latch

Find this week’s story here: Bad Latch by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Next week’s story: Miss Temptation by Kurt Vonnegut.

Rated: Explicit for adult themes and language

This week Maya, Gerald, Anais, and Rammy discuss a story about new mothers and the pressures put on American moms to be perfect. Rammy like the story the most, and thought the story was educational and well told. Meanwhile, Maya wished that the story had gone deeper in exploring competition between women. As for Anais, she liked the story over all, but felt uneasy by the way the story made straw-men out of some characters. As for Gerald, well, he wasn’t sure if this qualified as a story. The conversation veers from motherhood to adultery and back again.

Did you know we have live listeners? On this episode, we read some of their comments and reveal their Bradberries ratings.

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 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.