Podcasts

Ep 171: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Discussion Notes: Sole Solution

This week’s story: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Next week’s story: Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Sole Solution” by Eric Frank Russell, which was submitted by a listener named Mark who also watched the live recording and participated in the discussion through YouTube. Gerald and Andy weren’t as won over by the story. In Andy’s case, he preferred similar stories that followed and explored the same themes and philosophies in more nuanced plots. 

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Ep 170: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Discussion Notes: Mr Salary

This week’s story: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Next week’s story: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Rated: Explicit

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Mr Salary” by Sally Rooney, who has been described as the first great writer of the millennial generation. All three hosts loved Rooney’s style, though Andy had a personal bone to pick! Gerald raised an interesting question about whether or not the author’s politics and worldview are embedded in a text that is ostensibly not political (in so much as anything can be apolitical). Anais does her best to find political meaning.

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Ep 169: Girls, at Play by Celeste Ng

Discussion Notes: Girls, at Play

This week’s story: Girls, At Play by Celeste Ng

Next week’s story: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Rated: Explicit

Beth Mayer, author of We Will Tell You Otherwise

This week we welcomed short story author Beth Mayer onto the show to discuss one of her favorite short stories, “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng.

Beth Mayer’s short story collection We Will Tell You Otherwise won the 2017 Hudson Prize with Black Lawrence Press and is a Midwest Connections Pick for August. Her fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Sun Magazine, and The Midway Review. She was a fiction finalist for The Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize (2016), her work recognized among “Other Distinguished Stories” by Best American Mystery Stories (2010), and her stories anthologized in both American Fiction (New Rivers) and New Stories from the Midwest (Ohio University). Mayer was a Loft Mentor Series Winner in Fiction (2015-16) and holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. She currently teaches English at Century College in Minnesota, where she lives with her family and impossibly faithful dog. Visit her online at https://bethmayer.com/

Twitter: @bethjmayer
Facebook: @bethmayerauthor

Beth joined Andy and Anais to discuss Celeste Ng’s brutally honest short story about girlhood, innocence, violence, and sex. The conversation often dwells on the difficult subject of consent and adolescence. Despite the difficult topic, all three hosts appreciated the story deeply for what it did so well and analyze Ng’s mastery of the craft. 

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Ep 168: Javi by Han Ong

Discussion Notes: Javi

This week’s story: Javi by Han Ong

Next week’s story: Girls, At Play by Celeste Ng

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Javi” by Han Ong, which was featured in The New Yorker on June 3rd, 2019. The meditative story follows a 14 year old migrant boy, Javi, who works for an 82 year old abstract painter in New Mexico who is loosely based on the painted Agnes Martin. Gerald and Andy struggle with the plot-less character portrait, though Gerald appreciates the beautiful prose. Anais defends the story as more of a literary game for literary intellectuals. All three hosts dissect the final act of the story which dwells on the current state of immigration in the United States.

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Ep 167: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Discussion Notes: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

This week’s story: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Next week’s story: Javi by Han Ong

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize “Granma’s Porch” by Alexia Tolas. It’s the story of Helena, a Bahamanian teenager on the island of Long Island who falls in love with a new boy who moves into town and contends with sexual desire in the midst of a very particular cultural context. This was Andy’s favorite story in recent weeks. It reminded Anais of Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn which we discussed on the Literary Roadhouse Bookclub episode 19. Gerald and Anais wrestle with questions of consent in teenage love affairs.

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Ep 166: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Discussion Notes: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

This week’s story: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Next week’s story: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Rated: Clean

At the request of a listener, Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “The Red Tower” by Thomas Ligotti. Andy, who was looking forward to reading a Ligotti short story, was disappointed, but Anais was thrilled. In part she was thrilled because she found what she believed to be an obvious metaphor wherein The Red Tower is a representation of the human mind. Her confidence is rocked when no one else – not even other reviewers on the internet – share her view. Gerald learns what creepypasta is.

Andy’s recommendation: Read “The Stairs and the Doorway” by unxmaal on Reddit.

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Looking for more to read?

Click here for a full list of all short stories discussed on the podcast.

The Escape | John L’Heureux | Literary Roadhouse Ep 165

Discussion Notes: The Escape

This week’s story: The Escape by John L’Heureux

Next week’s story: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Rated: Clean

Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “The Escape” by John L’Heureux. “The Escape” is the brilliantly told story of Eddie Prior, a pragmatic family man who faces Parkinson’s in late life and grapples with the disease alongside a newfound appreciation for painting which, as the disease progresses, becomes increasingly not pragmatic. All three hosts absolutely loved the story’s sheer genius, though Anais for some reason struggled to leave her analytical brain to embrace the reader brain. Andy in particular enjoyed the story because the author is a former Jesuit priest, which Andy argues on the show is the coolest kind of priest.

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Psst: Full list of short stories discussed on the podcast >>

Black Leopard Red Wolf | Marlon James | Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 26

Discussion Notes: Black Leopard Red Wolf

For this discussion we read Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.

In two weeks we will read The Bridegroom Was a Dog by Yoko Tawada.

Rated: Exlicit. SUPER Explicit!

We were supposed to release this book discussion in April. However, this book really did a number of Gerald, Colette and Anais. The gratuitous violence and sexual violence made the book difficult to read. We finally discussed it in May, and were slow to publish for similarly anguished reasons.

We start the discussion by focusing on what we did like about the book, and there was a lot to love and admire. James’s talent is undeniable. However those talents were at times difficult to appreciate. There was too much unnecessary (and at times borderline silly) violence to get through. We reserve our rants for the last 15 minutes of the discussion.

We will be releasing the next three book discussion two weeks apart to help us get back on schedule.

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.

We’d love to hear from you

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Psst: Full list of books discussed on the podcast >>

Ross Perot and China | Ben Lerner | Literary Roadhouse Ep 164

Discussion Notes: Ross Perot and China

This week’s story: Ross Perot and China by Ben Lerner

Next week’s story: The Escape by John L’Heureux

Rated: Clean

Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “Ross Perot and China” by Ben Lerner. Gerald and Andy did not care for the story which Anais loved. In particular she loved the theme that dwelled on the contrast between predictable aesthetics versus the unknowable interiors of minds and of homes. She valiantly defends the story, and even convinces Andy to consider a different theme. But can she convince him to raise his rating?

We apologize for Anais’s subpar audio today. She was traveling during the recording of this episode and did not have her usual set up.

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Psst: Full list of short stories discussed on the podcast >>

Three Friends in a Hammock | April Ayers Lawson | Literary Roadhouse Ep 163

Discussion Notes: Three Friends in a Hammock

This week’s story: Three Friends in a Hammock by April Ayers Lawson

Next week’s story: Ross Perot and China by Ben Lerner

Rated: Clean

Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “Three Friends in a Hammock” by April Ayers Lawson and dig into themes centered on friendship and whether or not love is real. Our hosts appreciated the depth of the story’s insights into human relationships. However, something was missing for all three hosts, something that prevented a more robust enjoyment of the story. Through discussion, they dig deep into what that is.

Have thoughts on this story?

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We’re still a self-funded podcast. We work hard every week to bring you the best content possible.


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Psst: Full list of short stories discussed on the podcast >>