Weekly Short Stories

Each week The Literary Roadhouse podcast hosts deeply read and discuss one short story.

A Handful of Dates | Tayeb Saleh | Literary Roadhouse Ep 63

Discussion Notes: A Handful of Dates

Find this weeks story here: A Handful of Dates

Next weeks story is The Rat King by Kerry Cullen

Rated: Clean

This weeks story was about at it’s essence a coming of age story. We follow as a young man’s vision of his grandfather is changed and he develops a deeper understanding of write and wrong. Maya, Gerald and all liked the story a great deal, while Anais and Rammy came down the middle. This story reminded Maya of the history of how conquered people are treated by conquerors. It also prompted a discussion of what is moral and how morality is tied to economics.

Don’t forget to rate the story! We rated it a 4.9, 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 A Handful of Dates? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

We Launched a Patreon Campaign!

Literary Roadhouse Launched a Patreon Campaign!Literary Roadhouse is now on Patreon! For those of you familiar with Patreon, great! Check out our profile at patreon.com/literaryroadhouse

Patreon lets fans directly support their favorite content creators, such as podcasters! Literary Roadhouse is free to our listeners, but unfortunately not free to create. Through Patreon you can pledge a monthly financial contribution to keep the podcast going and growing. It can be as low as $1 a month, or as high as your wallet and heart allows.

We’re ambitious. We want to grow. We have three new shows we want to produce, but we need a little help to reach our goal. We currently publish 9 episodes a month, which means Maya and Anais spend 60 hours each month sound editing. We want to grow to 16 episodes a month across 6 shows, but need a little boost getting there. Hey, maybe we can even hire a professional sound editor too! Dream big. And monthly contributions, even small ones, help us reach our goals and create better podcasts for you.

And if you prefer to make a one time contribution, you can sign up, pledge the amount you want to donate, then cancel the monthly pledge. Don’t worry about hurting our feelings by canceling a pledge, we know it’s a one-time donation and greatly appreciate it.

As a monthly patron you would have access to our Patreon activity feed where we will post special, patron-only content, such as patron-only conversations with the hosts, and sneak peeks behind the scenes.

Just to be clear, we are not charging you for our podcasts, and we don’t plan on ever doing so. Our shows are still free to anyone who reads.

If you love what what we do as much as we love doing it, help us keep doing it. And thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Ghost Birds | Nicolas Pizzolatto | Literary Roadhouse Ep 62

Discussion Notes: Ghost Birds

Find this weeks story here: Ghost Birds

Next week’s story is A Handful of Dates by Tayeb Saleh

Rated: Clean

Everyone liked this weeks story but Maya had issues with the 1st have of the story. Ghost Birds is about loss and fear of loss explored through the eyes of a man who uses extreme sports to overcome his inner demons. It touched on interesting and important ideas with strong themes of feeling alive, order and fear of death. Maya’s main problem with the story ended up almost being a deal breaker as she felt the story ended and then started again. While Anais thought the 2nd half of the story wasn’t as strong as the first, it didn’t take away from her enjoyment. Gerald and Rammy both enjoyed the story as well attesting to it’s strengths. Ghost Birds is an interesting tale, told in an unconventional way with thought provoking ideas.

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 Ghost Birds? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Drone | Hari Kunzru | Literary Roadhouse Ep 61

Discussion Notes: Drone

Next week’s story is Ghost Birds by Nicolas Pizzalotto

Rated: Clean

As Anais was editing this weeks bickering, she realized that we’ve hit the old married couple phase of our podcast. Drone is excerpt of an upcoming novel that gave Rammy pause. We spent a good deal of time discussing whether it should qualify as a short story. I was right of course 😉 Set in a future India, this story touched on economic disparity, religion, and genetic modification.

Anais appreciated the clever writing and nods to Indian culture and current politics. Maya loved seeing a post apocalyptic science story set outside Europe or the US and populated with people of color. The story had interesting vocabulary in addition to science fiction terms which disrupted his reading experience.

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 A Handful of Dates? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Queenie | Alice Munro | Literary Roadhouse Ep 60

Discussion Notes: Queenie

Next week’s story is Drone by Hari Kunzru

Rated: Clean

Queenie is a short story about a young woman who visits her sister who ran away with the neighbor and is in a difficult relationship. We discussed abuse, lost and sisterhood. This is our second Alice Munro story and Anais found herself enjoying it more now that she understood Munro’s writing better. Maya enjoyed the story but found it less strong than Amundsen which we read in March of 2015.

We all enjoyed this story and found comparing our experiences a valuable experience.

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 Queenie? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Delira | Hitomi Kanehara | Literary Roadhouse Ep 59

Discussion Notes: Delira

Next week’s story is Queenie by Alice Munro

Rated: Dirty!!!! Adult Themes & Language

So, we don’t read these stories in advance and this week we were a little surprised. Upon starting the story… this happened.

Gerald: Good Lord! This story is a little … ahem … steamy.

Maya: hahahaha! Poor Rammy, no wonder he hasn’t replied. He’s either in shock or… 

So after the necessary laughter, we dove into this story searching for the meaning and artistic merit. Delira is an extremely graphic story about a depressed woman who is molested at her new job. Maya wonders if the icky and non-titillating descriptions of sex have a larger message about abuse, depression and Japanese society. Anais, found the slimy nature of the story difficult to get through and Rammy wondered why we would torture him so. While Gerald was disturbed by the abuse narrative. By the end of the episode one host had a surprising reversal during the rating.

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 Delira? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Switzerland Today | Michael Chabon | Literary Roadhouse Ep 58

Discussion Notes: Switzerland Today

Next week’s story is Delira by Hitomi Kanehara

Rated: Clean but Gerald does call us dumb asses under his breath

First off, thank you for your patience. This episode and last weeks Bradbury Challenge had major sound issues and took almost a week to edit. It’s okay but not up to our normal sound standards. So again, thank you.

Switzerland Today was a beautifully written but confusing story for us. In this episode, we try to sort out what this story was actually about and on a more basic level… what actually happened. All of our scores shifted after this discussion, 3 of us moved our scores down but one of us lost his sense and raised his score. Listen to find out who! For Maya, the beautiful language made her even more irritated by the ending. The imagery and characterization felt real to both Rammy and Anais, while Anais found the characterization lacking.

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 Switzerland Today? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere | ZZ Packer | Literary Roadhouse Ep 57

Discussion Notes: Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Next week’s story is Switzerland Today by Michael Chabon

Rated: Adult themes but does not contain adult language

This week the Literary Roadhouse crew enjoyed discussing, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer. This story was published in 2000 and brought ZZ Packer attention as a debut short story author. In Drinking Coffee Elsewhere ZZ Packer tackles questions of race, class and sexuality through the eyes of a low-income young black woman in her freshman semester at Yale. While Maya and Gerald both enjoyed the story a great deal, Anais and Rammy did have some issues. The more distant writing was a double edged sword. While smooth and well written, the main character is emotionally shut down and this is mirrored in the narrative.

This story made Maya think about the high rates of smart low income minority students that quit college after working for their lifetime to attend high end universities. Anais enjoyed the substance of the story but chafed against the tone. She felt the story was about all the layers of protection we put up and the stories we tell about ourselves.

Talking with Anais and Rammy made Maya lower her rating. While our comments made Rammy’s rating go up. This is an author that Anais, Maya and Gerald want to continue reading.

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 Drinking Coffee Elsewhere? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

The Lottery | Shirley Jackson | Literary Roadhouse Ep 56

Next week’s story is Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer

Rated: Clean

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson explores the darker side of humanity as a group of Americans make a sacrifice for the good of the community. In this discussion, we analyze the meaning and relevance of this well known story. We discuss group think, murder, sacrifice and religion. It’s a complicated story packed into a short package.

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 The Lottery? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

In The Act Of Falling | Danielle Mclaughlin | Literary Roadhouse Ep 55

Next week’s story is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Rated: Adult themes, but does not contain explicit language

This week we discuss In The Act Of Falling, a short story about a family’s emotional struggles after the financial collapse in Ireland. This story lends itself to deep analysis of the characters and themes. Both Anais and Maya enjoyed the symbolism woven throughout the work. We also considered the emotional issues of the son, and debated questions still left unsolved at the end of the story. We found this story well controlled and artfully crafted. How did you answer for yourself the story’s questions that were never answered?

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 In The Act Of Falling? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.