Weekly Short Stories

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

Saint Bus Driver | J. E. McCafferty | Literary Roadhouse Ep 156

Discussion Notes: Saint Bus Driver

This week’s story: Saint Bus Driver by J. E. McCafferty

Next week’s story: The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Anais and Andy discuss “Saint Bus Driver” by J. E. McCafferty from the Winter 2019 issue of Carve Magazine. This episode is full of laughs, because the story is surprisingly funny despite the fact that it is centered around a death. There’s a lot of religious references that offer a unique perspective on what it is to be a saint, and what it is to hold a saint close to your heart.

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

(REWIND) The Swimmer | John Cheever | Literary Roadhouse Ep 99

Discussion Notes: The Swimmer

This week we’re replaying an episode from our archive! We picked this story because it’s one of our favorite discussions to date.

Find this week’s rewind story here: The Swimmer by John Cheever.

Next week’s story: Saint Bus Driver by J. E. McCafferty

Rated: Clean

Maya couldn’t join us this week, but never fear, Gerald, Rammy, and Anais tackle John Cheever’s classic short story “The Swimmer.” While Gerald and Anais enjoyed the broad commentary on suburban and married life, Rammy hoped for more specifics on The Swimmer missteps to better understand the downturn in his fortunes. When it comes to prose, our hosts remark on Cheever’s skill in maintain a mystery without frustrating the reader and touching on dark themes while keeping the tone light.

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

Exquisite Corpse | T Magazine | Literary Roadhouse Ep 155

Discussion Notes: Exquisite Corpse

This week’s story: Exquisite Corpse by Zadie Smith, Rebecca Curtis, Mohsin Hamid, R.L. Stine, Rivka Galchen, Nicholson Baker, Anthony Marra, David Baldacci, Elif Batuman, James Patterson, Hanya Yanagihara, Joshua Ferris, Ben Marcus, Jenny Offill, Adelle Waldman

Next week’s story: Saint Bus Driver by J. E. McCafferty

Rated: Explicit

Gerald, Anais and Andy discuss “Exquisite Corpse” a story written piece by piece by 15 renowned authors for New York Times Magazine. While all three hosts struggled to enjoy the fragmented, sprawling, nonsensical story that resulted, they had a blast discussing the absurd plot and characters. Instead of evaluating the piece as a story, they evaluated it as a game. They leave the conversation with a deep appreciation for the thankless effort of R. L. Stine, who heroically tried to get a story back on rails. Did he succeed? You be the judge.

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

The Second Bakery Attack | Haruki Murakami | Literary Roadhouse Ep 154

Discussion Notes: The Second Bakery Attack

This week’s story: The Second Bakery Attack by Haruki Murakami

Next week’s story: Exquisite Corpse by Zadie Smith, Rebecca Curtis, Mohsin Hamid, R.L. Stine, Rivka Galchen, Nicholson Baker, Anthony Marra, David Baldacci, Elif Batuman, James Patterson, Hanya Yanagihara, Joshua Ferris, Ben Marcus, Jenny Offill, Adelle Waldman

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Anais and Andy discuss “The Second Bakery Attack” by Haruki Murakami. This is easily one of our strangest episodes. The short story’s whimsy and playfulness infected our hosts and the conversation meanders from Wagner to the Looney Tunes animated short “What’s Opera, Doc?”

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

The Skylight Room | O. Henry | Literary Roadhouse Ep 153

Discussion Notes: The Skylight Room

This week’s story: The Skylight Room by O. Henry

Next week’s story: The Second Bakery Attack by Haruki Murakami

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Anais and Andy discuss “The Skylight Room” by O. Henry and did not like it, but had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs in the process. This was Rammy’s departing gift, and the theme and lessons seem buried deep and twisted. The story’s main source of humor did not age well. The discussion is illustrative of how themes could be sowed.

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

Us and Them | David Sedaris | Literary Roadhouse Ep 152

Discussion Notes: Us and Them

This week’s story: Us and Them by David Sedaris

Next week’s story: The Skylight Room by O. Henry

Rated: Clean

This is Rammy’s last episode! He’s off to pursue psychology in grad school. Andy will be filling in as a regular host. Today, Gerald, Anais, Andy and Rammy discuss “Us and Them” by David Sedaris. All four hosts loved the humor and the insightful comments on consumerism and television culture. Come for the literary discussion, stay for the hot debate about the psychology of buying and enjoying candy.

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

(REWIND) Christmas Party | Russell Banks | Literary Roadhouse Ep 131

Discussion Notes: Christmas Party

This week we’re replaying an episode from our archive! We picked this story because it’s one of our favorite discussions to date.

Find this week’s rewind story here:  Christmas Party by Russell Banks

Next week’s story: Us and Them by David Sedaris

Rated: Clean

Baylee Annis, Assistant to the Director at the Adirondack Center for Writing

Baylee Annis, Assistant to the Director at the Adirondack Center for Writing

This week Gerald, Rammy, and Anais are joined by Baylee Annis, Assistant to the Director of the Adirondack Center for Writing.  She is poet, essayist, journalist, and loves talking about words so much she made it her job to pass on her passion to others. She studied at Norwich University in Vermont and was one of a whopping two students who studied english, education, and sociology. An Adirondack native, she hasn’t had electricity or running water for three years in her adorable 128 sq ft house, and would have it no other way.

You can learn more about the Adirondack Center for Writing at adirondackcenterforwriting.org

The show quickly became a love fest! All four hosts gushed over the brilliant characters, prose, and plot of this classic Russell Banks short story. Baylee brought her Adirondack native experience to the conversation, commenting on how the community was one more character in the story. Meanwhile, Rammy and Anais debate why the protagonist briefly contemplated kidnapping a baby.

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

Omakase | Weike Wang | Literary Roadhouse Ep 151

Discussion Notes: Omakase

This week’s story: Omakase by Weike Wang

Next week’s story: Us and Them by David Sedaris

Rated: Clean

Alli Hoff Kosik

Alli Hoff Kosik

This week we welcomed Alli Hoff Kosik as a guest to discuss “Omakase” by Weike Wang. She is a full-time freelance writer. Her work has been published in outlets like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Brit + Co, Medium, The Kitchn, Real Simple, and more. She’s also the host of The SSR Podcast, on which each week she invites a guest to revisit a book from their middle or high school days. Alli lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and her golden retriever pup, Irv.

Twitter: @ahoffkosik // @ssrpod
Instagram: @ahoffkosik // @ssrpod

Gerald, Anais and Alli discuss this brilliant story and explore themes of class, race, romance, and even coin a new phrase “aggressive confidence,” aka swagger.

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

Chaunt | Joy Williams | Literary Roadhouse Ep 150

Discussion Notes: Chaunt

This week’s story: Chaunt by Joy Williams

Next week’s story: Omakase by Weike Wang

Rated: Clean

We’re a week late! We took off last week to catch up with some back log and work over flow. As our regular listeners know, the hosts you hear on each episode are the entire crew. Gerald and Anais spli the sound editing, and Anais does all the we upkeep, publishing, social media, guest sourcing, etc, etc. We could really use your support us in bringing us great content. At the very least, buy as a cup of coffee every month by subscribing on Patreon and pledging just $3 a month – enough for a coffee! It really adds up and goes a long way.

This week Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Chaunt” by Joy Williams, an eccentric story about grief, extinctions of various kinds, religion, and despair. Despite the heavy theme, the story is funny, hitting the gallows humor right on every note. We loved this story, giving it perfect marks across the board, and highly recommend you read the story too.

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

House Taken Over | Julio Cortazar | Literary Roadhouse Ep 149

Discussion Notes: House Taken Over

This week’s story: House Taken Over by Julio Cortázar

Next week’s story: Chaunt by Joy Williams

Rated: Clean

This week we are joined by a guest! Andy Kopczynski, a long time friend of Anais, a hater of literary fiction, and a lover and avid reader of pulpy fantasy and sci-fi. Can we make Andy love literary fiction too?

Find out as Andy, Gerald, Rammy, and Anais discuss the melancholic ¨House Taken Over¨by Julio Cortázar. A story open to multiple interpretations, and in which the conflict never quite spills over into a proper climax, leaves our regular hosts divided. But what about our reluctant guest?

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