Weekly Short Stories

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

Stone Mattress | Margaret Atwood | Literary Roadhouse Ep 132

Discussion Notes: Stone Mattress

Find this week’s story here: Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

Next week’s story:  The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris

Rated: Clean

This week all four Literary Roadhouse hosts gushed about this superbly sharp and entertaining short story by Margaret Atwood. “Stone Mattress” inspired an in-depth discussion of excellent prose, characterizations and symbolism. The conversation turns contentious as the hosts debate the moral character of the protagonist’s former husbands.

Come for the discussion, stay for a blooper reel at the very end.

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

Christmas Party | Russell Banks | Literary Roadhouse Ep 131

Discussion Notes: Christmas Party

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

Next week’s story: Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

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.

Have thoughts on this story?

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

Landfill | Joyce Carol Oates | Literary Roadhouse Ep 130

Discussion Notes: Landfill

Find this week’s story here: Landfill by Joyce Carol Oates

Next week’s story: Christmas Party by Russell Banks

Rated: Clean Language, Sensitive Topic

Gerald, Maya and Anais discuss Landfill by Joyce Carol Oates. They struggle to discuss a story that too closely resembles a real life tragedy while painting an insensitive picture of the victim. For this reason, the story quickly became controversial after publication in 2006, and has raised ethical questions from literary critics.

Among those critical voices is Amardeep Singh’s, an Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University, and Anais’s former professor. We highly recommend you read his critique at his blog.  If you enjoyed Professor Singh’s critique, consider subscribing to his blog Electrostani.

We also apologize for the audio issues we experienced this week. We’re still an indie podcast and your contributions on Patreon go a long way in helping up cover or expenses and smooth out our production.

Have thoughts on this story?

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

Sal Wants to Sleep | Serena Johe | Literary Roadhouse Ep 129

Discussion Notes: Sal Wants to Sleep

Find this week’s story here: Sal Wants to Sleep by Serena Johe

Next week’s story: Landfill by Joyce Carol Oates

Rated: Clean Language, Discussion of Suicide

Gerald, Maya and Anais discuss Sal Wants to Sleep by Serena Johe, a short story about a man named Sal who, as the title suggests, cannot sleep. Our hosts are divided in their opinions. On the positive end of the spectrum, Anais gives the most enthusiastic endorsement of this story, while Maya provides a more nuanced critique. The discussion touches on character, pace, theme, and veers into the question of euthanasia.

Have thoughts on this story?

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

That Evening Sun | William Faulkner | Literary Roadhouse Ep 128

Discussion Notes: That Evening Sun

Find this week’s story here: That Evening Sun by William Faulkner

Next week’s story: Sal Wants to Sleep by Serena Johe

Rated: Explicit (clean language, adult themes)

This week the Literary Roadhouse hosts are joined by longtime listener

Richard Dennis, writer

Richard Dennis, writer

Richard Dennis. He is a retired corporate attorney who now lives and writes in northern Washington State. His short story “The Most Wanted” appears in the Winter 2018 edition of the literary journal Euphony. Previously, his story “Request for Reconsideration” appeared in the literary journal The Milo Review. Richard has studied with the Writers Studio Workshops and is currently working on his first novel.  

Richard recommended that Literary Roadhouse finally get around to reading Faulkner, dangit! And our regular hosts couldn’t be more grateful for his recommendation of “That Evening Sun.” This story’s unapologetic and poignant critique on racism in the American South fueled a lively conversation that could have gone on for hours.

If you want a host to pick up a story suggestion, drop a line in the comment section, on Twitter @litroadhouse, or in the FB group linked to below.

Interview with Richard

Anais sat down with Richard to discuss his writing and career shift from corporate lawyer to fiction author.  The interview is available to our patrons on Patreon.  

To become a patron, you determine how much to donate to Literary Roadhouse to keep our show going.

Support us on Patreon

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Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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

William and Mary | Roald Dahl | Literary Roadhouse Ep 127

Discussion Notes: William and Mary

Find this week’s story here: William and Mary by Roald Dahl

Next week’s story: That Evening Sun by William Faulkner

Rated: Clean

This week Gerald, Rammy and Anais discuss Roald Dahl’s short story “William and Mary.” This story’s unexpected turn toward horror and revenge thrilled all three hosts. In addition to discussing character, prose and plot, the hosts discussed whether or not they would undergo William’s procedure in death, and discuss longevity and ego.

If you want a host to pick up a story suggestion, drop a line in the comment section, on Twitter @litroadhouse, or in the FB group linked to below.

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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

Defender of the Faith | Philip Roth | Literary Roadhouse Ep 126

Discussion Notes: Defender of the Faith

Find this week’s story here: Defender of the Faith by Philip Roth

Next week’s story: William and Mary by Roald Dahl

Rated: Clean

This week the Literary Roadhouse hosts discuss Philip Roth’s short story “Defender of the Faith.” The story succeeded in uniting the hosts’ opinions. The no-frills story captivated Maya, Rammy, and Anais, and leads to a discussion of how Philip Roth portrays Jewish people and the controversies that surrounded his characterizations.

If you want a host to pick up a story suggestion, drop a line in the comment section, on Twitter @litroadhouse, or in the FB group linked to below.

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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

The Bottle Neck | Hans Christian Andersen | Literary Roadhouse Ep 125

Discussion Notes: The Bottle Neck

Find this week’s story here: The Bottle Neck by Hans Christian Andersen

Next week’s story: Defender of the Faith by Philip Roth

Rated: Clean

Michael La Ronn

Michael La Ronn, Author

The Literary Roadhouse hosts welcome back Michael La Ronn, who previously came on our show to disc

uss Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic by José Pablo Iriarte on Episode 73, and Your Heart is a Muscle The Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa on Bookclub Episode 4.

Michael is the author of over 40 science fiction & fantasy books including the Android X series, Modern Necromancy series, and the Galaxy Mavericks series. He writes from the great plains of Iowa and has perfected the art of balancing writing with a full-time job and family, writing 5-7 books per year. You can find him at www.michaellaronn.com.

For this week, he recommended a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Bottle Neck.” This unusual story follows the adventures of a wine bottle’s neck, and the passions and longing of the bottle and of a young woman who lost her betrothed to the sea days after toasting their engagement with wine from The Bottle Neck. Yes, you read that right. The surprising story didn’t make a fan of all three hosts. Nonetheless, there’s plenty to love about this story.

If you want a host to pick up a story suggestion, drop a line in the comment section, on Twitter @litroadhouse, or in the FB group linked to below.

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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

Carnival Nine | Caroline M. Yoachim | Literary Roadhouse Ep 124

Discussion Notes: Carnival Nine

Find this week’s story here: Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim

Next week’s story: The Bottle Neck by Hans Christian Andersen

Rated: Clean

The Literary Roadhouse hosts discuss the short story finalist for the 2017 Nebula Awards and 2018 Hugo Awards, “Carnival Nine” by Caroline M. Yoachim. Breaking with our recent tendency to agree on stories, the hosts were split with Gerald most enthusiastic about the story, Anais most critical, and Maya conflicted. Science fiction tends to divide out hosts, but typically Anais loves the genre most, and Maya struggles with it. Thus, the hosts take their time in unpacking what they liked and what they didn’t like. By the end of the episode, Anais talks herself into raising her rating by 1.5 points and finds new facets of the story to appreciate.

Stay for a bizarre bonus content in which Gerald and Anais discuss Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.

If you want a host to pick up a story suggestion, drop a line in the comment section, on Twitter @litroadhouse, or in the FB group linked to below.

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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

The Proxy Marriage | Maile Meloy | Literary Roadhouse Ep 123

Discussion Notes: The Proxy Marriage

Find this week’s story here: The Proxy Marriage by Maile Meloy

Next week’s story: Carnival 9 by Caroline M. Yoachim

Rated: Clean 

Colette Sartor, Author

Colette Sartor, Author

 

On today’s podcast, we welcome Colette Sartor. She is an award-winning short story author and essayist. Her works have appeared in numerous publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Kenyon Review Online, Carve, Slice, and Colorado Review. She teaches at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program as well as privately. In addition to writing and teaching, Colette is an Executive Director of CineStory Foundation, a mentoring organization for screenwriters and TV writers.

For more information, please visit colettesartor.com.

By the way, we discussed two of Colette’s short stories. Listen to our discussions of La Cuesta Encantada and Once Removed.

Interview bonus! To listen to our author interview with Colette on Youtube. She and Anais discuss the CineStory Foundation, and how to write vulnerably.  Colette also shares how she manages loved ones who see pieces of themselves in her fictional characters.

As for today’s story, Colette and the LRH hosts discuss The Proxy Marriage by Maile Meloy, a romantic short story with a rare happy ending. Unable the find any flaws, the podcast quickly becomes a love fest. The hosts and guest fawn over the elegant prose, brilliant pacing, and smart time markers and structure.

Stay for some surprising wedding facts in the game at the end of the show.

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group.

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