Podcasts

The Empty Family – Colm Tóibín – Literary Roadhouse Ep 26

Next week’s story is The Start of the Affair by Nuruddin Farah.

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated clean for language, but not so clean for audio quality. Maya spent the week at a writer’s conference, and Anais edited the audio for the first time. Please forgive the audio rookie.

This week we read a short story by Irish author Colm Tóibín, whose novel The Blackwater Lightship Gerald has read before. Gerald loved the short story, but Maya and Anais who are new to Tóibín had lukewarm feelings towards the story. Anais was turned off by the lack of conflict, and Maya was alienated by a surprisingly distant voice for a first person narrative.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

Listeners gave last week’s story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver 5 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate “The Empty Family”? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is The Start of the Affair by Nuruddin Farah.

Cathedral – Raymond Carver – Literary Roadhouse Ep 25

Next week’s story is The Empty Family by Colm Tóibín

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated Explicit

We read our first Carver story this week and it prompted a great discussion. Maya has been reading through Carver’s body of work and found the reading experience very different compared to Anais. Gerald was turned off by the narrator, and we delved a bit into how we feel when we confront a main character we don’t like.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

Listeners gave last week’s story “Safe, Somewhere” by Baird Harper 3.75 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate “Safe, Somewhere”? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is The Empty Family by Colm Tóibín

Gerald’s Summer Road Trip in France

Seven weeks my wife, our dog, and I were away from home, most of the time without WiFi, which curtailed my ability to contribute to the Literary Roadhouse podcast. But now we’re back, with no immediate plans for long-term breaks, so normal service has been resumed.

I wanted to share with you the highlights from our little trip. Firstly, some background: we’ve been motor homing for our holidays since 2006, we retired in 2008, and we’re on our third motor home.

Our van. Our van.

We always enjoy traveling to France, where there is a bigger choice of places to stay than here in the UK.

Our route. Our route.

Some places we only stayed one night, as we traveled between towns, but our biggest stay was on an island off the West coast of France called Île de Ré, which is a beautiful island, much favoured by holidaying Parisians during August, and has a number of small, picture-postcard beautiful towns all connected by mostly traffic-free cycle paths. We did lots of cycling.

And visited some lovely towns and villages.

But it wasn’t all go. We needed a break to visit markets.

And take in the view.

Eat out occasionally.

Enjoy our own little barbecue.

Visit the occasional bar.

Enjoy a breakfast out sometimes.

And for Tess to play the fool.

And of course, I had to do some reading.

We had a great time!

Safe, Somewhere – Baird Harper – Literary Roadhouse Ep 24

Next week’s story is Cathedral by Raymond Carver

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated Explicit: Story contains mention of brothel, no cursing or explicit language but a kid might ask what a brothel is.

Oh, we didn’t seem to agree on anything this week. Anais had serious issues with Safe, Somewhere. Gerald liked it a great deal and Maya was head over heels in love with the story. The funny thing was, even though Gerald and Maya liked it, they saw many parts very differently. This story of a small one-company town was eye opening and fun to discuss.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

Listeners gave last week’s story “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel 4.5 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate “Safe, Somewhere”? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is Cathedral by Raymond Carver

In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried – Amy Hempel – Literary Roadhouse Ep 23

Next week’s story is Safe, Somewhere by Baird Harper

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated Explicit

Guess who’s back! After a long vacation driving around Europe, Gerald joins us for a discussion of the short story, In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried. It sounds like he had a great trip and will soon write a post about his adventures. This week’s story touches on themes of death in a novel and brutally transparent way. It’s a story that touched us and brought up topics such as guilt, details in writing, and what it is that makes you trust a writer. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

Listeners gave last week’s story “The Servant’s Daughter” 2.75 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is Safe, Somewhere by Baird Harper

The Servant’s Daughter – Paulo Coelho – Literay Roadhouse Ep 22

Next week’s story is In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated Squeaky Clean

There is a sound issue and while I was able to correct most of it, this episode is not perfect. I do apologize for the inconvienience.

This week our guest co-host is the novelist, teacher and podcaster Aaron Gansky. He was a wonderful part of the discussion on how to modernize oral tradition stories for the modern reader. The Servant’s Daughter was the first parable for Literary Roadhouse and was a perfect catalyst for this important discussion.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate The Servant’s Daughter? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel

Sodom and Gomorrah – Adam Mcomber – Literary Roadhouse Ep 21

Next week’s story is The Servant’s Daughter as popularized by Paulo Coelho

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners.

Rated Explicit

The true genius of Anais and our guest co-host Rammy shines this week. Due to a family emergency, Maya completely missed the podcast and Gerald is on the tale end of his amazingly awesome vacation. We expect Gerald either next week or the one after! Personally, I can’t wait to hear all about his adventures.

This week’s story tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from the side of the fornicators. We discover just how geeky Anais can get as she links various mythologies and themes. Then Rammy surprised her with the depth of homosexual themes that she missed. While they both had issues with the story, we get to hear a good conversation that deepened their appreciation of it.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it.

Y’all rated The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula Le Guin 5 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate Sodom and Gomorrah? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next week we are reading The Servant’s Daughter by Paulo Coelho

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas – Ursula Le Guin – Literary Roadhouse Ep 20

Next week’s story Sodom and Gomorrah by Adam Mcomber

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners

Rated G

Please Pardon the audio quality on this episode. I upgraded editors and am still learning all the bells and whistles in the hopes that future episodes will be much more clear and enjoyable.

Gerald is now in France and we are missing our best buddy. We had a great co-host scheduled but he had had technical difficulties so it was just us girls. We had a lot of fun discussing the political underpinnings of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. The big question still nags, is the well being of many enough to out way the misery of one. Maya tried to play devils advocate and see the story from a conservative point of view; spoiler… she failed.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it. Y’all rated The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe 4.33 bradberries.

Next week’s story Sodom and Gomorrah by Adam Mcomber

The Masque of the Red Death – Edgar Allan Poe – Literary Roadhouse Ep 19

Next week’s story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula Le Guin

This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker. Please take a few moments to leave a review (for Spreaker follow & heart us). Those reviews encourage us and help us be found by new listeners

Rated G

Roz Morris joined us this week to discus The Masque of the Red Death. She is an author, writing coach and public speaker. This story prompted a wonderful exchange on the definition of story given just how many rules this story breaks. Edgar Allan Poe was the granddaddy of Horror and Crime genre, and this was an interesting exploration both of the story and the experience of reading the precursor to several modern fiction forms. With flowery Gothic style and a modern feel, The Masque of the Red Death was a great choice for Literary Roadhouse.

Personally, I found researching Edgar Allan Poe deepened my enjoyment of the story. After writing this weeks Author Spotlight: Edgar Allan Poe, I would have rated the story a solid point higher. I hope the article does the same for you.

Don’t forget, to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it. Y’all rated Axolotl by Julio Cortázar, 5.66 Bradberries.

So tell us, on a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate The Masque of the Red Death? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode.

Next we’re reading The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula Le Guin

Author Spotlight: Edgar Allen Poe

As I read The Masque of the Red Death for this week’s podcast, I felt a deep fear and modernity despite the older Gothic style of Edgar Allan Poe. While this was my first experience reading Poe, I also experienced a subtle sense of déjá vu as I read. Like many, I grew up watching and reading horror, but I was drawn to the emotional psychological style. Reading Poe was an odd experience as I finally read the father of several genres that I’d only experienced through the descendants. Researching Edgar Allan Poe as a person gave me not only insight into him as an artist, but also helped me understand The Masque of the Red Death on a deeper level.

Born in 1809, Poe was a year old when his father abandoned the family. Both of his parents were actors and while the trade was commonly seen as one step up from prostitution, his mother, Elizabeth, was well-loved as a leading actress. She died when he was 3 years old from a long bout of tuberculosis; this set him on a pattern that, to me, felt almost as inevitable as the outcome of one of his stories.

Because his mother was well respected, John and Frances Allen took him in. They were a well off family and Poe was emotionally close to Frances. Educated in languages and the classics Edgar Allan Poe showed genius early. Though raised as if he was the Allan’s son, he was an angry and troubled teen. When Frances became sick with tuberculosis, the relationship between Edgar and John became even more difficult.

Fed up with Edgar, John sent him to the University of Virginia but didn’t give him enough money to live on. It didn’t take long for Edgar to go into debt from gambling and after parting ways with John he enlisted in the military under an assumed name out of fear of arrest for his debts. Later, Poe shortly reunited with John. John helped him get a discharge from the military so he could enroll in West Point. During this time he self-published two collections of poetry. But his time at West Point didn’t last long and John Allan cut him off after Frances’ death.

Many scholars trace Poe’s intense respect and apotheosis of women to these two deeply felt female losses. When he decided to take his writing seriously as a profession, he became an editor well known for his acerbic style of literary criticism. While this style made him popular, the offense within the literary community played a part in his future struggles. Jumping from job to job and moving frequently, he finally settled with an aunt and her young daughter, Virginia Clemm. This was a huge influence on him as he finally had a sense of family. While living away, he received a letter from his aunt explaining that she’d arranged for her daughter to live with extended family to be raised as a proper lady.

Then 26 year old Edgar Allan Poe, immediately wrote her a passionate rambling suicidal letter declaring his love for his 13 year old cousin Virginia. They married several months later. While they struggled financially, his early years with Virginia were very happy. They played games, and he taught her many academic subjects including math and music. During these years, he published stories in the Gothic and Dark Romantic styles while also dabbling in satires and humor. This happy period in Poe’s life ended when she began coughing up blood while singing for him.

Edgar Allan Poe nursed his wife for several years often struggling to pay for medication or heating oil. She would get better only to turn around and get worse. He was overcome with grief each time she worsened and it was during this time that he wrote some of his most emotional work including his breakthrough poem, The Raven. While an instant success and invited to read publicly, he only made 9 dollars for the poem. Poe became friends with the poet Frances Osgood. Their friendship was flirtatious and a source of rumors socially. When Osgood’s reputation was damaged, they stopped seeing one another. Virginia’s tuberculosis worsened in the stress of the situation and she died. Unfortunately, he began drinking heavily again as he fell into grief.

After his wife’s death his heavy drinking was accompanied with erratic behavior. He courted several women simultaneously, often copying entire sections of a letter to one woman for a letter to another. Edgar became engaged to the poet Sarah Whitman, but Whitman’s mother put an end to the engagement when she demanded they sign a form declaring if they marry, Sarah would be cut off. Offended by the request, Edgar left Sarah. Professionally, he suffered as well as editors paid low wages or refused him work.

Destitute, childless, and sickly he visited a local bar near the Baltimore docks. On October 3rd 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious on a Baltimore street. Wearing too small clothing that did not belong to him, he was taken to Washington medical college. Incoherent, he called the name “Reynolds” repeated and only became coherent enough to say, “Lord help my poor soul,” right before he died. Edgar Allan Poe was 40 years old. His cause of death remains a mystery.

The drama of Poe’s life did not end after death. Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote a scathing obituary for the New York Tribune and despite his grudge against Poe, he became Poe’s literary executor and promptly began trashing Edgar Allan Poe’s reputation.

The ghost of Edgar Allan Poe lives on in our modern horror and crime genres. His relationships and loss of the women in his life bleed into his work. Often focusing on the death of beautiful women Poe wrote some of the most memorable female characters of the day. There are many great documentaries on Edgar Allan Poe but I really enjoyed the BBC’s Edgar Allan Poe: Amor, Morte e Mulheres

And here’s one more for good measure!