Podcast (October): Evelyn Waugh

In 2020 The Catholic Reading Challenge is reading 24 different short stories by 12 different authors. Each month we will focus on one author, reading two stories by that author. At the end of the month we will discuss both stories in a single podcast episode.

I’ve really been looking forward to this month’s author. I will say right up front that these two stories are picked rather at random, as I have not read any of Waugh’s stories. I have read two of his novels: Brideshead Revisited and Helena, both of which I really enjoyed. Helena captured a special place in my heart, perhaps because of the way he beautifully sketched a saint that is still fairly mysterious to us. As for Brideshead, it’s getting to be time for a re-read, I believe.

At any rate, I’m thoroughly looking forward to sampling Waugh’s ability with the short story genre. I’ve heard good things, but I’ve also heard that readers have fairly distinct opinions about whether they prefer his novels to his short stories. It should make for an interesting point of discussion on the podcast. Perhaps this is your first taste of Waugh’s writing. If so, I would encourage you, regardless of what you think of his stories, to try one of his novels next.

Copyright 2020 Jessica Ptomey

Podcast (August): Edgar Allan Poe

In 2020 The Catholic Reading Challenge is reading 24 different short stories by 12 different authors. Each month we will focus on one author, reading two stories by that author. During each of our bi-weekly podcast episodes we will discuss the stories in turn.

I will keep this short and sweet, so that you can get right to the stories for this month. We are excited to be reading Poe this month, and I think that you will find in our first story many interesting parallels to what we are experiencing as a society right now. I’m sure there will be lots to discuss.

You should be able to find plenty of PDF versions of these stories, or they should both be in any collection of Poe’s stories that you have on your shelves already at home. Enjoy!

Podcast (July): Guy de Maupassant

In 2020 The Catholic Reading Challenge is reading 24 different short stories by 12 different authors. Each month we will focus on one author, reading two stories by that author. During each of our bi-weekly podcast episodes we will discuss the stories in turn.

Perhaps some of you noticed, but we inadvertently switched our June and July authors. Oh well. We enjoyed Edward P. Jones’s stories in June, and now we are going to be spending July with Guy de Maupassant. If you have never read him you are in for a treat. He is undoubtably considered the best French short story author, and he is prolific—about 300 stories to his name!

He is a master at plot twists that seem to be accomplished with ease of style and economy of words; and for that his writing has been extremely influential for many other authors. We are reading two of his most famous stories: “The Necklace” (also titled “The Diamond Necklace”) and “Ball-of-Fat”, which is his first published short story and thought to be his best.

Themes of human vice and hypocrisy and the interaction of social classes are common in his stories. His criticisms of religion certainly come through as well. For these and many other reasons, not the least of which is the sheer enjoyment of his stories’s plots and his writing style, he is an important short story author to include on our list.

We recommend downloading this $0.99 Kindle version of his short stories (which includes both of the ones we are reading). We can’t wait to talk about these stories. Many of our listeners may find in him a new favorite author!