Podcast (September): Kate Chopin

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.

*Note the new format of only one podcast episode at the end of the month. Enjoy the stories for this month!

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!

Podcast (June): Edward P. Jones

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.

When we were making the selections for this year several months ago, we came across a connection between Edward P. Jones and James Joyce. We had already decided to include Joyce, as we wanted to read selections from The Dubliners. Apparently, Jones was inspired by Joyce when writing his own collection of stories, Lost in the City, set in his own hometown city of Washington D.C. Our selections for this month are taken from this volume. Here’s an excerpt from the Amazon description:

A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with these powerful tales of ordinary people who live in the shadows in this metropolis of great monuments and rich history.

Theses tales are quite powerful, and the characters in them could be people you pass every day on the streets of D.C. We’re looking forward to discussing the two stories listed above, but you may very well be compelled to read the whole collection. And don’t miss the author’s introduction (from the anniversary edition); it gives an important glimpse of him in his own words and an understanding of his motivations and feelings in writing this compilation.

Copyright 2020 Jessica Ptomey