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!

Podcast (March): Ernest Hemingway Stories

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 (on the 15th & 30th of the month) we will discuss the stories in turn.

We are reading stories by Ernest Hemingway in March, and here are our selections:

Both of these stories can be found in a collection like this one that we have on our bookshelf. If you want to print off free versions of these stories, there are PDF versions:

“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”

“In Another Country”

Hemingway is going to be a pretty different read from O’Connor and Forster, both in style and themes. Also, our second story is really short! I think we will have some interesting discussions about theme and what an author is able to accomplish in a very few pages. As we’ve discussed before, good authors capture reality, what they know to be true of the world. It’s always fascinating to see how perspective differs between authors, where it is that each one chooses to focus the gaze.

Copyright 2019 Jessica Ptomey