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

Podcast (February): E. M. Forster 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 E. M. Forster in February, and here are our selections:

The only Forster that I have read is “The Celestial Omnibus”, and I was so amazed by it that I thought we should include Forster in our selection of authors for the year. You have probably heard of his famous novels, a couple of which have been made into films, even if his name is new to you.

Both of these stories can be found in this Kindle collection that is only 99 cents! It contains other stories and four of his most famous novels, which is a fantastic deal. You could find these stories in other paperbacks if you prefer. If you want to print off free versions of these stories, I did find PDF versions of “The Celestial Omnibus” and “The Machine Stops”. You can also search YouTube for some free audio recordings of these.

I’m really looking forward to our podcast discussions of these! I think the conversation will take us important places.

Copyright 2019 Jessica Ptomey