Saturday, March 19, 2005

"The Sphinx Without a Secret" by Oscar Wilde

"One afternoon I was sitting outside the Café de la Paix, watching the splendor and shabbiness of Parisian life... " So begins Wilde's sparkling little tale. Read by Sebastian Stuart.

This is one of Oscar Wilde's various and varied short stories, which are often overshadowed by his many plays, poems, and of course The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Novelist, actor, playwright, humorist, and all-around bon vivant Sebastian Stuart's last book was The Mentor. Buy it today to help mend his wayward ways.

Our First Week Anniversary

Over a week! Already? And how long will we be able to go at one story per day? It's hard to say, but certainly we won't always be going so quickly in the future. In the meantime, we'll try to keep you entertained...

Thanks so much to anyone out there who's been listening or who has merely visited this website. We don't know who you are, but we really appreciate your interest! This site is a simple labor of love with no commercial intentions and nothing more to offer than words, so it means a lot to us if anyone derives any enjoyment out of our work at all. Cheers!

Friday, March 18, 2005

"A Legend of the Dance" by Gottfried Keller

Is there dancing in heaven? This story answers that question. Read by Jonathan Strong.

Swiss-German Gottfried Keller was the author of The Green Henry, A Village Romeo and Juliet, and other works. Today's selection is one of the "Seven Legends" from his collection of that title.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

"Goneril" by Karel Čapek

King Lear's "wicked" daughter finally has her say. Read by Scoot.

This soliloquy, translated by Dora Round, is from Čapek's highly amusing book of sketches based on famous people real and imagined, Apocryphal Tales. However, the Czech writer is best known for having popularized the term "robot"* (from his play R.U.R.) and for his unparalleled novel, War with the Newts.

(*It was Karel's brother, the painter and writer Josef, who actually invented the word "robot.")

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Fripperies and folderol

If you're new here, we welcome you! If you're returning, we're even more flattered--we hope you enjoy these readings, if just for the quality of the writing alone.

Our apologies for all the problems with feed addresses and the like; this podcasting business is a bit complicated at first! Thanks if you had to trudge all the way over here from another site to get the content; we hope now the feed-readers are happy with us and there will be no further problems, as long as we remember how to do things correctly.

Thanks, too, to those directories which have added this site and for the support and help of people in the podcasting community. We're not here to be a raving success, but it's nice to have even a couple occasional listeners! We really do this only for our love of short stories.

All the mp3's have now been converted to smaller file sizes without losing too much audio quality, we believe. We could go even smaller--and may have to eventually for lack of space--but when you're listening closely through headphones it's nice not to hear those irritating lisped sibilants.

If you are listening and you'd like to make any comments at all--positive or negative--please do so. Of course, we know that takes time, so we don't expect it of anyone. Still... it would be nice to know if anyone at all is really listening. (But if you decline to comment, that's perfectly OK, too. We mean for this to be a low-impact website, not exactly a writing forum.)

As we've reported before, friends have promised to sit in our soundproof booth (actually just a microphone attached to this computer) to read for us and bring more variety to these offerings. Check these pages again soon!

--Scoot & Jones the Website Mascot

"The String Quartet" by Virginia Woolf

An impressionistic account of concert-goers. Read by Jonathan Strong.

This selection is from 1921's A Haunted House and Other Stories. Woolf's many books include Orlando, To the Lighthouse, and A Room of One's Own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Desirable Residences" by E. F. Benson

Residents of a quiet seaside town rent one another's houses in an attempt to save money. Read by Scoot.

If you've ever visited Rye in southern England, you would recognize the model for Tilling, the home of Benson's two greatest battling heroines, Elizabeth Mapp and "Queen" Lucia. The books he wrote about them are still wildly popular, but this story, featuring Miss Mapp, wasn't published (in book form) until 1991.

Monday, March 14, 2005

"A Wagner Matinée" by Willa Cather

A young man takes his aunt from the country to an opera. Read by Jonathan Strong.

My Antonia and O Pioneers! are among the American author Cather's most popular novels. This is one of the many stories she wrote early in her career.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Celebrating our first three days

Well, not really much to celebrate yet except those kind souls who have given this site a look and perhaps even listened to a story or two. Thanks! And thanks to those who helped us put this site together despite our having absolutely no experience with podcasts and very little experience with blogging or building websites.

A few notes about this site:

1) All readings are by amateurs, at least in the sense that none of us are professional readers, and so we make our mistakes and none of them are edited out. Friends and strangers are encouraged to read for us, but at this time we don't want to ask for submissions, due to too many issues to go into here.

2) All these short stories are presumed to be out of copyright, and even if found not to be, one should realize these readings are good advertisements (we hope) to go out and spend money on the books they come from, so why sue us? In time, we hope to include some original work of our own, if people don't mind, though we don't mean for this to be a vanity project. Just skip any stories that might offend you!

3) Selections are made entirely by random--that is, whatever we happen to think of reading that day. There is no attempt here, nor would it be possible, to cover the whole range of genres and nationalities and ethnicities of authors we love. Don't be surprised if there are a lot of dead white men here, if only because those are the authors easiest to find out of copyright and in most abundant supply.

4) Information within the file tags is as accurate as possible, but likely to be incorrect considering how we're dating these stories and which collections they come from. We also try to keep all written posts here as short as possible, so of course the "blurbs" are only as revealing as such short blurbs can be.

5) We encourage you to go out and beg, borrow, or steal the books these stories are from--being read to is nice, but reading on your own has its own rewards, doesn't it? And besides, the voice you hear in your head is bound to be closer to the author's than any reader could hope to emulate.

6) Oh, yes--and this site is exclusively for short stories. That means fiction only, and as short as possible ("possible" being open to debate). Sorry to disappoint anyone looking for something more exciting. Could there be anything more exciting, though?

--Scoot & Jones the Mascot Dog

"Are You Too Late or Was I Too Early" by John Collier

A very short, very eery story with a twist--you might have to listen to it more than once to understand it fully. Read by Scoot.

John Collier's novel His Monkey Wife is one of the most brilliant works of the 20th century--and his short stories are every one a treat.