Saturday, March 26, 2005

"The Angry Street" by G. K. Chesterton

A story that isn't a story is still a story, isn't it? This improbable tale concerns a street that goes to heaven--and the gentleman who caused it to do just that. Don't worry if that doesn't make much sense; that's just Chesterton. Read by Scoot.

A boyhood favorite of Borges and a writer who might have in some ways anticipated the absurdist authors who came along later in the century, G. K. Chesterton was also the weaver of more conventional mysteries, such as the Father Brown series. This odd little account was originally a newspaper offering and then collected in the appropriately titled Tremendous Trifles.

Friday, March 25, 2005

"Mr. Andrews" by E. M. Forster

Mr. Andrews is your typical English middle-class man from the first half of the twentieth century, and naturally he wants to get into a nice tidy Anglican heaven. God--or gods--forbid he should find anyone not of his own or closely related religious persuasion among the occupants! Read by Scoot.

Before he was colonized by Merchant-Ivory, E. M. Forster made a tolerable living writing witty, sophisticated novels about Englishmen at home or abroad and short stories that often, surprisingly enough, deal with the supernatural, the surreal, and even science fiction. Though we associate him so strongly with the Edwardians, he lived to see the Beatles split up and just missed out on glam rock.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ex libris

We're exiting our library and will be gone book-fishing for a couple days, but promise to be back with fresh stories we've hooked for this weekend. Please keep the fire well-fed while we're away--our leather-clad volumes especially like that.

Tremendous thanks for the tremendous response we've received by way of hits and circulation out there (far more than we ever expected). We're happy if you're listening, if only for a few minutes every once in a while. And if you can't listen--read a book instead!

Many of these stories are new to our readers, including yours truly, and read for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) as we record. So it's not surprising that we stumble sometimes, put the emphasis on the wrong word, or even mispronounce a word or two or twenty. Your patience with our amateur standards is greatly appreciated.

--Scoot & Jones the Incredible Bibliophilic Dog

"The Munroes Find a Terminal"

This shaggy-dog story actually does involve a dog, though he never quite shows up in the story. And we never quite get to the terminal, either--though the way there is quite amusing. Read by Stephen McCauley.

Thurber's Dogs is the collection from which we draw this story by the beloved American humorist, who is almost as well known for his quirky drawings as his essays, fables, anecdotes, and sundry fiction.

Stephen McCauley is another American writer of some standing, also with a satiric bent, and he has his own website where you can find out more about his novels or just his fabulous life in general:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"The Other Lodgers" by Ambrose Bierce

A ghostly hotel. Or a hotel for ghosts. A very short tale about someone who definitely should have looked at Expedia or Priceline before booking that room. Read by Scoot.

The Devil's Dictionary is Ambrose Bierce's most enduring book; the American fabulist was last seen following Pancho Villa in Mexico (or so some say) and hasn't answered his email since. You're probably already familiar with "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge."

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Daffodils" by Elizabeth Bowen

It's spring at last! So Miss Murcheson buys some daffodils from the flower-man and sets this brisk tale in motion. Read by Denise Donnelly.

Born at the end of the nineteenth century in Ireland but thoroughly English in ancestry, Elizabeth Bowen wrote many, many short stories between novels such as The Last September and Eva Trout. (Or maybe we should say she wrote novels between her many short stories.)

Denise Donnelly is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction; her journalism includes Falcon's Cry, a book she co-authored with her brother about Gulf War Syndrome.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

"Before the Law" by Franz Kafka

Is life but one long wait? Are we all being deceived? Is there such a thing as actual justice? Listen and decide. Translated from the German by Willa and Edmund Muir and read by Scoot.

Franz Kafka's enigmatic parables, stories, and novels could hardly be described here, but one should seek out more from this author who reinvented storytelling in a post-Freudian and war-torn twentieth century. "The Metamorphosis" is the story you probably had to read in high school or college, but it's much funnier than you might remember.