A bi-weekly podcast to enrich your reading life that feels more like a book club! We’re your hosts, Mike and Jess Ptomey, and the only thing we like better than reading is talking about what we are reading with friends. In 2020 we’ll be reading short stories: two stories by a different author each month. So listen in and read along! Be sure to share your comments for each story on social media with the hashtag #thecatholicreadingchallenge.
This was our first time reading Waugh's short stories, and we really enjoyed them. Our discussion of these brief tales went in a lot of interesting directions, as we found that Waugh has a lot to say to use folk living in a world steeped in modern sentiments and philosophy.
On this episode we are talking about our September stories written by late 19th century author, Kate Chopin. Chopin's stories involve themes that challenged many social conventions of her time, but they also remain themes of significance for our time as well. We talk about marital relationships in "The Story of an Hour" and racial prejudice in "Desiree's Baby."
Edgar Allan Poe
We're talking about the stories of a master in this episode: Edgar Allan Poe. We selected "The Masque of Red Death" and "The Black Cat" for our reading community this month. They are entertaining stories to read, especially if you don't mind the darker bent of his themes and style. But they are also quite relevant to culture and times that we are currently living through. (By the way, we mention on this episode that we will go to one podcast episode per month for the rest of the year. We are still keeping to two story selections.)
Guy de Maupassant: "Ball-of-Fat"
While our first story this month was more lighthearted, with an emphasis on plot twist, this second one illumines heavier themes of human nature common to all times and all peoples. Our discussion of "Ball-of-Fat" invites us to consider how we overlook the darkness within our own souls and our justification of injustice to others in our lives.
Guy de Maupassant: "The Necklace"
This month we are reading stories by the French, prolific short story author Guy de Maupassant. In this episode we are talking about "The Necklace." Listeners may very well have read this story back during high school English class. If not, or if you don't remember it, then you will get a good sample of Maupassant's mastery at plot structure and twist. This story also includes one of his common theme of social class differences and distinctions.
Edward P. Jones
This month we read two stories by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones: "An Orange Line Train to Ballston" and "Gospel". Both share some common themes, and in this podcast episode we talk about how those themes reveal truth about the human experience, particularly truth about the human experience in Southeast DC. Jones is writing about his hometown and the people who call it home along with him; and for many readers, it may be a view of the city and its people they have never witnessed or acknowledged.