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LitReading - Classic Short Stories

LitReading - Classic Short Stories

Don McDonald

Humans have shared stories for millennia. For most of that time, telling tales was a verbal process. A storyteller would regale an audience with accounts of adventure, bravery, compassion, despair, enlightenment, and fear. Stories were a shared experience, until the advent of inexpensive mass-printing processes in the 19th century which allowed most of us to read to ourselves. Yet, that desire to have a story read aloud is still ingrained in our collective soul.

While we still read books for pleasure, most of today’s stories are told via newer forms of visual media like movies and television. Consuming stories via any visual medium requires an active commitment to the process. You probably shouldn’t read a book or watch a TV program while driving, but your brain still craves a good story.

An audio book is suitable for a long road trip. But what about those times when you only have a few minutes? Enter the audio short story.

Allow me to help you fill those moments and fulfill your need for a captivating tale with readings of some of the world’s greatest literary masters best brief works.

My love of the spoken word has been honed by a more than 30-year career in radio and voice acting with a modicum of performance passion from decades of stage performances.

This venture is my hobby (I have a great full-time job), so much of the content is free of cost. I hope you enjoy them.

If you would like to share thoughts or comments, please drop me a line. If you enjoy these stories, please spread the word, subscribe, and leave a review on your favorite podcast service.

Thanks for stopping by,
Don McDonald

167 - The Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho
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  • 167 - The Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho

    Life in the ancient world was often brutal and cruel. Resources were often limited leading to leaders ruthless edicts. In this old Japanese folktale, a young peasant is faced with an impossible decision.

    Matsuo Basho, one of Japan’s most famous poets, was born 1644 and is known for creating the poetic style that eventually evolved into what are now known as haikus.

    Sat, 18 Jun 2022
  • 166 - A Slice of Life by P. G. Wodehouse

    This witty tale is about a veritable snake-oil salesman who uses his wares to help win the love of a beautiful young ward of an English Baronet.

    British author P. G. Woodhouse was one of the mid-20th century’s most popular humorists – on both side of the Atlantic. He was also a lyricist and screenwriter. While living in France a the beginning of World War II, he was imprisoned by Germany, for whom he made some controversial broadcasts. After the war he and his wife Edith moved to the United States.

    Mon, 06 Jun 2022
  • 165 - The Man with Two Lives by Ambrose Bierce

    Here is the perfect story for those times when you need to fill a few minutes with entertainment. This tale is a surreal story of a 19th century soldier traversing a dangerous section of the the Great Plains on foot to deliver dispatches from one Old West fort to another.

    Having served in the Union Army, Ambrose Bierce was one of the greatest authors of short war stories and macabre tales. We feature a number of his stories here on Litreading, including his most famous, “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”

    In his search for new material about which to write, he crossed the border into Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th Century and never returned.

    Wed, 02 Mar 2022
  • 164 - The Haunted Mind by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Since the dawn of our species, we have been bewildered by about that strange period of altered consciousness that occurs just before, during, and at the end of our daily slumber.
    Our next story expressively explores this activity that we all share and which still eludes understanding.

    This piece was more of an observational essay than a classic short story. Its author, Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the young United States most brilliant fiction writers. Even today, his tales retain as much power as they had all most two centuries ago. His most famous novels were published at the dawn of the 1850s, “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of the Seven Gables.”

    Tue, 22 Feb 2022
  • 163 - That's Marriage by Edna Ferber

    Marriage takes the simple concept of procreation and turns it into a lifelong commitment that can, at times, lead to unexpected anger and resentment. As Mark Twain once said, "God's great cosmic joke on the human race was requiring that men and women live together in marriage.” Anyone who has ever been married will see parallels to their own partnerships.

    Despite the fact that Edna Ferber never married, she was an astute observer of people. That led her to great success as a writer. Her 1925 novel, "So Big," was a best-seller and won Ferber a Pulitzer Prize. The book was made into three movies. Her subsequent book, "Show Boat" was turned into a popular musical and her 1952 book "Giant" was the seed for the popular move of the same name starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean.

    Mon, 14 Feb 2022
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