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I know, I know, I’m late for Bloomsday, and at this point, I thought you’d have forgotten. My friends, why haven’t you forgotten? I mean, you surely know that the world is breaking the sound barrier with how fast it seems to be going to wherever this cozy handbasket might be taking it, wherever it is handbaskets go. But there you are, thinking abou…
 
Some of you may remember the sweet sounds of Patrick Scott from earlier Miette Bailouts. When I put out the call for guest readers, he was quick to the case. But Patrick’s a busy guy, now that he’s a famous filmmaker, and so when you listen to his lustrous interpretation of Flannery O’Connor, you will pick up the occasional whirr of what seems a lo…
 
If you know Sam Jones from various internet outlets, you will be neither surprised nor disappointed that he chose to read Walser for his guest stint here. However, if you know Sam Jones from various internet outlets alone, you might not know that his is not unlike the disembodied voice in your head that reads you to sleep, all silky and warm and ju…
 
The voice you are about to hear is not my own, though today’s guest narrator insists his distinctive lilt can be attributed to “equal parts whisky, speed, and diction practice.” Which means that it’s probably closer to my voice than we’d think at first listen. And so, I would appreciate no murmured speculation on rhinoplastic nasal blockage or test…
 
I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been trying to Have A Summer over here, an effort thwarted by an adverse reaction to allergens purportedly getting caught up in butterfly currents on the other side of the world. Either that, or it’s the Romantic Lady Writer’s Disease, which would be fine by me, inasmuch as any anachronistic way to go down is fine by…
 
Bloomsday is here again, as you surely know, and as is my ritual, here’s another story from the Dubliners. This is the 7th such reading, and sometimes, the thought of keeping this up for eight more years to finish the collection is one I tend to avoid. But to keep things spicy in the meantime and extend the celebration, I have recorded a hidden bon…
 
I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinkin…
 
Whenever an internet missive or twit crosses my screen with Kyle Minor’s name attached, I open it up in awe of his apparently continual reading and writing and thinking acutely about the finer side of the bookish life. I don’t know whether this relentless pursuit of the craft can be had without a truckload of drugs, but I also think the drugs neces…
 
I hadn’t read Frank O’Connor’s stories in a very long time– he fell into the gutter of authors I’d studied to a point of boredom as a student, and while I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life sweeping those gutters and asking absolution from what I’d swept up, it took a while to get back to O’Connor. I’d associated him so closely, in the vast neth…
 
Fernando Pessoa has been a long-standing point of not insignificant fixation in the writerly pursuits of Your Faithful (If Not Schedularly Published) Storyteller, for reasons that will be forehead-smackingly obvious to some of you. As for the rest of you, rather than stand around in the dark, I welcome you to take a guess. Should you want that gues…
 
There’s a quite decent independent bookstore in the town in which I’m staying this week, a bookstore that will be closing soon for all the usual reasons. I plan to spend a fair amount of time later this morning vulturing my way through this store, and walk out picking my teeth with unsold reading lights and hauling overstuffed bags full of firesale…
 
Are your toes frozen? I hope not. Especially if you’re as big of a pansy about the weather as I am. Because the weather knows this about me and is a relentless jerk about this, my revenge is in the form of a seaside adventure story based largely on southern waters. Which is, admittedly, analogous to bringing double your milk money to school and han…
 
Well, here we are having taken yet another circumnavigatory Gregorian tour together, and I hope that you’ve put away your party hats and crackers and are back to the grind, having disregarded all the unreasonable expectations you made of yourselves for the coming months. Because I have nothing but sympathy: it’s too cold to get up and run ten miles…
 
If you’ve been listening for a while, you may know that I have an unfortunate habit of whining, incessantly and irrepressibly, in those months when the cold has rendered my extremities indistinguishable from assorted varieties of freezer section meats. It’s a problem I’ve known about, it’s one that those around me suffer in kind on behalf of all of…
 
This story is brought to you by a very nice man named Jake, who requested it a while ago, and when I read Philip K Dick instead last week, expressed some disappointment. People of the internet and listeners of these stories, please know that I don’t handle disappointment well. If you ever want to bully me into giving you my lunch money, just tell m…
 
I got kicked in the inspiration after that bit of Nabokov (he has that effect), and was determined to give you new stories at least weekly. I’d cleared my schedule to dedicate more time to only these more self-satisfying projects, and then, disaster struck, in the name of green-biled phlegm and rancor of bronchitis. So, I’ve spent the past few week…
 
It had been some years since I’ve read any Nabokov, which I can only blame a youthful use of mind-shrinking substances or a two-mile-long to-read list. But recently, I made a full-length audiobook of Dustin Long’s Icelander, whose completion set me on a mission. I’m not going to shill Icelander too much (ahem, only five bucks! And I get a piece!), …
 
The very first words of Gore Vidal’s foreword to Alfred Chester’s collected stories (Head of a Sad Angel): Although it has been my misfortune to have at practically all the noted American writers of the last half century, I did have the great good luck never to have so much as glimpsed Alfred Chester. He was, by every account, a genuine monster who…
 
Not long ago, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being deeply ensconced in a marvelous book while on a crowded public transportation system. “Nothing unfortunate about that, Miette,” you’ve said. I heard you. The unfortunate thing was that the title of the book, when viewed from across a subway car, can seem offensive. And was seen as of…
 
It’s that time of year, my dears, where I’m about to head off to foreign parts for what’s known in various circles as “vacation,” “holidays,” or “days spent without LCD bathing.” I can’t believe it, either, actually, and am not sure I’ll be able to pull off things like “relaxing” and “not having much of anything to do,” which have only existed as v…
 
I know; this is two posts in a row that make direct mention of ladies’ underthings. I have three very good reasons for this: 1> the last post was James Joyce, who can hardly be noted without mention of underthings OR orificial expulsions. And underthings are far pleasanter for that particular task. 2> this post features a rare appearance by my frie…
 
Looking at the Bloomsday readings I’ve done to date, it’s evident that my written prefaces have become an absurd equivalent of squealing fangirlish bra-tossing. I may (OR MAY NOT!) be an excellent bra-tosser with perfect aim and pitch, and we all know that Joyce wouldn’t be one to have a problem with women’s undergarments tossed his way. But my fir…
 
A disclaimer for you on this happy June that will become self-evident soon enough: I love this story. I could read it a thousand times over and give you a thousand different insights. I love it in the peepish and borderline obsessive way its narratrice experiences love. Love it, in its own words, “as a mouse might love the hand that cleans the cage…
 
A few days ago, I took a little trip to Toronto, where the jazz singers scat to sheet music, where wine is poured long before noon, and where the best booksellers refuse to serve the likes of me. While there, I spent a day in rooms full of brainy people as obsessive as I am about books and reading and great literature and using technology in the se…
 
Last week’s New Yorker magazine included a series of letters written by Saul Bellow to other writers. I’ve often thought epistolary exchange between writers to be the most nettly of writing, both the most effusive and the most sincere, the most pretentious and the most vein-splittingly self-conscious. It’s hard to get it right. (An aside: I know, s…
 
I’ve been wanting to read James Hanley to you for a couple of months now, ever since he was reintroduced to me a few months ago while I was yearning for a bathematic submergence in a foreign hotel. So much of it was grim and wintery and lonesome, and while this was all right smack up my own personal bowling alley, I wasn’t about to take you down th…
 
I read recently about toxic bread in a sleepy French village, about mass hallucinations and the newly revealed hypothesis that the CIA was responsible for covert LSD experiments. Apparently, the same thing might have happened in the subways of New York. And suddenly, so much is explained, especially as pertains to cockroach-squashing memories. Thes…
 
I have a good excuse to spare you my blathery scrawl about the show-stopping beauty in this story — the hot cats at Electric Literature have done so in a flashier way, and before you even tap the PLAY button on your baubly mp3 players, you ought to watch this: Nice, right? Apparently an artist named Luca Dipierro is to blame. But it’s time to forci…
 
Sometimes I think you haven’t lived until you’ve been given the shoulder by a drunken horse in a bar. Other times I think the very stuff of life happens from being the drunken horse in a bar. But usually, it has to do with neither of these things, and I’m fairly certain that none of it would be worth the slightest damn if there was no Queneau to ne…
 
The other day I was walking through a blistering, blustery, blinding-white below-zero snowstorm, cursing the day I decided not to live on a Caribbean island, and doubly cursing the day I decided not to be born with antifreeze for blood. Because if I had been born with antifreeze for blood, I’d probably have other alien characteristics as well, such…
 
So, I know very little about the author of tonight’s story. He has no Wikipedia page in any language that I can gather, one used copy of an out-of-print collection of stories available in English (that I can cursorily find, anyhow), and a slight dusting of a presence in literary anthologies, including one in which I dusted off this. In fact, the on…
 
Oh, aren’t we lucky!? A double-bluffed, double-dipped, double-headed dose of Isaac Babel. When you’ve had a listen here and discover that you’re still running low on your recommended daily serving of Babel, you might head here to find a new recording of an old reading of another one. And because I’m not above shallow attempts to inveigle you into l…
 
I can think of nothing more apt for the rounding-out of a year than a fleeting little fable on outplaying inevitability. If you’re anything like me, Inevitability is one collector you’ve managed to send off-course at least once this year, and that itself is cause for champagne. Happy New Decade to all, but especially to those who continue to believ…
 
There was a time when I was little (and I was so cute, and so little!) when I wanted to be Jane Bowles. I was obsessed with the puppet show, unhealthily so, though thinking back now, I can’t think of any self-respecting adult who’d have introduced such a cute little thing to it. But so I did not grow up to be Jane Bowles, nor a master puppeteer, th…
 
I’m more than a little eager to introduce this bit of Jean Stafford– in fact, the last time I was this eager, I was about to jump out of an airplane, an activity I was undertaking using age-faked identification, which was, to the best of my memory, the only time I’ve ever vomited directly onto the feet of an airplane pilot (the pilot then said this…
 
My friends, a confession: I am a sucker. Little stray kittens and musty books and vegetably steamed dumplings…. these things were basically made for me. And stories like this belong on the list of things for which I’m a true sucker, and by “like this” I don’t necessarily mean Austrian (though I don’t mean “decidedly not Austrian” either). And I don…
 
For those of you who will not be spending the weekend dressed scandalously and behaving just as badly, or scaring young children, or throwing personal hygiene product in the trees of your enemies, here’s a quick little bit of badinage to keep you in the mood. Note: includes an outburst of wicked laughter. You’re welcome.…
 
It was recommended some time ago by a guy named Alex that I read the entire four-story cycle of The Rajah’s Diamond, and it is a request I’ll perhaps fill someday. I’m in the throes of a mini Stevenson obsession right now, so it seems the proper and selfish thing to do. But for now, I wanted to warn you that as an aperitif, what I’m offering here i…
 
It’s probably one of the better things in life — right up there with creative breakthroughs and lasting love and the slurp of streetside oysters — to have one’s hat tipped to new and great authors. In my case, it doesn’t happen often, because I’m finicky and discriminating with my own tastes, or as others have said, snotty. Some of my closest frien…
 
So I have this tendency, as you may have noticed, to take a sharp left at matters of personal divulgences, which is a difficult thing to pull off today, given the severity and somber-ity of a story like this one. But so, okay, here you go, three very revealing facts about my own self to accompany a story of introspect and plaintivity and other word…
 
Can I tell you something about my speculative fiction habits? Of course I can– this my barroom restroom wall and the red marker’s in my slimy mitt. Here’s the thing: I just love stories about sentient animals. I can’t get enough of talking dogs or super-intelligent rats or telekinetic polar bears– this is the stuff of unconditional love. And I know…
 
Well, I’ve been reading some unavoidable news about Death Panels and baby killing nazi zombies terrorizing in the Norwegian mountains and all sorts of incessant catfighty nastiness which I suppose our world can take, given that it’s really all pretty hopeless, when confronted by the threat of health care. Or zombies. And I didn’t really think about…
 
The other day I was lying in the woods, on a hammock on a mountaintop, reading aloud to young people, and wondered, for a second, why there was no professional job market for reading aloud on hammocks to young people, why there isn’t a real market demand for just such a role and why imagined salaries for such work wouldn’t rival those of morally qu…
 
Oh-h-h-hhhh ladies! Oh men and oh boys and girls, the sexiest man alive is BACK. Patrick has been threatening to start up Patrick’s Bedtime Story Podcast, and with a voice this smooth, he might have to do it, much as I’d miss his occasional guest posts here. I’ll warn you that there’s an outburst of laughter in the middle of this that I didn’t have…
 
Breece D’J Pancake was brought to my attention only a couple of years ago, one of those writers who didn’t leave a whole lot left behind for us to gluttonously swallow, and one who was willing to grab the short story by the balls of its form and steer it where he wanted. In his forward to the collection of Pancake’s stories, James Alan McPherson qu…
 
I’m so excited about Bloomsday that I’m sharing the love a day early this year. In fact, I was so excited that I almost went ahead and read all the stories from Dubliners that I haven’t yet done for you, but then it hit me that I’d have to move forward next year with my plan to do Ulysses in its entirety. And, well, I don’t know if I have the pipes…
 
Twice now I’ve sat down to read something from Isak Dinesen’s Winter’s Tales , and twice when pawing through for a good story, I’ve ended up spending hours re-reading the stories in here, to the point of distracted negligence, but to the point of great self-satisfaction nevertheless. One day I’ll just relent and read them all to you, but that’d be …
 
Okay, okay, you all keep asking for me to read writers you know, and I keep dipping into the well of obscurity to pick up writers you’ve never heard of. I know! I’ll read the writers you know, maybe, but you have to tell me which ones you want to hear. And until you do, I’m just going to continue to flip over rocks and turn up amazing archeoliterar…
 
It’s always a little weird to me to read a sports story, with idioms like “burning one in” that are just so far removed from my patois that I can barely even get my mouth to go in that direction. And it’s equally odd to try and project teenage boy-speak, because it’s been quite a while since I’ve taken an interest in the mannerisms of teenage boys.…
 
Boy, I sure am all kinds of flushed with the Scandinavs these days. Maybe it’s my compassion for others plying their way through long cold winters, or maybe it’s my assertion that gravlaks is a flawless food, or maybe it’s just what they’re willing to pay for a beer is a most resonant sacrifice. Or maybe they’re just loaded with great writers. But …
 
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