LitReading - Classic Short Stories

LitReading - Classic Short Stories

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 all of the content is free of cost and commercials. I hope you enjoy them. If you have a public domain story you would like read or 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... Show More

Episodes

August 5, 2020 12 min
I am a big fan of dogs and am fascinated with their non-verbal communication skills. I also enjoy dog stories and the writing of O. Henry, so what could be better to end season two of Litreading than a dog story written by O. Henry.

Each season of Litreading stretches from fall until mid-summer, giving me time for a family hiatus. In this one, I’m going to be moving to a new home in western Virginia, where I am also building a new ...
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We all have our particular foibles and phobias. Today’s humorous short story focuses on one whose greatest fear is of banks. Would that be ripiaphobia?
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June 28, 2020 27 min
Life can deal any of us some terrible blows. In this semi-auto biographical tale we explore the life of a once wealthy merchant, Jimmy Rose
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June 14, 2020 22 min
Here is a wonderfully nostalgic tale of a time when boys could enjoy a taste of freedom, share ideas, and let’s their imaginations run wild, before the responsibilities of life overrode such fancies. You're invited to get lost at the foot of "The Enchanted Bluff."

Willa Cather published "The Enchanted Bluff" in "Harper's Magazine" in 1909 during a period when her writing skills were blossoming in stor...
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In this episode, we go on an adventure off the coast of South America, as a famous big game hunter finds himself stranded on an island where hunting has been elevated to a new and frightening level. It’s time to play “The Most Dangerous Game.”

"The Most Dangerous Game" has been called "the most popular story ever written in English" and was made into a 1932 movie. It’s author, Richard Connell was one of the most famo...
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In the 19th century, the United States was as diverse from region to region as were the country’s of Europe, except for the fact that we spoke some semblance of the same language. However, the language divide between proper Easern American English and that of the the inhabitants of the West could, at times be vast.

Samuel Clemens was born in Florida in 1835, but it wasn’t until 27 years later that his alter ego, Mark Twain, came int...
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In the early 19th century country a farmer is murdered in his home. While investigated, local authorities task a local women with gathering a few things for the wife who was arrested for the crime.

Susan Glaspell wrote a one-act play which she adapted into "A Jury of Her Peers” It is loosely based on a murder covered while working as a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News.
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During these stressful times, forced into close quarters with those we love. we may find ourselves growing angry when a softer approach tends to me far more effective as is illustrated in this story.

Mary Roberts Rinehart is yet another fine example of a talented early 20th Century authors. Known as The American Agatha Christie, she is best known for her mystery stories. A character in her 1920 play “The Bat” was the inspiration for...
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May 5, 2020 14 min
Charles Dickens was a constant observer of the plight of his fellows and critical of the divisions between humanity’s strata. In this deep and poignant parable of mankind’s need to be recognized by others he arrives at the conclusion that in the end, despite our apparent differences, we are all same.
Dickens wrote "Nobody’s Story" to honor those who toil in anonymity and suffer quietly. It was originally published in 1853 as...
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Women’s health issues have long been explained away as emotional issues due to their role as the “weaker sex.” Serious illnesses were diagnosed as nothing more than hysteria and rest was prescribed. This ignorance of women’s real health problems is brilliantly portrayed in this haunting tale of a woman driven to the brink.

The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman actually suffered a horrible case of post partum depression for which she ...
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April 16, 2020 7 min
How times have changed. Just over a century ago, women were still fighting for the right to vote and the prevailing belief among men was that they were too emotional and fragile to do so. Our next story takes place, ironically, in a fictional Britain in the wake of a great plague. Join me as we travel back to a very different world in Hermann the Irascible by Saki

Saki was the nome de plume of British author, H.H. Munro who was a pr...
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When the plans for a top-secret British defense project are stolen and the apparent thief is found dead, the government turns to legendary detective Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery and find the documents.
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March 27, 2020 29 min
We have been sharing stories with each other since the beginning of time. On occasion these tales have been known to grow a bit tall, as was the case when four elderly seamen spent an evening with a widow sharing a variety of yarns each one wilder than the next. Then the wood adds a tale of her own.

Frank Stockton was a 19th century author and humorist with an uncanny knack for poking fun a human failings. One of his most famous sto...
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What began as a street brawl on a winter evening in Boston, became one the biggest sparks to help ignite the American revolution. 250 years ago, on March 5th 1770, anger over the British housing troops among civilians in Massachusetts boiled over into what the British called the Incident on King Street but was referred to my early Americans as "The Boston Massacre."

To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the seminal event i...
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Happiness has always been elusive, usually found in unexpected places and, often, in the wake of the worst life events

In this heart-warming story, an affluent couple discovers what is truly important in life in the wake of both a fiscal and physical tragedy.

Kathleen Norris was, for a time, the highest paid female writer in early 20th-century America.
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February 3, 2020 12 min
The lure of an illicit affair is not a new facet of human nature. People have been both tempting and tempted throughout time. But for a sudden twist of fate, our next story might have ended badly for everyone involved.

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a 19th-century French author considered one the era greatest short storyist spinning realistic tales of the human condition
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January 17, 2020 21 min
Virginia Woolf demonstrates how simply focusing on one thing has the power to unleash torrents of thoughts and memories.

Born Adeline Virginia Stephen in 1882, British author Virginia Woolf went on to become an icon of modern 20th century literature.
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January 3, 2020 17 min
Here is a biting satire of Victorian Era British upper class from the perspective of the family cat who gains a startling new skill.

Saki was the pen name of British author, H.H. Munro who was one of true masters of the short story.
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Sometimes we fall so far that we are tempted to cross lines we never would have in better times. Feelings of inadequacy can become particularly acute during the holiday season, when we see so much apparent happiness. Our next story about one woman’s fall from grace and her Christmas redemption.

Brilliant short story author, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman ’s "A Stolen Christmas" was published in Harper's Bazaar on December 24, 1...
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How many times have you read “A Christmas Carol” or seen it performed. Every year millions of families rewatch classic Christmas movies like “It a Wonderful Life,” "A Christmas Story" or even "Christmas Vacation?"

For some reason these traditions never get old and create a sense of comfort in their ritual. There are a few short stories that occupy a similar place in our hearts. Like this special holiday reading of O....
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