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Showing posts from August, 2013

Jack London's The Call of The Wild - Free Release Through The Classic Tales Podcast

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This week, we embark on a five week journey with Buck, a St. Bernard Scotch-Collie who begins life as a happy pet and through bad luck and careless men, ends up as an Alaskan sled dog.  This is one of  Jack London's most beloved books, The Call of the Wild.  London got his inspiration from a hard year he spent living in the Yukon, where he gathered material for many of his books.

This book has always been popular.  It was immediately well received by critics and earned London a place in the canon of the great American novel.  You probably read it as a kid when you were in school.  If you have a kid, s/he's probably brought it home (or will soon).  And I'm sure you loved it, and so does your kid.

It is my theory that the reason that book has been in the school syllabus for the past 50 years or so, is that it is such a wild ride, such a great read.  It helps teachers to instil a love of literature in youngsters who are also dealing with harder books, like Shakespeare's R…

Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death - Free Release Through The Classic Tales Podcast

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This week, B.J. Harrison and The Classic Tales bring back Edgar Allan Poe with the incredibly disturbing Gothic Tale of "The Masque of the Red Death."  May I suggest you listen to this during a sunny walk outside, just to balance even a modicum of darkness in the story.

This story revolves around Prince Prospero's attempt at hiding himself and some of his wealthy friends from a plague within the rooms of his abbey.  It doesn't end well.

Although some critics warn against reading the story allegorically, I honestly don't know how you can avoid it.  B.J.'s introduction to the story is very helpful in understanding some of the symbolism Poe uses:

• Consider the symbolism of the rooms. They are placed east to west. East is traditionally considered having to do with birth, while - the blue room, which is furthest to the east, represents birth or beginnings. Things that vanish in the west typically have to do with endings, even as the sun sets. So the suite of roo…