THE RULES: Click on the link for one or more of the stories. Read the story. Post a comment about the story, using the questions provided as a guideline. Respond to other comments about the story. Enjoy yourself.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Gift of the Magi

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, BY O. HENRY

1) Comment on the meaning of the following sentence in the fifth paragraph of the story: “She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard.”




2) What subtle clues are in the story that point towards the sort of person Jim actually is?





Monday, November 28, 2011

The Lady and the Tiger, by Frank Stockton

The Lady and the Tiger, by Frank Stockton


1) The story itself provides the question: Which came out of the door? The lady or the tiger?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The Battle for Teeka," by Edgar Rice Burroughs

"The Battle for Teeka" from The Jungle Tales of Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

1) Burroughs created a fictional species of apes to raise Tarzan. Did he create a believable species? Does their use of a spoken language add or detract from the story's versimilitide?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Superiority, by Arthur C Clarke

Superiority, by Arthur C. Clarke.

If you build more advanced weaponry, you can't help buy win a war. Right?

1) "Superiority" is a fairly straightforward war story leading up to a punch line at the end. Aside from being science fiction, would you classify it as an adventure story or a comedy?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

COUNTRY OF THE BLIND

The Country of the Blind, by H.G. Wells

Here's Wells' creepy story about a society in which every one is blind and a sighted man is considered insane.


1) How would YOU explain the concept of sight to the inhabitants of the blind society?

2) Wells wrote this as an allegory for how closed societies can become xenophobic and close-minded. Did he succeed in making these points?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

1) Does Ben Carruthers redeem himself at the end, or does he belong in the slammer for at least ten years? We have Watson's opinion, but do you agree?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg

The world's most competent butler once again helps out the world's most hapless boss.

Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg, by P.G. Wodehouse


Questions:

1) Did Jeeves have the whole plan in mind in advance, or do you think he improvised when the original plan apparently fell apart?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ALIBI IKE

A very, very funny tale about a baseball player who couldn't help but make excuses--even when he didn't have to.

ALIBI IKE, by Ring Lardner

1)Is Ike solely to blame for his romantic woes, or do the narrator and Carey bear some responsibility?

2) Do you think Ike can give his girl a happy home? Or will his need to make excuses and depart from the truth going to be a problem?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

It's time for another Sherlock Holmes story, because--well--he's SHERLOCK HOLMES!


The Adventure of the Speckled Band, by Arthur Conan Doyle

1) Would you categorize this story as a straight mystery, or as a horror/suspense tale? Or a combination of the two genres?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe.



1) It has been suggested by some critics that the narrator could actually be a woman. If this is the case, how does that change your perception of this story?




Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Man of No Account

THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT, by Bret Harte

A brief character study by Western writer Bret Harte.

1) Is David Fagg a "man of no account?" Or does he have qualities the narrator does not recognize?

Monday, June 20, 2011

THE QUEEN OF SPADES

The Queen of Spades, by Alexander Pushkin

1) Was Hermann telling the truth when he claimed his gun wasn't loaded, or was he just trying to excuse himself?

2) Does the story have a supernatural aspect to it, or was Hermann just going nuts and hearing voices?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rube

The Rube, by Zane Grey


1) Does Grey's play-by-play account of a baseball game generate excitement and suspense?

2) Does Grey's depiction of the lives of minor-league baseball players from a century ago make their lives sound appealing? Is it a job you would enjoy having if you had the requisite talent?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse

Jack Punpkinhead and the Sawhorse, by L. Frank Baum

1)Even granting that the squirrels were pretty mean about not sharing their nuts with the hungry kids, shouldn't there have been some effort to pay them back afterwards? The nuts were theirs, after all.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

RIKI TIKI TAVI

Riki Tiki Tavi, by Rudyard Kipling


1. Do you feel any sympathy for Nag or Nageena at all? It can be argued that--from their point-of-view--they were trying to make a safe home for their many children. Does Kipling giving them evil personalities make them effective villains?

2. Does Kipling achieve a "Suspension of Disbelief?" Do you accept the story as "real" even though the animals can think and communicate with one another?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Allamagoosa, by Eric Frank Russell

ALLAMAGOOSA, by Eric Frank Russell

A very funny science fiction tale first published in 1955.


1) Would you rate Captain McNaught as a good commanding officer or a bad one?

2) Does the story seem "realistic" in terms of how military bureaucracy works in real life?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, by Arthur Conan Doyle

Another tale of the Great Detective. It contains Dr. Watson's Crowning Moment of Awesome.



1) Is Holmes justified in breaking the law--either in his decision to commit burglary or his decision in keeping quiet about what he saw in Milverton's home?

2) There's another moral point the story passes over rather glibly: What do you think of Holmes' decision to woo a woman while in disguise, then just disappear from her life after getting engaged?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shadow of the Vulture

Shadow of the Vulture, by Robert E Howard

This is a novella, so it's a little longer than some of our other offerings.

1) Do you think Gottfried and Sonya remain together as partners after the siege of Vienna ends? If so, will they be "Brothers in arms" or something more?

2) Can any male read this story and NOT fall in love with Red Sonya? How cool is she?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allen Poe

1) We are never told what Fortunato did or said to offend the narrator. Do you believe Fortunato really did insult him or was it largely in the narrator's imagination?

2) Is it possible, based on the last few sentences, that the narrator didn't intend to kill Fortunato, but only scare him? That he walled up Fortunato only after the man had died of fright?

The Most Dangerous Game

The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell

1) Is General Zaroff a believable villain? Do you accept his motivation for doing what he does as reasonable within the context of his incredible pride and lack of humanity?

2) Do you regret not getting to "see" the final battle between Rainsford and Zaroff--or is the way its set up a much more effective finale?

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Ransom of Red Chief, by O Henry

1) Whom do you consider the protagonist(s) of this story: Sam & Bill or the boy? Whom do you root for?

2) Do you think Sam and Bill are capable of having a successful career as criminals?

Pickman's Model

Pickman's Model, by H.P. Lovecraft

1) Does the story build suspense effectively? Does the "telling a story to a friend" structure help or hinder this?

2) Is the ending an effective twist or is it too predictable?

The Red-Headed League

The Red-Headed League, by Arthur Conan Doyle

1) Are Holmes' deductions as sound as Watson says, or is it possible to punch holes in the plot?

2) A TV adaptation of this story added Professor Moriarty to the plot, revealing that the villains here were a part of his organization. Does this idea add to the enjoyment of the story, or is it an unnecessary addition?

Worms of the Earth

Worms of the Earth, by Robert E Howard.

Question 1: Would you define Bran Mak Morn's quest as being motivated by vengeance or by justice?

Question 2: Was Bran justified in seeking aid from a Chaotic Evil magical source, regardless of his end intentions?