May 9, 1993 |
Call me old-hat if you want. I passed up some bodice-ripping romance audio, some rah-rah sports collections and the Princeton Review's vocabulary builder for some classic short stories. And I'm not sorry. In a mushrooming industry, where every company seems to be trying to find its niche, two relatively new firms are mining the treasure trove of short classics and putting out some top-notch recordings at not-bad prices. If the classics are stuffy - and that's arguable - Rick Spencer's approach is anything but. His recordings, on the Spencer Library label (800-934-6000)
September 16, 1988 |
It is said that a little whimsy goes a long way unless one has a strong tolerance for it. Either my tolerance is dangerously high, or Aaron Posner, who adapted and directed the trio of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short stories that last night served to introduce us to the newly constituted Arden Theatre Co., is the last man in America with a sure touch for regulating the orderly flow of whimsy. When last checked, my tolerance was safely medium-low, so I must conclude that Posner, who is the artistic director of the company, is some kind of sensitive fellow.
August 17, 1991 |
Because The Good Doctor is an adapation to the stage of short stories by Anton Chekhov, the title can be assumed to refer both to Chekhov's ability as a writer and his alternate profession of physician. But there may be something more to the title than this obvious connection. Neil Simon, who wrote the play, has had the nickname "Doc" since he was a child. He is also known as a play "doctor," adept at improving scripts by other writers. Could The Good Doctor, the current production at Hedgerow Theater, be a sly reference by Simon to himself and his treatment of Chekhov?
November 24, 2012
By Junot Diaz Riverhead Books. 213 pp. $26.95 Reviewed by Martha Woodall In the words of the MacArthur Foundation, which recently awarded him a $500,000 "genius grant," Junot Diaz is "a fiction writer using vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle. " True enough. But those measured words fail to convey the dazzle, punch, sly wit, and subtle gravitas that this Dominican-born storyteller packs into his narratives.
November 4, 1992 |
Antonio Turzo, 83, of Roxborough, a charming, cocky Italian immigrant who came to America to be an actor and wound up selling insurance and writing short stories instead, died Sunday at Roxborough Memorial Hospital. Mr. Turzo was a stocky 5-foot-8 and handsome, with curly chestnut hair and green eyes. Though he never became king of the stage, said his daughter, Laura Turzo, he fancied himself a king and he usually got what he wanted. "One thing I learned from him was to be aggressive and not be afraid of authority," she said.
April 26, 2011 |
ON FRIDAY, the most famous Philadelphia author that you've never heard of will be the toast of bookish New York when she promenades in to a "literary debutante ball" at a factory loft building deep in hipster Brooklyn. Writer Robin Black will be one of five literary debs in the limelight that night celebrating the publication of their first books. Hers is a collection of short stories, 2010's If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This . She'll also be a duck out of water. Just shy of 50, Black is a lot of things: a serious new voice in fiction with a big contract at Random House and a national book tour next month, the recipient of rave reviews from TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey's O magazine and NPR, a former Penn law student (briefly)
March 29, 1990 |
Some book recordings are made with the narrator reading into a microphone in a closet-size soundproof box, isolated from the distracting noise of the world. These studios - the better ones - pay tens of thousands of dollars to get these high-tech bins, and the crisp, immediate quality elevates these recordings far above their muffled, distant counterparts. It seemed the only way to go - until I heard some recordings with the reader on a stage in a huge former movie house, with a full audience of 900 coughing and laughing and clapping its way through the whole thing.
October 20, 2012 |
You wouldn't know from a reading of Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination that his dead wife showed up on stilts to dance with him one night. You wouldn't suspect from the richness of his poetry and short stories that Poe and his family were starved for calories for much of their lives. And you wouldn't guess from the bitter obituary written by his literary executor and rival Rufus Griswold - who claimed that Poe "had few or no friends" and that few would grieve for him - that his reading public not only adored Poe, but would soon elevate him to the status of dark literary god. Nothing about Poe seems obvious: not the literary squabbles that cost him the support and admiration of people who could have furthered his career; not the scandals surrounding his flirtations with drugs, booze, and married women; not even the details of his mysterious death in a Baltimore hospital.
July 27, 1989 |
"May you be 10 years dying!" Rosaleen O'Toole shrieks at a neighbor who has insulted her. What a line! Katherine Anne Porter has a gift for the spoken word. She relates events through conversations that alternately jolt and caress. Although Porter was perhaps most widely known for her novel Ship of Fools, it was her short stories that brought her the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966, when she was 76 years old. She died in 1980. In anticipation of next year's centenary of Porter's birth, Audio Partners has re-released a recording of some of her short stories, read by actress Siobhan McKenna, a longtime friend of Porter's.
July 24, 2002 |
Chaim Potok, the onetime rabbi who wrote "The Chosen" and other critically acclaimed novels about Jewish life, died yesterday in his home in Merion, Montgomery County. He was 73. Potok, who suffered from brain cancer, had recently been dictating a new novel to his wife, Adena, the family said. His novels often illustrate the conflict between spiritual and secular worlds. "The Chosen," published in 1967 and Potok's first and best-known novel, follows the friendship between two Jewish boys from different religious backgrounds.