Reading Circle



One key to enjoying literature is to understand the full meanings of words.  For this you need a dictionary that provides etymologies. Refer to:   Online Etymology Dictionary

Another key is to understand the cultural background and historical context of the tale.  For this an encyclopedia is invaluable.  Refer to:  Wikipedia

A structured approach to analysis is useful in preparing for discussion.  Try starting with these points:

  • Ideas and Themes
  • Plot and Character Development
  • Vocabulary and Phrasing
  • Images and Symbols
  • Historical and Mythic Considerations
  • Apparent Aims and Objectives of the Author
  • Emotional and Rational Responses by the Reader


A recommended collection, with biographies and criticism, is: 

The Art of the Short Story, Edited by Dana Gioia and R. S. Gwynn.  Publisher: Longman (2005), 926 pages.  About $20.  ISBN-10: 0321363639   ISBN-13: 978-0321363633

Examples of stories being read aloud are available at:  The Story Spieler


Open Source Shakespeare (Complete, Searchable, Printable, Free)

Shakespeare’s Plays (Glossaries, Cultural Histories, Analysis)

How Shakespeare influences the way we speak now


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Learning Tasks

Macbeth Learning Tasks


Short Stories, Essays, & Poems

A – Z Title Index:  Short Stories, Poems, Essays, Novels

Brit Lit Resource Kits:  Text & Audio

ibiblio:  The Public’s Library and Digital Archive

Internet Accuracy Project:  Reference, Educational, and Literary Materials

LibriVox:  Accoustical liberation of books in the public domain.

Project Gutenberg

Public Literature

Three Minute Fiction 

“I Cannot Sell You This Painting.” Artist Titus Kaphar on his George Floyd TIME Cover

This I Believe

There Was a Child Went Forth   (Walt Whitman, 1891)

The Manifesto of a Noncompliant Mental Patient (Aubrey Ellen Shomo, 2006)

Essay:  Children and the Trickle Down Economy (Joseph R. Wall, 2005)


Fifty Years After The Myth of Mental Illness (Thomas Szasz)



The Message  (Honore de Balzac, 1799 – 1850)

The Shadow  (Hans Christian Anderson, 1805 -1875) 

Shadows  (T. S. Arthur, 1809 – 1885)  

My First Lie, and How I Got Out of It  (Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910)    

A Case of Fever  (Robert Barr, 1849 -1912) 

The Locket  (Kate Chopin, 1850 – 1904)  

The Source  (Henry Van Dyke, 1852 – 1933)  

De Profundis  (Oscar Wilde, 1854 – 1900)    

The Dummy That Lived  (Frank L. Baum, 1856 – 1919) 

The Fulness of Life  (Edith Wharton, 1862 – 1937) 

The Monkey’s Paw  (W. W. Jacobs, 1863 – 1943) 

The Kitchen Side of the Door  (Edna Ferber, 1865 – 1968)  

The Star  ( H. G. Wells, 1866 – 1946) 

They Wait on the Wharf in Black  (Henry Lawson, 1867 -1922)    

The Glimpse  (E. Arnold Bennett, 1867 – 1931) 

The Open Boat  (Stephen Crane, 1871 – 1900) 

The Race  (Stewart Edward White, 1873 – 1946) 

On the Divide  (Willa Sibert Cather, 1873 – 1947) 

Man Overboard!  (Winston Churchill, 1874 – 1965)   

Seeds  (Sherwood Anderson, 1876 – 1941) 

Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson, 1876 – 1941)

With Bridges Burned  (Rex Ellingwood Beach, 1877 – 1949)  

Kew Gardens  (Virginia Woolf,  1882 – 1941) 

Dubliners  (James Joyce, 1882 – 1941) 

Dubliners  Study Guide     

The Man Who Planted Trees  (Jean Giono, 1895 – 1970)  

The Door  (E. B. White, 1899 – 1985)

The Light of the World (Ernest Hemingway)

Politics and the English Language  (George Orwell, 1903 – 1950)    

The Lottery  (Shirley Jackson, 1916 – 1965) 

Hunters in the Snow  (Tobias Wolff, 1945 – Present) 

The Red Haired Giant (T. D. Boyle, 1999)

Home Fires  (Manini Nayar, 2002)  

Don Ysidro  (Bruce Holland Rogers, 2004) 

Remade Tobacco  (Joan Shaddox Isom, 2004)      

The Coin  (Clarissa P. Green, 2009)

It’s Begining to Hurt (James Lasdun)

Coupling (Alison McLeod)

Butcher’s Perfume (Sarah Hall)

The High Master and Little Billy Clough (John Waddington-Feather)

Midnights (Jim Hazard)

The Hills of Zion (H. L. Mencken)

World Backwards (Julie Curwin, 2008)





      Up came the roots, and a crooked worm, disturbed by the probing of the fingers, wriggled blind in the sun.  Of a sudden the valley filled all its hollows with the wind, with the voice of the roots, with the breathing of the nether sky.  Not only a mandrake screams; torn roots have their cries; each weed Mr Owen pulled out of the ground screamed like a baby.  In the village behind the hill the wind would be raging, the clothes on the garden lines would be set to strange dances.  And women with shapes in their wombs would feel a new knocking as they bent over the steamy tubs.  Life would go on in the veins, in the bones, the binding flesh, that had their seasons and their weathers even as the valley binding the house about with the flesh of the green grass. 

The Enemies (Dylan Thomas, 1934)