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Stbalbach's Choice Novella's and Shorts, Volume 2

These are short pieces of fiction and nonfiction which I've read collected together under "volumes" when they accumulate to book length. This volume is the equivalent of 422 pages, though really considerable more since I listened to more of the LibriVox essays.

Muir first published this in New Century Magazine in September 1897, a classic dog story and classic Muir story. Set in one of wildest places in the world, an Alaska glacier. More info. And it's read by one of the great LibriVox reader, Winston Tharp. Great find.
First person memoir of a Yankee who is wounded at Culpepper, VA and taken prisoner, full of realistic and evocative details of army life.
  • Speech of John Hossack (1859) by John Hossack as read by Veronica Jenkins. (read: September 9, 2012, 24m [10])
Very poignant and prescient speech in the days leading up to the Civil War, the divide deepened and people began to stand their ground. Starts out slow but builds and is worth a (re)listen.
First-hand account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York. Offers immediate and horrific details of one girl who was lucky to get out alive just to watch her friends dashed and burned. Reminiscent of another NYC burning building disaster.
  • Pirates and Piracy by Oscar Herrmann as read by Jean Bascom (read: September 7, 2012, 23m [15])
Fun subject-matter, the excited reading by young Ms. Bascom gives it an edge. Book has pictures.
I'd never heard of Charles Warner but after this piece I'd like to seek out more. Timeless questions of what makes for a good life, just as relevant today, great wisdom.
  • Roentgen’s Ray by Elizabeth Cole as read by Availle (read: September 7, 2012, 21m [13])
History of the discovery of the X-Ray. Book has pictures.
  • Other notable essays: The Street Markets, The Funeral of Poole
  • "The Emden at Panang" by NY Times Correspondent as read by Delmar H. Dolbier. (read: September 6, 2012, 20m [10])
Eyewitness account of the Battle of Penang (1914), with gentlemanly ship raiders and a "game well played".
  • "The Bee" by Mark Twain as read by Bob Neufeld. (read: September 5, 2012, 10m [5])
Very funny and instructive about bee's but really about people.
First hand account of the events of Fort Sumter, SC - the first shot of the Civil War - by a famous Union hero.
Brief official account of Sergeant York's heroics that made him famous. (WWI)
  • Other essays from this volume worthwhile: Crito by Plato (bowdlerized?), Taming The Bicycle by Mark Twain
Remarkable! This is a recently re-discovered classic and should be known to everyone. Former slave writes to his former master in Tenn that he'll consider coming back to the plantation to work, under certain conditions.. the best snark I've ever read from the 19th century, or anytime.
Tharp is an excellent narrator for this poetic and lively felt classic Civil War memoir. He added to the emotion in ways I would not have picked up on while reading. The small details, such as battle debris of the ever present sardine can, the wounded trees, etc.. are wonderful.
  • Other essays from this volume worthwhile: The American Invasion by Oscar Wilde, The End of Books by Octave Uzanne
This is about the Chicago 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire. The narration is pitch perfect. The writing is creepy and dark, reminded me of Devil in the White City.
About Ishi, a Californian Indian who came out of the bush into civilization late in life for the first time. Reminded me of the Dersu the Hunter stories from Russia. Romantic and sad.
About/by Calamity Jane, notable for being the primary source of her life, extremely short, and really well read by Amy Gramour, who I think is Jane re-incarnate.
Famous account about the wireless operator on the Titanic, scenes repeated in many films, this is the original source and delivers as promised a thrilling story.
  • Other essays from this volume worthwhile: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry, The Rag and Bone Pickers by Charles Loring Brace, Slang; from Historic China and Other Sketches by Herbert A. Giles.
Kinross was a British journalist on board a cruise ship that was sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Italy ca 1917.
  • "Boule de Suif" by Guy de Maupassant [tr. Albert M.C. McMaster], read by Bob Neufeld, from Les Soirées de Médan (1880). (read: July 22 2012, 1h44m [59])
The first short story to make Guy de Maupassant famous. An acid portrait of different classes of French society during the Franco-Prussian War that interestingly foreshadows the "resistors" and "collaborators" during WWII. Concerns a carriage of travelers, one of whom is a prostitute, and the duplicity of her treatment (she is symbolic of France itself).
  • "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, read by Bob Neufeld, from The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1820). (read: June 29 2012, 1h22m [40])
Bob Neufeld is one of the great American actors of the spoken word, with LibriVox or anywhere for that matter. Although I've read this story a number of times, it's well worth a revisit with Bob's wonderful narration. It's such a neatly done tale evocative of a newborn country haunted by the ghosts of the past and energized by the possibilities of a bright future.
  • "The Shipwreck" by Charles Dickens, read by Bill Mosley, from The Uncommercial Traveller (1859). (read: April 2012, 42m [20])
About the Royal Charter Storm.
  • "Sir Henry" by Lydia Millet, read by John Lithgow, Selected Shorts: Dogs and Dates. (read: October 2011, 30m [15])
About a dog walker.
  • "Chivalry" by Neil Gaiman, read by Jane Curtin, Selected Shorts: Dazed and Knights. (read: October 2011, 33m [15])
Hilarious. A proper British housewife finds The Holy Grail in a thrift shop and is visited by a time traveling knight who tries to get it from her.
  • "The Man Who Planted Trees" by Gene Giano, Vouge magazine 1954. (read: September 2011, 15 pg)
This is a remarkable story. The 1988 film directed by Frédéric Back is even better, since it's unabridged. A great inspiration.
  • "The Wreck of the Golden Mary", from Household Words magazine 1856, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins (read: August 2011, 50 pgs)
I listened to this via LibriVox, which was narrated using the Project Gutenberg version apparently. The PG version has been cut short about half way through, so the LibriVox recording is "abridged" at best. The full story is available from the original source: the 1856 copy of Household Words at Internet Archive. Dickens wrote the long intro up to where John Steadiman takes over the narrative, which is written by Wilkie Collins. Other authors than contributed the later parts. Dickens envisioned the ship wreck story as being a frame narrative to hang other stories written by his team at Household Words: survivors would tell stories to pass the time in the boats. Overall I found the whole thing confusing and sentimental, and un-Dickens.
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