24 September 2013


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 66

Every time I end a readalong, I think, "There's no way I'm going to top that!" And I'm always right. ;-) That is, all the readalongs have been great, but for very different reasons.

Yet when the time to change direction comes, I always worry that I am wasting the gains of the previous venture. Or as brand managers might put it, confusing my target market. While I generally prefer looking for a new great adventure than continuing to chase a high which might have belonged to a particular time or experience, I'm also a big fan of continuity. But is there a balance between the enduring appeal of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and my personal desire to keep October and November horrifying?

I gave that question a lot more thought than you can imagine, and can now say, with confidence, that I think there is!

Radio vs. Television

Stay with me while I explain . . . For all a classic novel's virtues, its real value in a modern readalong is the ease with which anyone can secure a copy of it. (Hello, Project Gutenberg!) Basically, if you are able to read this blog, then you are able to find anything in the public domain. You can also find a few things which may or may not be in the public domain but float around in its waters anyway. Like vintage radio shows and classic TV.

If you vote for Radio, we will listen to and discuss thirteen yet-to-be-determined plays from Beyond Midnight, Lights Out, The Mysterious Traveler, and Quiet Please. All of these can be downloaded as mp3s or played on YouTube.

If you vote for Television, we will watch and discuss thirteen yet-to-be-determined episodes from Monsters, Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and yes, Are You Afraid of the Dark? I feel a little iffy about this choice of medium, since all of these shows are copyrighted and probably shouldn't be on YouTube . . . but since they're already there, then I'm open to being ethically sketchy for the next two months.

Speaking of sketchy . . . I feel like I'm asking everyone to open a mystery box with me. When we choose a novel, at least we have a map to follow. We know to begin at Chapter 1 and to read all the other chapters in order. And although we might not like the destination when we finally get there, at least we didn't choose it by blindly pointing at some random direction, and the dislike is a function of our expectations at the start. This will be very different. If Radio wins, I know what the first and thirteenth shows will be, but have yet to decide on everything in between. Similarly, if Television wins, I know what the first and thirteenth episodes will be, but will choose the second to twelfth as we go along. Either way, you will have to trust me. =P

So how about it? Polls will be open for a week!

Image Sources: a) Radio listeners, b) TV viewers


r said...

Radio. It's less familiar to me!

Sheila said...

Hm. I'm so unfamiliar with the stuff you mentioned, I don't think I can vote.

But I'd like to point out, just because something's on YouTube where you are, doesn't mean it can be watched where we are. It happens sometimes that you or someone else posts a video and all I get is "this content is not available in your area." Usually for copyright reasons.

love the girls said...

It's typically understood that copyright is not infringed if used for educational purposes and not intended for profit.

Which in turn means the Sheila is safe to watch the Twilight Zone in the context of this forum.

But it's a little more iffy for myself since I blog for entertainment, which typically does kick in the copyright.

But I'm probably safe enough because Rod Serling's smoking abrogates all rights.

I really don't have a preference beyond preferring what Miss E. thinks is best.

Enbrethiliel said...


NoelCT voted for Radio on Twitter!

R -- If this were a poll on someone else's blog, I'd choose something that was less familiar to me, too! =)

Sheila -- That happens to me, too, so I know what you mean. But given the comments on the majority of uploaded TV episodes I've checked out, I'd say they're accessible to anyone who lives in the US. If TV wins and I choose a video that happens to be blocked where someone lives, I'll be glad to make a switch.

LTG -- Unfortunately, I can't tell you what you've voted for because then everyone will know what I think is best and will just go along with it instead of saying what they really think. LOL!

Brandon said...

I'm a huge fan of classic radio, so my vote's there. And the Golden Age of Radio coincided with a big upsurge in interest in supernatural thrillers, so there's some high-quality story there. (I don't know that I've heard any Beyond Midnight, and Quiet! Please, while interesting, can get just plain weird, but Lights Out! is often good and The Mysterious Traveler is definitely among the best of the best. It was put out by the Mutual Broadcasting System, which was tiny in comparison with ABC, CBS, and NBC, but the three big networks constantly had to run their very best and most heavily promoted thriller shows against it in order to compete.)

I could extend the sales pitch if anyone wanted it!

Enbrethiliel said...


Two more Twitter votes, both for Radio, from Scotty-B and Amy.

Brandon -- It looks as if radio is winning so far, but if a wave of TV fans come surfing in, I'm sure you could get them to change their minds. ;-)

Aside from the four shows I've mentioned, are there are any others you think I should consider?

Brandon said...


You've got a pretty diverse group there, covering almost every style, so it's good as is. If you want to add another show, though, I would recommend Inner Sanctum Mysteries. I would say that Inner Sanctum is probably the major rival to The Mysterious Traveler for being the best overall supernatural-thriller series from this era. One of the great things about Inner Sanctum, too, is the Host, who is always making really bad macabre puns, especially after 1945, when Lipton Iced Tea started sponsoring the show. After that point, the macabre, dark-humored Host is paired with Mary the Lipton Iced Tea Lady, who is of course briskly cheerful (she sells brisk tea!) and is always lecturing him about his sense of humor -- sometimes their interactions are worth listening to on their own.

DMS said...

I will have to go with television- there are just so many awesome, scary/ spooky classics! Fun : ) ~ Jess

Enbrethiliel said...


Brandon -- If radio wins, there will definitely be room in the lineup for Inner Sanctum Mysteries. =) Thanks!

Jess -- Your vote has been noted! Did I include your favourite classic show in the lineup?

Jonette said...

Radio! I vote Radio. :D You never know what to expect when you're listening along to something.

And speaking of radio, I give you this. :D

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, thanks! For both your vote and the link. What perfect timing! =D

Enbrethiliel said...


Another Twitter vote: Angie picks Radio!

Just in time, too. The polls will close in about three hours. =)

Enbrethiliel said...


And sliding in just under the deadline is LAML, who also picks Radio! Interesting how the votes went, aye?