I don't know if this is appropriate, never having done this, but I'd like to thank Jim for his perceptive thank you for my Brothers Karamazov. Indeed, he (you) selected the best bits of the book as the best - The Grand Inquisitor, Father Zossima, Iven and the Devil, one of my tiny failings as a reader (this was my first big work) was not writing out those titles as chapter headings in case a person wanted to dive in as if into a short story at those points. I am also impressed by your picking out the idiosyncratic nature of the reading and referring to its flow - my choice of voice for the opening chapter was so curious (a misogynistic monk's) I thought it could have put readers off. But that was the nature of the chapter, growing into an emotional flow through all the strands of intertwining craziness and spiritual insight. The accuracy of what you had to say was so broadly correct and spot on, I'm trying hard to think of what you missed. What you couldn't know, I suppose, is that I come out of storytelling - I used to tell traditional stories from the oral tradition in pubs. As my health situation shifted, it became necessary to find stuff I could do by myself in a room (besides the obvious - trawling the Net). So, as it was harder to get out and meet people, I figured I would follow in the footsteps of the depiction of a writer I had read once - the social act of a solitary man (women also included) - and read worldwide on the Web. Thank you for your encouragement (hecause I do occasionally think of taking time out and just reading to myself, or even reading, God save the mark!) as it gives me a reason for going on. (All that about storytelling, by the way, is just to say, as you said, I don't "act" - put on funny voices - the voices rise out of the flow of the story, but pretty consistently, I have to say. Why that should be so, I can't say, but it means I can't give workshops. It also frustrates the people I did a whole load of reading of Shakespeare last year for his four hundredth deathday celebrations. I keep telling them I don't do acting, but they won't believe me. My second most popular item is a Solo Measure For Measure, of all things, where you (I, at any rate) can hear the different differentiated voices rising from the central story - my most popular item, which keeps up the interplay of flow of narrative with the adaptation of same to a variety of characters is Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone. I'm doing a collection of some of Edgar Allen Poe's best stories at present but by all means make a recommendation. I have been known to take them up (the payback for suggesting a short story can be pretty immediate, if I like the short story).)
p.s. I've done the utterly hilarious The Crocodile by Dostoevsky (a slightly different feel from the B. K.) It's in the catalogue somewhere. No pressure. (Also no longterm satisfaction from long drives.)
I sent your response on to Jim! Thanks Tony!