Review: Stories I Told Myself


  • Author: Patrick E. McLean
  • Pages: 230

I listened to the free audio version available on

Funny, moving and always exquisitely well-produced, this collection of short stories and essays from the award-winning Seanachai podcast is not to be missed. If you like this American Life, but wish that Ira Glass’ voice was a bit softer on the ears, then this is the audio book for you. – Goodreads synopsis

Stories I Told Myself is a collection of short stories and essays that are chalk full of hilarity, even the slightly more serious ones.  Patrick E. McLean culled them from the results of his decision to write something every week, no matter how good or bad, to get past a writing block.  While I didn’t love this book quite as much as I did The Merchant Adventurer, I did enjoy it, and I especially liked that I could get through a story within the time it took me to drive to work.  Sometimes I could listen to two, maybe three, of them.  That means I was able to finish the podiobook version in about four days, and I didn’t have to leave off in the middle of a chapter and then have to wait until the end of the day or the next day to finish it (I rarely listen to audiobooks outside of my car).

The reason Patrick E. McLean is one of my favorite authors is that he writes about stuff that is bizarre, but in a way that makes sense and is oddly relatable in an extremely humorous way.  For instance, one story is about the problems of having a vampire living in your attic, especially if that vampire has horrible taste in music.  Anyone who has ever had a roommate, or even an annoying neighbor can understand what that experience might be like.  Another story shows how sharing candy can bring even the most unlikely people into a short-term understanding of each other.

A couple of the stories were a little off the mark, or just not that interesting, but that’s normal for a short story collection.  No matter how hard the writer and/or editor tries, there will always be a dud or two.  However, it is rare for all the others to more than make up for those one or two.  As a result, I highly recommend giving Stories I Told Myself a try, especially since the podiobook is free.


Review: The Merchant Adventurer


  • Author: Patrick E. McLean
  • ISBN: 9781492973522
  • Genre: Fantasy

The above ISBN is for the paperback edition, but I listened to the free audio version from

I had so much fun listening to The Merchant Adventurer during my commute to and from school!  The story itself is light, comedic, and a bit satirical in a way that is very similar to The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  In fact, that comparison is mentioned in the synopsis on Goodreads, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to give this book a chance.  The other is that it has a 100% positive rating on

Patrick E. McLean does a fantastic job of narrating the audio.  All of his characters’ voices and the characters themselves were easily distinguishable from one another.  My favorite voice is that of Dimsbury’s, the evil snob of a wizard, but my favorite character is the smart-ass merchant Boltac.  He reminds me of what Miracle Max might have been like in his slightly younger days.

This book is going on my Through the Magic Door list.  It’s that awesome.  I’m also looking forward to listening to Patrick E. McLean’s other books on, which all have 94% or higher positive ratings.  For more information and some extras, like a nifty and hilarious infographic written by Boltac, you can also check out the author’s website.  I highly recommend The Merchant Adventurer to anyone who loves The Princess Bride, comedic Fantasy, or just a good adventure story!