Shorts

A curated episode list by
Creation Date May 1st, 2020
 Be the first to like this!
Have something to share?Create your own list of podcasts or episodes!
  1. We're rebroadcasting one of our earlier episodes in honor of the long-awaited publication of The Mirror & the Light, author Hilary Mantel's final chapter of the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. We found this story in her often wicked short story collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.  “The Long QT” features a standard, modern-day dilemma that delivers an entirely unexpected sort of fright at the end. Host Aparna Nancherla chats with champion open water swimmer, Lynne Cox, a real life survivor of the disorder Mantel's story is based upon. Read by actress Joanne Whalley.
  2. In honor of the human impulse to seek culinary comfort when times are tough, guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two food-centered stories curated with the online food and cooking community Food52. In J. Robert Lennon’s “Breadman,” artisanal bread threatens a marriage. Kyle MacLachlan is the incredulous spouse.  And Joan Allen performs an excerpt from Nora Ephron’s novel Heartburn, a slice of infidelity in which there are consequences—and pie.  
  3. The stories on this program, hosted by Jane Kaczmarek, start out in one place and end up somewhere completely different.  Which pretty much describes our world at the moment.    The three authors also talk about how people connect—something that seems important right now.  Colin Nissan’s “Wedding Announcement” escalates comically in the reading by John Cameron Mitchell.  A wary housewife is surprised by beauty in Michel Faber’s “The Eyes of the Soul,’ performed by Kirsten Vangsness, and teenage lovers grow up quickly in James Lasdun’s “Lime Pickle” performed by David Schwimmer.   (The pickle is really not—do not try this at home!)
  4. Guest host Jane Curtin presents three quirky stories in which a drop or two is taken: Michael Gerber's and Jonathan Schwarz's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Doughnuts" is a riff on a famous Raymond Carver tale; it's performed by Joey Slotnick.  Early New Yorker humorist Corey Ford tells us just what can go wrong at "The Office Party," performed by Jordan Klepper. And wry tale of boozy suburbia, "The Sorrows of Gin," is performed by Kathleen Chalfant.
  5. Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents April Fools’ tales guaranteed to transport listeners away from the madness. In these three stories, characters search for ways to escape their everyday: An office romance stings in Ryan Boudinot’s “Bee Beard,” read by Tony Hale.  A man finds an ingenious way to slip out of his own life in Susan Sontag’s “The Dummy,” read by Justin Kirk. And Miranda July imagines a senior citizens’ “Swim Team,” in a story read by Parker Posey. Unexpected, funny and a little absurd, these shorts should help anyone craving the usual release of April Fool’s Day festivities.  
  6. On this episode of Too Hot, we're rereleasing Joe Meno's story, "Everything Strange and Unknown," because, well, right now everything is strange and unknown. What better time to lose yourself in a great story. Hopefully, listening to Michael Ian Black read this lovely, poignant, and humorous piece, you gain some time to escape.
  7. Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories that celebrate the distinguished O.Henry Awards.  Three prize-winning stories are featured: In “Midrash on Happiness,” by Grace Paley, a woman wants it all.  The reader is Mia Dillon. And a woman who’s lost it all must get an exit visa in “The American Embassy,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, read by Karen Pittman.  A son is puzzled by his father’s strange habit in Jerome Weidman’s “My Father Sits in the Dark,” read by Josh Hamilton.  
  8. As the rollup to the Presidential elections continues, we offer two stories about big shots, presented by guest host Jane Curtin.  First, classic humorist James Thurber imagines what happens when an aviation hero has feet of clay.  “The Greatest Man in the World” is read by Michael Ian Black.  And former President Bill Clinton makes a cameo appearance in Meera Nair’s warmly funny tale of a village in Bangladesh about to be rescued from “centuries of obscurity.”  “A Warm Welcome to the President, Insh'Allah!” is performed by Aasif Mandvi.  Author Meera Nair tells us about the origins of the piece, and her writing process, at the end of the story.
  9. Guest host LeVar Burton presents three stories in which fantasies and memories are both near and far.  In “The Elevator Dancer,” by N.K. Jemisin, a guard is obsessed by a woman who spins when no one is looking.  Laura Gomez is the reader.  A woman remembers a transforming moment in her Depression-era childhood in “Marigolds,” by Eugenia W. Collier.  The story is performed by Sharon Washington. Ursula K. Le Guin moves and surprises us in “The Wife’s Story,” performed by Joanna Gleason.
  10. Guest host Denis O’Hare presents three stories that take things to extremes.  In Simon Rich’s “Distractions,” we learn about a global conspiracy.  Errin Hayes reads.  The misanthrope in Douglas Lawson’s “Love in a Kitchen Garden” is cruel to his garden gnomes.  Richard Kind reads.  And Maulik Pancholy performs Emily Buckler’s “Brand Values,” a reality-bending tale about high-end leather.
  11. Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories by two masters of the form who share an outré sensibility.  Humor, humanity, and fantasy all combine in four tales of things gone wrong.  In “Fly Already” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber, a widower and his small son watch a drama unfold. In “Where Are You?” by Joyce Carol Oates, performed by Dianna Agron, a demanding husband pushes his wife to the limit. In“One Gram Short” by Etgar Keret, performed by Ira Glass, a stoner makes a really bad deal; and Oates introduces an unlikely “Assassin,” in a story that combines tongue-in-cheek horror and political satire.  Becky Ann Baker is the reader.
  12. From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins, our story today comes from the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter. We Live In Water is a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite, including Barack Obama who called “We Live in Water: Stories” one of his favorite books of 2019. A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 32 languages, and his fiction has been selected three times forBest American Short Stories as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Nonrequired Reading. His stories, essays and journalism have appeared in, Harper's, Esquire, Playboy, McSweeney's, Tin House, Ploughshares, the New York Times, the Washington Post and many others.  Our reader, Josh Malina, is well-known for playing Will Bailey on the NBC drama The West Wing, Jeremy Goodwin on Sports Night, David Rosen on Scandal, and President Siebert on The Big Bang Theory.This episode is hosted by comedian, author, and actor, Michael Ian Black and features a very funny conversation between Black and the author after the story.
  13. Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories about imagined worlds.  In “The Dreamlife of Toasters,” by Heather O’Neill, an android falls in love, and there are consequences.  The reader is Yvette Nicole Brown.  In Stefan Zweig’s “The Invisible Collection,” a blind man is able to “see” priceless drawings.  The story is performed by René Auberjonois.  
  14. Guest host Jane Curtin presents three stories in which small things count for a lot.  A discarded sock reminds one woman of her ex-husband in “The Sock” by Lydia Davis, read by Kaneza Schaal.  Sisters find a chess set at a department store in Meg Wolitzer’s “Deep Lie the Woods,” read by Blythe Danner.  And old-time jazz musicians and their funny clothes, food, and drink charm a young drummer in “Nightblooming,” by Kenneth Calhoun, read by Josh Charles.
  15. Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories in which a lot  happens, but subtly. The narrator of A.M. Homes’ “Yours Truly” is “hiding in the linen closet” on a journey of self-discovery.  The reader is Beth Malone. In Weike Wang’s “Omakase” a couple’s special sushi dinner proves unexpectedly revealing. The reader is Jennifer Lim.
  16. Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories about the family dynamics between children and parents. It's never too early to defy gender norms, as Ivan E. Coyote confides in "No Bikini," read by Becca Blackwell.  A woman confronts her mother's aging, and her own childlessness, in Kathryn Chetkovich's tender story "The World with My Mother Still In It," read by Phillipa Soo.  And three generations are "At the Zoo," in a story by Caitlin Horrocks: a rowdy grandpa, a sensitive child, and a mother caught between the two.  The reader is Kate Walsh.
  17. In her twenties Ottessa Moshfegh co-owned a bar in Wuhan, China. She’s lived next to crack addicts and been bedridden for an entire year with cat scratch fever. She is a Stegner fellow, attended Brown’s MFA program, and in the past four years has won many, many awards including a Pushcart, an O. Henry, and the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, her second novel, was a New York Times bestseller. Her story on this episode, "The Weirdos," is read by Colby Minifie, known for her TV roles in Fear of the Walking Dead and Jessica Jones, among others, as well as her many roles on Broadway including Long Days Journey Into Night and Six Degrees of Separation. This episode is hosted by comedian Michael Ian Black who talks to Ottessa about her work including how much of the plot is autobiographical, and her life after the story.
  18. Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents stories about the different shapes that loves takes. They show how “exquisitely OK it is to be ourselves,” she comments.  In “Love and Hydrogen” Jim Shepard conjures up the breathtaking magic of travel by airship in his tale of doomed lovers aboard the Hindenberg. The story is performed by Sam Underwood.  In Carys Davies’ “The Coat” a woman is surprised by her own feelings when she comforts a distressed neighbor. The performer is Becca Blackwell.
  19. Guest host David Strathairn introduces two tales by master of mystery Agatha Christie, with special comments by crime novelist Megan Abbott and Christie fan Fran Lebowitz.  Lois Smith performs “Miss Marple Tells a Story,” in which Christie’s spinster sleuth boasts a little, and Hugh Dancy reads “Accident,” about a woman with a dark past come to light.  
  20. Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents three revealing first person accounts taking us from a crowded bus, to a suburban motel, to a Russian estate: “Hello?” by Dmitry Biriukov, performed by Mike Doyle; “How to Tie-Dye,” by Jenny Allen, performed by Jane Curtin; and “From the Diary of a Hot-Tempered Man,” by Anton Chekhov and translated by Peter Constantine, performed by Sam Underwood
  21. Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents three works about losing control.  In Dmitry Biriukov’s “Hello?” a crowded city bus inspires one passenger to create a romantic scenario.  The reader is Mike Doyle.  Jenny Allen offers up a disastrous crafts project in “How to Tie-Dye,” reader by Jane Curtin.  And Anton Chekhov gives us a clueless young man beset by determined women in “From the Diary of a Hot-Tempered Man,” read by Sam Underwood.
  22. Guest host Kate Burton presents four unusual love stories.  David Galef imagines “My Date with Neanderthal Woman,” read by Giullian Yao Gioiello.   It’s raining old boyfriends and ex-husbands—literally—in Marie-Helene Bertino’s “Edna in Rain,” read by Colby Minifie.  An extra-marital affair becomes a comedy of errors in Sam Ruddick’s “Leak,” read by “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” host Peter Sagal.  And Kathleen Turner performs Isabel Allende’s magical “The Little Heidelberg.”
  23. Simon Rich has written for SNL, created the series Miracle Workers and Man Seeking Woman, and is beloved by people who actually read The New Yorker and don't just recycle it after seeing they didn't win the caption contest. Rich also has several story collections and this will be his second story featured on Too Hot.  Neil Patrick Harris is the actor who read this during a Sketchfest show in San Francisco. Harris does musicals, TV, high-profile hosting gigs, you name it. Listeners may know him as Barney on How I Met Your Mother, or as Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events.  After the reading, stay tuned for a great interview between host Aparna Nancherla and The New Yorker editor Susan Morrison who spills some secrets about what makes the perfect funny story for the iconic magazine.
  24. Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about marriage and its challenges. In Helen Phillips’ “The Knowers,” a wife wants the answer to an ultimate question, but her husband does not. It’s performed by Stockard Channing. The “Three Little Maids” of Alix Ohlin’s story are a middle-aged man’s ex-wife, current wife, and daughter. The story is performed by Mia Dillon.
  25. We want Christmas to be merry and bright, but sometimes the season can be challenging. Our two stories, presented by guest host Cynthia Nixon, do deliver good cheer in the end (and Nixon shares a few of her own holiday traditions). In Laurie Notaro’s “O Holy Night, or The Year I Ruined Christmas” there’s a hideous Christmas tree, and a demanding parent with a long memory. The hilarious tale is read by Kirsten Vangsness. In Jeanette Winterson’s luminous “Spirit of Christmas” a married couple set off for their holiday with frayed tempers and too much stuff. They wind up with nothing but a miracle. Christina Pickles is the reader.
  26. On December 8, 2019 actor René Auberjonois passed away. He'll be fondly remembered and sorely missed by all of us at Selected Shorts. He was a VIP reader, one of those amazing actors who could bring any story to life, keeping audiences totally entranced. We never aired or released René reading this Philip K. Dick story. It was a little too long to put on the radio, but we want to share now. Please enjoy. 
  27. Guest host Hope Davis presents three works by the Southern master Carson McCullers.  In “Correspondence” a self-important young woman is disappointed in her choice of pen-pal.  Emily Skeggs is the reader.  McCullers draws on her own childhood in “The Discovery of Christmas,”  read by Amanda Quaid.  And “Sucker” explores the troubled and complicated relationship between two teen boys.  Michael Cerveris performs.   
  28. Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories where facts, beliefs, and fabrications coincide. Essayist Samantha Irby debunks nature, fresh air, and sunshine in “The Case for Remaining Indoors,” performed by Retta. Rebecca Makkai shares tattered facts about a terrorist in “Everything We Know About the Bomber,” performed by John Cameron Mitchell. And Michael McKean brings a difficult prankster father to life in Walter Kirn’s “The Hoaxer.”
  29. Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories in which trusting your senses is important. In Jeanne Dixon’s “Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” a rebellious farm girl flirts with danger. It’s read by Mia Dillon. And Aimee Bender creates a fairytale for our time in “The Color Master,” whose crafts is creating clothes that mirror nature. Denis O’Hare is the reader.
  30. Just in time for the holidays, a story that will speak to any of us who sometimes can't shake the feeling that the grass is always greener. In a story that is at once utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. This story comes from her collection called Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny’s work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and she recently published a novel called Standard Deviation. To read this story is an actor we simply couldn’t do without at Selected Shorts. Jane Kaczmarek has performed in everything from Long Day’s Journey Into Night to Malcolm in the Middle. After her reading, Jane talks with host Aparna Nancherla. This story was performed as part of our show at the annual SF Sketchfest.
  31. Guest host Hope Davis presents stories about family ties. A mixed-race college student has a comic encounter in "My Brother at the Canadian Border," by Sholeh Wolpe, read by Maulik Pancholy. Marriage is really for better or worse in Lauren Schenkman's "A Guide to Fooling Yourself,” read by Kaneza Schaal. A young man meets his boozy dad in "Reunion," by John Cheever, read by Bruce Altman. And Viet Thanh Nguyen tells a heartbreaking and mystical tale of Vietnamese immigrants in "Black-Eyed Women," read by Jennifer Ikeda.
  32. On this show, guest host Kate Burton introduces two stories that look at the joys and complexity of motherhood. They were chosen by the novelist Celeste Ng and memoirist and essayist Mary Karr. In “Looking for a Thief,” by Danielle Lazarin, a suburban mother questions her choices. The story is performed by Heather Burns. And Burton reads Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which another mother wonders if she’s done right by a challenging first child.
  33. Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about expectation, hope and disenchantment. A navy wife isn't charmed by the Riviera, until a chance encounter changes everything, in Richard Yates' “Evening on the Côte d’Azur," read by Edie Falco. And a video parlor run by a lonely widower is the source of solace and catastrophe in an early George Saunders story. Josh Radnor reads “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz.” 
  34. Guest host LeVar Burton presents two of his favorite stories. In Lucia Berlin’s “Friends,” the characters have different ideas about who benefits from their weekly lunches. The reader is Lydia Gaston. Next, Burton himself reads Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s powerful “Control Negro,” in which an academic and father tries a real-world experiment to prove a theory about racism.  
  35. Guest host Kate Burton presents some unusual chillers for Halloween. Edgar Allan Poe is haunted by a childhood memory in Russell Banks’ “The Caul,” performed by Richard Masur. Poe’s eerie “The Raven” is performed by Rene Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer, and Harris Yulin. A dying emperor tries to communicate in “An Imperial Message,” by Franz Kafka, performed by Kaneza Schaal. And Agatha Christie tells a ghost story in “The Lamp,” performed by Rita Wolf. 
  36. Guest host Sonia Manzano presents two stories about identity, appearance, and longing. In Elizabeth Crane’s “Blue Girl,” a young woman learns how to embrace difference. The reader is Valorie Curry. “Different” is certainly how you’d describe the folktale character Rumplestiltskin, but in Michael Cunningham’s remix, that doesn’t keep him from wanting a normal life. Zach Grenier reads “Little Man.”
  37. Guest host LeVar Burton presents a program celebrating the author he calls “potent and polemical.” Christopher Jackson reads an excerpt from Baldwin’s famous letter The Fire Next Time: in “My Dungeon Shook,” he addresses internalized racism. Next, Anthony Rapp performs an excerpt from Giovanni's Room, in which an ex-pat comes to terms with his sexuality and loneliness in Paris. And Baldwin contemplates The Great Migration in his novel Go Tell It On The Mountain. We hear an excerpt performed by Charlayne Woodard. 
  38. Guest host Josh Radnor presents three stories drawn from the world of fables and fairytales, but with a modern twist. Maulik Pancholy reads Somerset Maugham’s “Appointment in Samarra”; when your time is up, it’s up. Ben Loory gives us a kinder, gentler take on the old “monster in the closet” idea in “The Monster,” read by John Cameron Mitchell. Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag” is part folk tale, part love story, part coming-of-age story. It’s read by Kirsten Vangsness.  
  39. A thrilling and laugh-out-loud funny account of how a cheating couple broadcast their affair to an entire listserv. This story was read by two very funny actors during Selected Shorts’ annual visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. D’Arcy Carden is a performer whose credits include Barry, Broad City, and the beloved Janet on The Good Place; Baron Vaughn can be seen on Grace and Frankie and heard on the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as well as Corporate on Comedy Central. Robin Hemley is an accomplished fiction and nonfiction writer who has won both a Pushcart Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has written more than a dozen books including Do-Over!, and The Big Ear, as well as a forthcoming book (nonfiction) in March titled Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood. Our story, "Reply All" appears in his collection titled 21012 Reply All.
  40. Guest host David Sedaris presents two stories about quiet times. Leonard Nimoy reads Raymond Carver's classic "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," which is what perplexes the married couples sitting around drinking gin on a slow summer evening.  It's also summer in Bernard Malamud's "A Summer's Reading," and a rootless young man is trying to find a path in life. David Rakoff was the reader.
  41. Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories about characters who are a little larger than life. First, the story that inspired the Hollywood classic All About Eve, Mary Orr’s “The Wisdom of Eve,” performed by Stana Katic. Next, in Louise Erdrich’s powerful mother-daughter story “The Leap” a former trapeze artist pushes herself to the limit. It’s read by Elizabeth Reaser.  
  42. Guest host Krista Tippett, of On Being, presents short fiction and poems that confront issues of art, faith, and spirituality.First, a clergyman is tempted in "The Strength of God, Concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman" by Sherwood Anderson, read by James Naughton. In Elizabeth Crane's "You Must Be This Happy to Enter" a time-travelling artist has a positive attitude. The reader is Claire Danes. A gold digger has second thoughts in Anton Chekhov's "An Enigmatic Nature," read by Fionnula Flanagan. Also featured are poems by Tracy K. Smith and David Whyte.
  43. Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents three stories about curious courtships. First, does the perfect date night include zombies? Tony Hale reads “First Person Shooter,” by Charles Yu. A president’s wife is the ideal luggage item, until she develops a mind of her own in a vintage tale by Whitfield Cook. “The Portable Mrs. Tillson,” is performed by Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper. The show concludes with another period gem--“Gertrude the Governess: or, Simple Seventeen,” by Stephen Leacock, performed by Sonia Manzano. This pastiche of Victorian melodrama has everything.
  44. On this SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by Jane Kaczmarek, we explore hidden emotions. In Patrick Dacey’s “Patriots” suburban lawn ornaments threaten a friendship. The reader is Wendie Malick. In Seth Fried’s “Sea Monster,” a wife has a secret that may affect her marriage. The reader is Natasha Rothwell. Host Jane Kaczmarek reads our final story. In “Mistress” by Gina Berriault, a woman meets her former lover’s son.  
  45. Writer ZZ Packer is best known for her excellent 2003 collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which saw its stories published in venues including The New Yorker (where she was launched as a debut writer). Packer's stories have appeared in Harper's and Story, and have been published in The Best American Short Stories. "Gideon" is read by the great American actress Danielle Brooks. Brooks is, of course, best known for her performance as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black, but she’s also appeared in films and theater including a starring role in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing.
  46.  Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories that are favorites of novelist and screenwriter Richard Price ("Lush Life," "The Wire") and Colson Whitehead remembers his personal New York. Maggie Gyllenhaal reads Isaac Babel’s tale of local crime and politics, “The King,” and Rita Wolf reads Lucia Berlin’s odd love triangle, “The Love Affair.” Whitehead’s “Lost and Found” is read by Alec Baldwin.
  47. On Being's Krista Tippett hosts SELECTED SHORTS this week, presenting works that look at issues of art and faith. "The Doctor and The Rabbi" argue about the efficacy of prayer in Aimee Bender's story, read by Ellen Burstyn. Thriller writer Elmore Leonard has some fun with the "hail Mary" football pass in "Spirituality, with or Without a Prayer," read by Julie White. The title says it all in Jenny Hollowell's "The History of Everything Including You," read by Kyra Sedgwick, and Tracy K. Smith reads poems by Carl Dennis and Pablo Neruda.  
  48. Guest host Denis O’Hare presents a program that features great two-hander stories, each performed by a pair of actors that brings out the best in them.  In “The Trip,” by Bruce Jay Friedman, a young man is mortified when his over-the-top mom decides to accompany him to his first day at college. Santino Fontana and Julie Halston have fun with this social nightmare. In Lorrie Moore’s “Foes,” a world-weary liberal writer making a reluctant appearance at a charity dinner is seated with a rabid conservative. Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Allen skillfully navigate this delicate minefield.
  49. We're back! The bonus Selected Shorts podcast returns with some of our favorite stories we just can't air on the radio. Etgar Keret is the Israeli writer known for his absurdist, playful perspective and dark humor. In addition to having had many of his stories featured on Selected Shorts, he has been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Paris Review and Zoetrope, among others, and over 40 short movies have been based on his stories, one of which won the American MTV Prize. "Jet Lag" is performed by David Cross, the American comedian, actor, director, and writer, known primarily for his stand-up performances, the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show, and his role as Tobias Fünke in the sitcom Arrested Development. After the story, host Aparna Nancherla talks to Keret about this story and his work."Jet Lag" was recorded at a Too Hot For Radio performance in San Francisco at the SF Sketchfest comedy festival.
  50. Guest host Sonia Manzano presents love the modern way in two stories and a selection of posts to OK Cupid. These are read by Giullian Yao Gioiello and Colby Minifie. Then Jill Eikenberry reads Elizabeth Crane’s "Ad," a stream-of-consciousness exercise for the Personals column, and love overwhelms the characters in Andrea Barrett's "The Littoral Zone," read by Becky Ann Baker and Dylan Baker.
  51. Guest host David Sedaris presents two ruefully funny stories. DorothyParker skewers a boozy, possessive mother in "I Live on Your Visits," readby Celeste Holm. Then, a country wedding becomes a comedy of errors inArthur Bradford's "Snakebite," read by John Benjamin Hickey.
  52. Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two stories about families. In Heather Monley’s “Paddle to Canada,” a risky family boating trip becomes contested history. Jenna Ushkowitz is the reader.  And Jamel Brinkley’s “A Family” shows people coming together in unexpected ways after a loss. Brandon J. Dirden performs this Best American Short Stories selection.  
  53. Guest host Denis O’Hare helps us celebrate the landmark event that helped give birth to the modern movement for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. On this special program, we first hear eyewitness accounts of the riots drawn from The Stonewall Reader, published by Penguin Classics and edited by The New York Public Library. Memoirs by Jayne County, Mark Segal, Lucian Truscott IV, and Holly Woodlawn are read by Ivory Aquino, Kate Bornstein, Michael Early, and Beth Malone. Next, we hear about the origins of the Gay Pride March one year after the riots when Ivory Aquino and Kate Bornstein perform Perry Brass’s “We Did It.” And to show how things have changed in 50 years, comments from Tobin Low and Kathy Tu, hosts of the Nancy podcast from WNYC Studios; fierce and touching poems by trans artist Kay Ulanday Barrett, “Right to Release,” and “Song for the Kicked Out,” read by Barrett, and a short story by Gary Eldon Peter in which a gay man at a straight wedding imagines a possible wedding of his own. His “Wedding” is performed by John Benjamin Hickey.
  54. Guest host Sonia Manzano presents works by the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Carolina Ravassa reads "Remnants of Carnival," in which a little girl is briefly transformed. Denis O'Hare tells an eerie tale of a strange marriage in "The Obedient Ones," and Lynn Cohen is a scary matriarch in "Happy Birthday."
  55. Guest host Kate Burton presents three works about the roles of women. Margaret Atwood twists the tail of the fairy tale in "There Was Once," read by Jane Kaczmarek, Rene Auberjonois, and Zach Grenier. An actress is offered an unsympathetic part in "A Leading Role," by Tove Jansson, also read by Jane Kaczmarek. In Smith Henderson's "Treasure State," a young girl hitches a ride with runaway brothers. The reader is Michael Shannon.
  56. Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents a program celebrating the great American humorist in some of the many genres in which he was drop-dead funny. Thurber confesses that he’s all thumbs in “I Break Everything I Touch,” performed by Keith Olbermann. Who knew that The Bard wrote whodunnits? Find out who in “The Macbeth Murder Mystery,” performed by Michael McKean and Susannah Rogers. Kristen Nielsen, Susannah Rogers, and Keith Olbermann perform a selection of Thurber’s fables, and McKean reads “Many Moons,” Thurber’s charming fairy tale about a princess who wants the moon.
  57. Guest host David Sedaris two stories about learning from your mistakes. Isaiah Sheffer reads Tobias Wolff’s “Mortals,” in which a botched obit leads to a life lesson. In Edwidge Danticat’s “Reading Lessons,” read by Marsha Stephanie Blake, it is the teacher who is taught.
  58. Guest host Kate Burton presents four works reflecting on the experience of war.  Lieutenant Colonel Chris Cohoes emailed his young sons while serving in Afghanistan. Matthew Modine reads one of his notes. A black soldier fights for independence during the Revolutionary War. Ruben Santiago-Hudson reads “A Soldier for the Crown” by Charles Johnson. In Robert Olen Butler’s “Mother in the Trenches,” a woman makes her way to France to be with her son. And Moacyr Scliar imagines war as just another day job in “Peace and War” read by Michael Cristofer.
  59. Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents four works about fame, celebrity, show biz, and what it takes to survive them. First, actor Cole Escola channels the legendary Joan Crawford in an excerpt from her autobiography, My Way of Life. Author Zadie Smith channels the dauntless spirit of Billie Holiday in “Crazy They Call Me,” performed by Karen Pittman. Will Eno’s “Interview" is a freewheeling monologue which offers both sides of an extensive and confessional outpouring performed by the author. And Bebe Neuwirth dances her way into our hearts playing a carefree child trapped in pretentious dance class in “I Am Narcissus,” by Elizabeth Olmstead.
  60. Guest host Sonia Manzano presents three works about entering uncharted territories. An early John Updike fable, “The Different One,” imagines a bold bunny. It’s read by Michael Emerson. A gentrified town morphs into a dreamscape in Steven Millhauser’s “Coming Soon,” ready by David Morse. And Kirstin Valdez Quade’s essay “Youth From Every Quarter” looks at the harsher side of assimilation. It’s read by Manzano.
  61. Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents two contemporary fables. First, Michael Cunningham reimagines the Hans Christian Andersen classic “A Wild Swan,” in a reading by Valorie Curry. Next, an excerpt from George Saunders’ touching and hilarious novella, Fox 8, read by John Cameron Mitchell.
  62. Guest host Jane Curtin offers up tales of courtship and its consequences. In “Prince Amilec,” by Tanith Lee, a handsome prince pursues a beautiful princess, but it’s not the same old, same old fairy tale.  Gildart Jackson performs. A couple explores their relationship in a humorous piece by A.M. Homes. “Be Mine is performed by Sanjit De Silva and Adina Verson. And in “The Idea of Marcel,” by Marie-Helene Bertino, a breakup leads ex lovers to reboot each other. It’s performed by Jenna Ushkowitz. 
  63. Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories about untrue love.  A devoted wife worships her sailor husband in Daphne du Maurier's "La Sainte-Vierge," read by Kathryn Erbe.  And Paul Giamatti reads a sci-fi classic by Robert Sheckley, "Pilgrimage to Earth," in which a traveller from a distant planet comes to Earth to find love. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  64. Guest host John Darnielle presents favorite works that reflect on life and death and what comes after.  He reads Robert Browning’s chilling poem “My Last Duchess,” and also offers up a new song, “Skeleton’s Tooth.”  Molly Ringwald performs “No More Loves,” by Javier Marias, in which a ghost learns to read by proxy.  Kirsten Vangsness reads Neil Gaiman’s “When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11 ¼; the child narrator doesn’t like what she finds in this magical place.  The heroine of Robert Aickman’s “Le Miroir,” does like what she sees in an antique looking glass—but there’s a price to pay.  The reader is Kathryn Erbe.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  65. Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents works that reflect on the diversity and excellence of Riverhead Books, celebrating a quarter century.  The program features “Flower Hunters,” by Lauren Groff, performed by Maria Dizzia, and “Buck Boy,” by James McBride, performed by Teagle Bougere, as well as special commissions from Aja Gabel (“Alarm”) and R.O. Kwon (“Tempo”) both performed by Hettienne Park.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  66. Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories about rituals.  A young author takes a glamorous older woman to lunch and all does not go well in “The Luncheon” by Jeffrey Archer, performed by Jefferson Mays.  And host Davis performs Amy Bloom’s touching story “Love is Not a Pie,” in which family secrets, and family bonds, are shared after a funeral.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  67. Guest host David Strathairn presents two stories about longing.  In Peter Carey’s “American Dreams,” a small Australian community is transformed into a tourist destination by a bizarre bequest.  Strathairn is the reader.  And writer and actor Lisa Fugard performs her own beautiful “Night Calls,” about a lonely widower, his young daughter, and an endangered bird.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  68. Guest host John Darnielle presents two of his favorite weird stories.  In Amparo Davila’s “Moses and Gaspar,” a grieving man has inherited two—creatures—from his dead brother.  But what in the world are they?  Peter Jay Fernandez reads.  A slick salesman has a little something extra up his sleeve in Dennis Etchison’s “The Pitch,” read by Michael Shannon.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  69. Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two selections from this year’s Best American Short Stories anthology, with comments by this year’s guest editor, Roxane Gay.  In “Suburbia,” by Amy Silverberg, a young girl leaves home for the first time, and both she, and it, are transformed.   The reader is Martha Plimpton.   “Everything is Far from Here,” by Cristina Henriquez, goes to the heart of the country’s immigration crisis with an affecting portrait of a migrant mother and her son.  It’s performed by Zabryna Guevara.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  70. Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about growing up and rites of passage.  A young woman is drawn into a social charade in Joyce Carol Oates' "Nairobi," read by Alison Pill.  Best friends re-examine their relationship in Amy Hempel's "The Most Girl Part of You," read by Kate Burton.  And Rick Moody follows two brothers from childhood to maturity in "Boys," read by BD Wong.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  71. Guest host Josh Radnor presents works by Carrie Brownstein and George Saunders.  Brownstein reads from her memoir “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.”  BD Wong performs Saunders’ “My Chivalric Fiasco,” about a goofy knight errant at a Renaissance Fair, and Anthony Rapp performs Saunders’ “Sticks”, a brief portrait of an eccentric dad.  We also hear Brownstein and Saunders in conversation with Radnor.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  72. Guest host Jane Curtin presents three stories about emotional transitions—what happens after divorce, or the death of a loved one?  In our first, prankish story by Ron Carlson, lunch with an ex becomes an Olympic sport.  The reader is Sean Astin.  Tom Barbash’s thoughtful story “The Women” explores the very different ways a father and son cope with the loss of a wife and mother.  Michael Imperioli is the reader.  And we finish with an elegant classic by the French writer Colette, read by Barbara Barrie.  A married couple encounters “The Other Wife” at lunch.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  73. Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents four stories with lessons for us.  In T.C. Boyle’s “The Five-Pound Burrito,” a chef goes over the top.  Santino Fontana reads.   A lonely millennial learns that you can’t hurry puppy love in “Love (or Live Cargo)” by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, read by Valorie Curry.  Military acronyms can’t disguise the emotional toll of war in Phil Klay’s “OIF,” read by Brandon J. Dirden; and The Last Supper may be depicted in “The Tablecloth of Turin,” by Ron Carlson, read by Edi Gathegi.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices