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Selected Shorts from PRI: Episodes

Guest host Jane Curtin presents four stories by Lydia Davis, a master of short-form fiction in which real-life situations are subtly altered to produce the funny and strange. We hear “Can’t and Won’t,” “If at the Wedding (at the Zoo),” “The Party,” and “The Two Davises and the Rug,” ...
Guest host Jane Curtin presents three stories about unexpected encounters at night. In Steven Millhauser’s “Claire de Lune,” a teenage boy with insomnia wanders into an all-girl pickup game. It’s read by James Naughton. Comic Wyatt Cenac reads Sherman Alexie’s “Night People” in which ...
Guest host Jane Curtin presents a celebration of Greenwich Village, with stories by Laurie Colwin (“Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, read by Kelli O’Hara) and John Updike (“Snowing in Greenwich Village,” read by Curtin), and comments by Village denizens Dave Hill, Isaac Mizrahi, Ralph Lee, ...
Guest host Jane Curtin presents sassy stories about sassy women from the legendary Dorothy Parker, including “The Sexes,” read by Parker Posey and “The Standard of Living” (two secretaries on a fantasy shopping spree), read by Hope Davis. A cranky coffee shop employee with amazing luck keeps ...
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two stories with too much information. Raymond Carver’s “Feathers,” about an odd couple, is read by Leonard, and in Donald Barthelme’s “The School” class projects suffer from blight. It’s read by Laura Esterman.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents three stories about food, family, and friendship. Secrets are revealed at a Christmas party in Ann Beattie’s “Where You’ll Find Me,” read by Jane Kaczmarek; the narrator of Haruki Murakami’s “The Year of Spaghetti” is using pasta to keep the world ...
A long marriage and the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the nuclear age in stories hosted by Wyatt Cenac. Sherman Alexie offers a portrait of the courtship and long marriage of two Native Americans in “Do You Know Where I Am?” read by Keir Dullea. In Donald Barthelme’s “Game,” two paranoid men ...
Guest host Jane Curtin talks with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich of Radiolab about stories they curated for SELECTED SHORTS—Jenny Hollowell’s whirlwind “The History of Everything Including You,” performed by Kyra Sedgwick, and Paul Broks’
“Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” in which a man ...
Shame, longing, and passion lie beneath the surface lives of the characters in these three stories. Guest Colm Toibin talks about respectability betrayed in his story “A Priest in the Family,” read by Lois Smith. In James Salter’s “Dusk,” read by Amy Ryan, a middle-aged woman faces a loveless ...
On this program, two stories about powerful maternal instincts, and hard choices. In Amy Hempel’s “Beg, SI Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep” two women make very different choices about childbearing. The reader is Anika Noni Rose. Guest host Jane Curtin reads Galina Vroman’s “Sarah’s Story,” a provocative ...
On this program, Jay McInerney’s scathing look at bright lights in the big city. His story “It’s Six A.M., Do You Know Where You Are?” is read by Jeremy Shamos. Maile Meloy depicts a breach of trust in a father/daughter relationship in “Red from Green”. Patricia Kalember reads. Parker ...
Guest host David Sedaris presents two stories about convergence. In Flannery O’Connor’s classic “Everything that Rises Must Converge” two cultures collide, and so do a mother and son. The reader is Estelle Parsons. And the heroine of Amy Hempel’s “Jesus is Waiting” is looking for the ...
Four stories about sitting down to a meal, or a drink, with surprising results. Henry Miller tells us about the dinner party from Hell in “Soiree in Hollywood;” Joshua Malina reads. Catherine O’Hara is the sweet housewife with a big secret in Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter,” while ...
In Ann Hood’s “The Occasional Pignoli Tart” a mother and daughter dream of life beyond the bakery where they work. Amber Tamblyn reads. And Christopher Lloyd plays all the parts in Lewis Carroll’s “A Mad Tea Party.” Robert Sean Leonard hosts.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents food-related fictions, including his own reading of Lydia Davis’s “Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer,” Nora Ephron’s “Serial Monogamy: A Memoir,” read by Mary Kay Place, and an excerpt from Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert read by Christina Pickles.
On this program, John Lithgow reads Lydia Millet’s charming “Sir Henry,” about a dignified dachshund, his aloof dog walker, and his celebrity owner (think Baywatch). And Rick Moody accomplishes the nearly impossible—a love story told in tweets. Aya Cash and Mike Birbiglia read “Some Contemporary ...
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program celebrating the late David Rakoff, and praising him as a great reader and lover of language. Rakoff reads Leonard Michaels’ “Cryptology” in which a neurotic mathematician has a strange encounter, and Roberto Bolano’ s “Gomez Palacio,” which is ...
Guest host Guest host Neil Gaiman two tales of illusion. In “Miracle Polish,” by Steven Millhauser, the protagonist buys a gimmicky product from a door-to-door salesman that changes his life—or does it? The reader is Paul Hecht. In the classic by English writer “Saki,” a teenager turns “The ...
Guest host Hope Davis introduces writings from the quarterly food journal Lucky Peach, founded by celebrity chef David Chang, owner of Momofuku, and writer Peter Meehan. Learn about Chinese drinking games, perfect marmalade, cooking in the South Pole, and Marc Maron’s cast iron pots. Also, a piece ...
Guest host John Lithgow introduces three stories about reading and writing. First, Walter R. Brooks’ talking horse Mr. Ed learns to read, with hilarious consequences, in “Ed Has His Mind Improved,” performed by Tony Roberts. In Ray Bradbury’s “Exchange,” read by Rochelle Oliver, an overworked ...
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