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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories where facts, beliefs, and fabrications coincide.
Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories in which trusting your senses is important.
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.
Guest host Hope Davis presents stories about family ties.
On this show, guest host Kate Burton introduces two stories that look at the joys and complexity of motherhood.
Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about expectation, hope and disenchantment.
Guest host LeVar Burton presents two of his favorite stories.
Actor John Cameron Mitchell wows us with his performance of a beautiful and poignant coming-of-age story.
Guest host Kate Burton presents some unusual chillers for Halloween.
Guest host Sonia Manzano presents two stories about identity, appearance, and longing. I