Selected Shorts from PRI

Selected Shorts from PRI

United States

Podcast by Selected Shorts from PRI

Episodes

Front Lines  

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. 

Brief Lives  

Life is fleeting in these three works presented by guest host Michael Cerveris.   Andy Warhol complains about fifteen seconds of fame in excerpts from his diaries read by Denis O’Hare.  A novelist borrows someone else’s tragedy in “The Young Painters,” read by Heather Burns.  And a young boy and his grandmother in rural Ireland make a dramatic decision in Claire Keegan’s “The Burning Palms,” read by Patricia Kalember.

Episode 20 Julia Slavin "Covered"  

From Julia Slavin's collection, The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club, a dark and funny story about not being able to leave your childhood behind.  As you'll hear, reader Alec Baldwin finds the humor, absurdity and, ultimately, the humanity through his reading.  Later in this episode, host Aparna Nancherla chats with Julia Slavin about the origins of "Covered." 



Women’s Roles  

Guest host Kate Burton presents three works in which women are subjects, objects, or catalysts.  The Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has excellent street cred as a feminist, with books like The Edible Woman and The Handmaid’s Tale.   So she’s allowed to poke a little fun at political correctness, which she does in “There Was Once.”   It's performed 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. 

Uncharted Territories  

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.

Episode 19 David Sedaris "Road Trips"  

Actor Sam Underwood (The Following) reads a Sedaris story you're never going to hear on Public Radio.  Also, guest host Lorin Stein (Editor of The Paris Review) talks to Sedaris about his work, and what stories he would love to hear on Too Hot For Radio.

The Pursuit of Happiness  

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two sweet tales of happily ever after.  In Maile Meloy’s “The Proxy Marriage,” the shy hero marries the love of his life over and over.  The reader is Patricia Kalember.  And Anne Meara performs “The Worm in the Apple,” John Cheever’s tale of a marriage so perfect no one can believe it.

Learn from Your Mistakes  

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.

Episode 18  Angela Carter “In the Company of Wolves”  

Guest host Lorin Stein, editor in chief of The Paris Review, introduces a story by the late English novelist and critic Angela Carter.  Carter was known for her work reinventing fairy tales and counted among her fans director Neil Jordan, who made "In the Company of Wolves" into a movie, as well as author Neil Gaiman, who is heard on this episode talking about why he loves Carter's stories.  Later in the podcast, Lorin talks to Slate critic Laura Miller, about Carter's fascinating life and what fueled her work.  

Laugh Riot: The Best of the Harvard Lampoon  

Guest host Kate Burton presents a cornucopia of funny pieces from the volume The Best of The Harvard Lampoon, include works by Patricia Marx and BJ Novak.  Readers include Wyatt Cenac, Michael Emerson, Richard Masur, and Alysia Reiner. 

Untrue Love  

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. 

Episode 17 Hubert Selby, Jr. "Another Day, Another Dollar"  

The first chapter of Hubert Selby, Jr's classic, Last Exit To Brooklyn is many things: it's profane, violent and contains a number of racial slurs.  But it's also a window into the gritty life on a Brooklyn street written by a man who had lived a horrible life and had come out the other side.  In a powerful reading, actor John Turturro (Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink, The Night Of) transports us to those mean, grim streets. Also in the episode, guest host Lorin Stein, Editor of The Paris Review, talks to novelist and screenplay writer Richard Price about what it was about Last Exit To Brooklyn and Selby as a person that made him a fan.

The Kids Aren’t All Right  

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two stories in which children are at risk.  In Elizabeth Spencer’s eerie “On the Hill,” read by Leonard, a strange couple may have a secret.  Teju Cole talks about the power of rumor and prejudice at an exclusive Nigerian girls’ school in “Modern Girls.”  The reader is Zainab Jah.   

Dangerously Funny:  George Saunders & Carrie Brownstein  

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.

Episode 16 Jess Walter “Helpless Little Things”  

From the best-selling author Beautiful Ruins, a story about a drug dealing Portland con artist voiced by actor Denis O'Hare who seems to have the perfect scam going, until it all goes wrong.  Jess Walter talks to Aparna about where he gets his inspiration from, reading his reviews, and how he handles the dreaded writer's block.

Three Boys and a Girl  

Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents four stories in which boys—and one girl—encounter adventures.   David Hyde Pierce reads an excerpt from E.B. White’s classic about intrepid mouse Stuart Little; Malachy McCourt reads James Joyce’s tale of thwarted young love, “Araby;” in Andrew Lam’s “The Palmist” a teenager hears his future; the reader is James Naughton.  And a father and daughter glide out of an airplane in “Flying” by Stephen Dixon, read by Thomas Gibson.   

Growing Pains  

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.


Episode 15 Justin Taylor  “A Talking Cure"  

From the the author of Flings, The Gospel of Anarchy, and Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever comes a story about a couple questioning the inevitability of their relationship.  Read by Criminal Minds actress Kirsten Vangsness, it's a story that our friends at Electric Literature described as “a veritable potpourri of intellectual, neurotic, literary delights." After the story, Aparna chats with the Executive Director of Electric Literature, Halimah Marcus, about what it all means as well as literature in pop culture.

Twice Told: Stories Inspired by Books  

Guest host Michael Cerveris presents four stories inspired by other books and authors.  Immigrants collide at Wal-Mart in Juan Martinez's “Best Worst American,” read by Cristin Milioti.  An old friendship is strained in Namwali Serpell 's "Double Men," read by Nikki M. James.  Seth Fried re-imagines Kafka's "Metamorphosis"; the reader is Jennifer Mudge.  And Dino Buzzati visits "Kafka's Houses" on trip to Prague.  The reader is Tony Roberts. 

More Women in Clothes  

Writer Heidi Julavits and artist Leanne Shapton host a show featuring readings from Women in Clothes, their bestselling compendium that addresses the rich, complex relationship women have with clothes. Sonia Manzano and Justin Vivian Bond read the selections. Also, a woman is comically parted from her hat in a small-town classic by Max Steele.  Paul Hecht reads “The Hat of My Mother.”   

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