Selected Shorts from PRI

Selected Shorts from PRI

United States

Podcast by Selected Shorts from PRI


You Might As Well Live: A Dorothy Parker Celebration  

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 them company in Robert Coover’s “Waitress,” read by Sonia Manzano.   

Episode 6 William Giraldi "Wonder Woman Was My Lover"  

"My one and only female was an acrobat on the mattress, and the truth is, I miss her still." So begins our featured story.  Read by RISK! podcast host, Kevin Allison, this story takes us on a wild romp when Wonder Woman lands in the yard of a gay man. It's a story full of humor, sex, and sweetness,.  Writer William Giraldi is author of the novels Busy Monsters and Hold the Dark, and the memoir The Hero's Body.

Parents and Children  

Guest host Kate Burton presents two stories about parents and children.  A mother and daughter remember the past differently in Tessa Hadley's "Matrilineal," performed by Patricia Kalember.  And a surprising offer divides two families in "In the Country," by Guy de Maupassant, performed by Thomas Gibson.  

Between Meals  

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 away.  Michael Imperioli reads.  In Marina Keegan’s “Reading Aloud” an elderly volunteer forms a bond with her blind client; Rita Wolf is the reader.

Episode 5 Nathan Englander “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”  

The critically acclaimed writer's story was recently selected as one of the Best American Stories of the past hundred years.  And just like all the stories here on Selected Short: Too Hot For Radio there are some adult moments - this story has grown people smoking dope, taking shots of vodka and keeping it real.  Actor Dylan Baker gives a tour de force reading that will keep you laughing and on the edge of your seat.  Also in this episode, Nathan chats by phone to host Aparna Nancherla from his temporary home in Malawi.

Dogs & Cats  

Guest host Kate Burton presents four works about cats and dogs.  "Dog" is at the center of a family power play in Richard Russo's tale, read by Stephen Lang.  Saki's classic presents "Tobermory" the talking cat, voiced by Rene Auberjonois.  How to live like a cat, in Helen Ellis's "Take it From Cats," read by Maria Dizzia, and a reversal of fortune in "Roslyn's Dog," by Arthur Bradford, read by John Benjamin Hickey.

Reader, I Married Him  

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents a celebration of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, with a reading from the classic (by Joanna Gleason) and contemporary stories it inspired: Salley Vickers' "Reader, She Married Me," read by Chris Sarandon, and Audrey Niffenegger's "The Orphan Exchange," read by Tovah Feldshuh.

Episode 4 Chuck Palahniuk "Zombies"  

From the dark mind of cult author Chuck Palahniuk (writer of such classic novels like Fight Club and Choke), "Zombies" is a tale of what happens when teens at a high school figure out a way to disengage with the pressure of life.  It's a story anyone in modern life can relate to, and the powerful ending packs a wallop.  Host Aparna Nancherla talks to Chuck about what inspired the story as well as books he loves.

Lost and Found  

An abduction, a rejection, and a reconciliation in three stories presented by David Sedaris.   A flirtatious girl is in peril in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, read by Christine Baranski.  A tender-hearted librarian parts company with her feral cats in Belle Boggs’ “Havahart,” read by Merritt Wever.  In George Saunders’ “Sticks,” read by Anthony Rapp, a dysfunctional father reaches out to his family in a strange way.

Animal Magnetism  

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents three stories with animal connections.  Old lovers take stock in Grace Paley’s “The Pale Pink Roast,” read by Linda Lavin.  A boy loves his piggy bank, in Etgar Keret’s “Breaking the Pig,” read by Campbell Scott.  And it’s man against dog in "Jerry and Molly and Sam," by Raymond Carver, read by Ana Gasteyer. 

Episode 3 Simon Rich  “Guy Walks Into A Bar”  

Author, former SNL writer, and creator of the FXX show Man Seeking Woman Simon Rich wrote a humor piece in The New Yorker that’s a dark yet sweetly hilarious take on the classic joke and just like that, it was all over social media. Just in case you need some extra encouragement, Conan O’Brien tweeted it and called it “the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.” Host Aparna Nancherla calls Simon Rich to discuss his story.

Untying Family Ties  

Guest host Hope Davis introduces Alice Munro’s “The Moons of Jupiter,” in which a woman caring for her ailing father reflects on her own life and his.  The reader is Oscar winner Holly Hunter.  In Ursula K. Le Guin’s “She Unnames Them,” read by Joanna Gleason, Eve makes some changes in Paradise.    

Best Friends  

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories featuring man's best friend.  In "Pie Dance," by Molly Giles, a complicated family menage includes a dancing dog.  Nixon is the reader.  And in Maile Meloy's touching "Madame Lazarus," read by Rene Auberjonois, an aging man bonds with his small terrier.

What is Real?  

Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories about strange encounters.  A woman's laundry is full of surprises in Diane Cook's "Flotsam," read by Melora Hardin.  An ordinary businessman has an extraordinary day in Shirley Jackson's "Paranoia," read by Thomas Gibson.  And a young newsie meets a philosophical drifter, in Carson McCullers "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud," read by Lance Reddick.  

Enviable Characters  

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents three stories about people pursuing the good life.  A young boy longs for the perfect pair of sneakers in Ray Bradbury’s “The Sound of Summer Running,” read by Sean Astin.  Aging hippies hope for happiness in “I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth,” by Margaret Atwood, read by Kirsten Vangsness, and Dave Hill reads Susan Orlean’s comic rant about babies, “Shiftless Little Loafers.”  

Episode 1 Stephen King “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”  

In this episode actor Stephen Lang reads, “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”, a -shall we say- intense story about family, love, and dying by Stephen King (yes, THAT Stephen King, need we say more?).  Host Aparna Nancherla talks to Stu Tinker, a Stephen King superfan fromKing’s hometown of Bangor, Maine (get ready for that accent!). For nearly 20 years he’s been giving tours the spots that have inspired so many of author’s stories.  

End of the Line  

Guest host Jane Kaczmarek introduces three tales about taking things to extremes.  She reads Jack Handey's comic tale of life after "Apocalypse."  In “Encounters with Unexpected Animals” by Bret Anthony Johnston, a father worries about his son's girlfriend.  Kirsten Vangsness reads.  And Pablo Schreiber brings an imaginative young boy to life in Roald Dahl's "The Wish."

Welcome to Selected Shorts: Too Hot For Radio  

Over the years, Selected Shorts has recorded amazing stories that due to language issues or content advisories were, well, too hot for radio. Now we've unlocked the vault and we're bringing you all the steam, gore, and profanity that makes the FCC crazy in this new podcast.  Hosted by comedian Aparna Nancherla, you’ll hear from some of our authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Simon Rich and readers like RISK podcast host Kevin Allison, and who knows who might pop into the studio to let us know their thoughts?  Welcome to Selected Shorts: Too Hot For Radio!

Heroes and Villains  

Guest host Hope Davis introduces three tales about heroes, heroism, and challenges.  In Larry Doyle’s “Reboot Me” a superhero needs rebranding.  Chip Kidd reads.  In an excerpt from Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, read by Aya Cash, a mousy librarian becomes a glamorous comic-book heroine.  The mood shifts with John Biguenet’s “I am Not a Jew,” in which a tourist is tormented by a neo-Nazi gang.  The reader is David Strathairn.

Long Distance  

Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories about travelling long distances.   In Ray Bradbury's "Strawberry Window," a family living on a desolate Mars outpost tries to make a home.  The reader is Boyd Gaines.  Megan Mayhew Bergman's "Hell Diving Women" are an integrated jazz band touring the segregated South.  The reader is Anika Noni Rose.

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