22 episodes

Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time. Sometimes funny. Always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theater, and comedy. New episodes every Thursday, from Symphony Space.

Selected Shorts Symphony Space

    • Arts
    • 4.4 • 2.5K Ratings

Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time. Sometimes funny. Always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theater, and comedy. New episodes every Thursday, from Symphony Space.

    Best American Short Stories 2021 with Jesmyn Ward

    Best American Short Stories 2021 with Jesmyn Ward

    Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories from the Best American Short Stories 2021 anthology selected by guest editor Jesmyn Ward. Both involve adolescents facing displacement or rejection, but the stories are set in very different environments: One takes place in a surreal, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and one inside a junior high school in Tennessee. First, Leo Solomon reads “Playing Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain,” by Jamil Jan Kochai. Then we hear “Biology,” a beautiful story by Kevin Wilson, performed by Mike Doyle. And Ward comments briefly on her approach to creating this year’s diverse anthology.

    • 57 min
    Modest Expectations

    Modest Expectations

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents four stories in which characters shape their expectations and dreams to a manageable size in collaboration with Belletrist Book Club. So if you’re “Medusa,” as in our first story, by Tania James, you try to figure out how to live in the world instead of turning it to stone. The reader is Constance Zimmer. Parents in our second story, “We Only Wanted Their Happiness,” by Alexander Weinstein, make a tactical choice about technology. It’s performed by Randall Park. The narrator of Honor Levy’s “Good Boys,” read by Annie Hamilton, understands that infatuation is a phase. And a man and a woman sidestep romance in “Arrangements” by Charlie Watts, performed by Laura Harrier and Will Harrison. The show was recorded at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and features commentary by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss of Belletrist Book Club.

    Since 2017, Belletrist Book Club has chosen more than 75 titles for the book club and dozens more for myriad content features across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and the newsletter The Belletrist Brief. In 2019, Emma Roberts and Karah Priess spun out Belletrist Book Club into a production company called Belletrist Productions.
    https://www.belletrist.com/

    • 59 min
    Out of Sight

    Out of Sight

    Host Meg Wolitzer shares three stories about people who put things out of sight—and try to put them out of mind. In Lisa Ko’s “Nightlife,” read by Vanessa Kai, a pair of friends quietly sidestep feelings that might complicate their relationship. A teacher tries to help a parent see who her child really is in “The Hole” by Patrick Cottrell, performed by Becca Blackwell. And Elizabeth Strout brings us a beautiful and devastating story of a woman grappling with whether to put her mother into institutional care in “Home,” performed by Mia Dillon. Strout talks with Wolitzer after the reading. All three works were commissioned for the Selected Shorts’ anthology, Small Odysseys.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Bonus: A Conversation with Elizabeth Strout

    Bonus: A Conversation with Elizabeth Strout

    Host Meg Wolitzer talks with author Elizabeth Strout about her story “Home” and the fictional family Strout has created.

    • 10 min
    Save the Date with Belletrist Book Club

    Save the Date with Belletrist Book Club

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about social occasions for introverts and extroverts alike, curated with the Belletrist Book Club, founded by actor Emma Roberts and producer Karah Preiss. The show was recorded at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Humorist Samantha Irby asks “Please Invite Me to Your Party,” but does she mean it? The reader is Richa Moorjani. Victoria Lancelotta’s “The Anniversary Trip,” performed by Judy Greer, is, and is not, about the married couple making the trip. And Jen Spyra takes it to extremes to get to the altar in perfect shape in “The Bridal Body,” performed by Erinn Hayes.

    This is Selected Shorts' first collaboration with Belletrist. Since 2017, Belletrist has chosen over 75 books for the book club and dozens more for myriad content features across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and a newsletter: The Belletrist Brief. In 2019, Emma and Karah spun out Belletrist Book Club into a production company called Belletrist Productions. https://www.belletrist.com

    • 59 min
    Embracing Change

    Embracing Change

    On this episode of Selected Shorts, host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about change. A playful fantasy, a domestic dilemma, and a private struggle help us to adjust to the idea of transformation, losses, and gains. In “Sea Monster,” by Seth Fried, performed by Natasha Rothwell, a husband and wife reveal their secret identities to each other. In “Death by Printer,” by Mira Jacob, read by Rita Wolf, a widow learns to cope with loss—and technology. And a mature woman embraces the self she is becoming in Maile Meloy’s “Period Piece,” performed by Kelli O’Hara. The last two stories were commissioned for Selected Shorts’ anthology Small Odysseys.

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
2.5K Ratings

2.5K Ratings

wordyshipmate ,

Stories

Consistently interesting stories read with passion by actors; if you love short stories or literature, you will love this podcast.

joe14250 ,

Love bedtime stories!

My father used to make up stories to get us to fall asleep! I will sometime enjoy a SS at bedtime too! I love the association!

CharlesThorntonPollard ,

Love, love Meg♥️

This is more of a testament to the awesome Meg Wolitzer. Meg, your insights, interviews, and passion for good literature is refreshing. This is especially true during a season of non-literate persons foisting their elementary approach to story telling on us. You encourage and promote the best. You are the best, only to be challenged by your mom—-and I love your interviews of Mom!

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