14 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. Produced and distributed by Symphony Space.

Selected Shorts Symphony Space

    • Arts
    • 4.4 • 2.2K 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. Produced and distributed by Symphony Space.

    Survival Skills

    Survival Skills

    Guest host Roxane Gay presents two stories about making things work out, though sometimes at a cost.  In “Loose Change,” by Andrea Levy, performed by Eve Best, a well-off Londoner has a strange encounter in an art gallery, one that recalls a pivotal moment in her family’s past. In Manuel Munoz’s "Anyone Can Do It,” a poor woman takes a risk in order to provide for her family.  The reader is Monica Raymund.

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    • 59 min
    Embracing Disaster: Joyce Carol Oates and Etgar Keret

    Embracing Disaster: Joyce Carol Oates and Etgar Keret

    Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories by two masters of the short-story form.  Humor, humanity, and fantasy all combine in four tales of things gone wrong.

    In “Fly Already” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber, a widower and his small son watch a drama unfold. In “Where Are You?” by Joyce Carol Oates, performed by Dianna Agron, a demanding husband pushes his wife to the limit. In “One Gram Short” by Etgar Keret, performed by Ira Glass, a stoner makes a really bad deal; and Oates’ “Assassin” combines tongue-in-cheek horror and political satire.  Becky Ann Baker is the reader.

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    • 58 min
    Approaching Peace

    Approaching Peace

    On this show, guest host Hope Davis presents three stories about finding some kind of peace and stability in a variety of challenging circumstances.  In Rabih Alameddine’s “Break” a trans woman reconnects with a sibling.  The reader is Pooya Mohseni.  Dave Eggers imagines a world changed by determined parents in “Your Mother And I,” performed by the late David Rakoff.  And love triumphs over illness in Amy Bloom’s “Silver Water,” performed by Linda Lavin. 

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    • 57 min
    Motherhood with Celeste Ng and Mary Karr

    Motherhood with Celeste Ng and Mary Karr

    On this show, guest host Kate Burton introduces two stories that look at the joys and complexity of motherhood. They were chosen  by the novelist Celeste Ng and memoirist and essayist Mary Karr, each of whom comments briefly on her pick.  In “Looking for a Thief,” by Danielle Lazarin, a suburban mother questions her choices. The story is performed by Heather Burns. And Burton reads Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which another mother wonders if she’s done right by a challenging first child. 

     

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    • 59 min
    Outcasts in Love with Maulik Pancholy

    Outcasts in Love with Maulik Pancholy

    Two stories in which social outliers strive for love. “Tandolfo the Great,” by Richard Bausch, is read by Michael Ian Black.  And Lance Reddick reads “A Tree, A Rock, a Cloud” by American master Carson McCullers.

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    • 59 min
    Too Hot For Radio: ZZ Packer "Gideon"

    Too Hot For Radio: ZZ Packer "Gideon"

    Writer ZZ Packer is best known for her excellent 2003 collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which saw its stories published in venues including The New Yorker (where she was launched as a debut writer). Packer's stories have appeared in Harper's and Story, and have been published in The Best American Short Stories. "Gideon" is read by the great American actress Danielle Brooks. Brooks is, of course, best known for her performance as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black, but she’s also appeared in films and theater including a starring role in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
2.2K Ratings

2.2K Ratings

WoodfordSki ,

Great Stories, Beautifully Read

Comedy and drama read by terrific actors.

Devoted in Hawaii ,

Stop with the overwrought acting!

Ruining story after story by treating them as plays. The focus is on the actors rather than the story.

RosemariB ,

Disappointed in “Buck Boy”

Even if you’re Black, even if you’ve won the highest literary awards in the country, it is not okay to stereotype, mock & insult Black people.

I hated Mr. McBride’s short story on so many levels. So let me just say, even if you have good intentions, “Buck Boy” is not only racist, it’s dehumanizing!

Every Black person in the story except for his sister is stupid & trifling, especially Buck Boy, who McBride wants to show (stolen money in his cold dead hands) deserves to be killed.

The only person the reader should have compassion for is the Asian man who killed Buck Boy after he robbed him. He is the only one who is decent in his concern for Buck Boy’s funeral costs, burial site, but strangely not his life.

I racially classify characters because it was McBride’s whole point.

While a whole community of black folks, from mother to minister don’t care, don’t even show up for his funeral, they just want money, things, & dope.

When Toni Morrison included some of our peoples’ eccentric names, she explained how the name came about & we appreciated the wit & truth behind it. With McBride it feels mocking & insulting.

If a white person wrote this terrible racist story of stereotypes he or she would be canceled. Well for this one lone Black woman, Mr. McBride is canceled. I will not read anymore of his books & I’ll side-eye Riverside Books.

I’ve enjoyed Selected Shorts, but will have to take a break from it too.

Thanks for the opportunity to give feedback.

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