What unites this program's two rather different stories is that both are tales of deepening insight, stories whose main characters undergo profound and life-altering experiences. The program begins with "The Seventh Man," by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and it starts with an old fashioned device: On a dark and stormy night, a group of men sit around a circle and tell their stories. The reader is John Shea. In our second tale, Aimee Bender's "The Rememberer," the heroine's lover undergoes a remarkable transformation that changes both their lives forever. The reader is Tony Award-winner Marian Seldes. A brief interview with Seldes follows the reading.
Four stories about sitting down to a meal, or a drink, with surprising results. Henry Miller tells us about the dinner party from Hell in “Soiree in Hollywood;” Joshua Malina reads. Catherine O’Hara is the sweet housewife with a big secret in Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter,” while Josh Radnor talks to his lunch in Etgar Keret’s “Halibut.” And life is just one brew after another in Robert Coover’s surreal “Going for a Beer,” read by Isaiah Sheffer. Robert Sean Leonard hosts.
In Ann Hood’s “The Occasional Pignoli Tart” a mother and daughter dream of life beyond the bakery where they work. Amber Tamblyn reads. And Christopher Lloyd plays all the parts in Lewis Carroll’s “A Mad Tea Party.” Robert Sean Leonard hosts.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents food-related fictions, including his own reading of Lydia Davis’s “Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer,” Nora Ephron’s “Serial Monogamy: A Memoir,” read by Mary Kay Place, and an excerpt from Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert read by Christina Pickles.
On this program, John Lithgow reads Lydia Millet’s charming “Sir Henry,” about a dignified dachshund, his aloof dog walker, and his celebrity owner (think Baywatch). And Rick Moody accomplishes the nearly impossible—a love story told in tweets. Aya Cash and Mike Birbiglia read “Some Contemporary Characters”, and Parker Posey is our guest host.
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program celebrating the late David Rakoff, and praising him as a great reader and lover of language. Rakoff reads Leonard Michaels’ “Cryptology” in which a neurotic mathematician has a strange encounter, and Roberto Bolano’ s “Gomez Palacio,” which is a dead-end town where a young man’s life nevertheless takes a turn for the better.