A case study in every word from a friend meaning its opposite. An excerpt from the short story "The Underminer." A book based on the story is forthcoming from Bloomsbury USA.
A short story, "Fatso," by Etgar Keret. A woman reveals to her boyfriend that she's not always what she seems.
Jonathan Goldstein reads a story about the first people to ever start from scratch, a couple named Adam and Eve. Jonathan Goldstein is the host of the Gimlet show Heavyweight.
Another story of someone using the word love as they try to make sense of things. Russell Banks reads an edited version of his short story "Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story," which appears in its full version in his collection The Angel on the Roof.
A short story by Jhumpa Lahiri, from her book of short stories The Interpreter of Maladies. The story is read by Mira Nair, director of the movies Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding, and others.
Ira summarizes the results of an informal poll of about a hundred people, about whether they were living their Plan A or Plan B... and recounts a moment from a short story by author Ron Carlson, called "Plan B for the Middle Class," from his book by the same name. (2 minutes)
J. Robert Lennon reads an excerpt from his short story "The Accursed Items," in which he demonstrates that even objects can fulfill a fate different from the one for which they were intended. Even inanimate objects can have a plan B.
Jonathan Goldstein with a story about what it's like to date Lois Lane when she's on the rebound from Superman. Jonathan Goldstein is the author of the novels Lenny Bruce is Dead and Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!.
Michael Chabon reads an excerpt from his short story Werewolves in Their Youth, from his collection of the same name, about an act of kid logic that succeeds where adult logic fails.
A lot of stories from your life, the more you tell them, the less power they have over you. But cringe stories often don't seem to lose their power over time.
An excerpt from Nicholson Baker's novel The Everlasting Story of Nory, which is narrated, more or less, by a ten-year-old. In this excerpt, we return to what Kayla Hernandez talked about in the prologue to the show: The narrator discusses the difficulty of remembering what happens on any given day.
On a commemorative day, it can be hard to feel a real sense of the past and of how time has moved forward. Russell Banks has a story demonstrating what it might take to do just that.
Host Ira Glass reads an excerpt from Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. The narrator, Will, recalls a time when he was a child that he convinced a friend that a portal to another world existed at the back of his closet.
Thomas Beller tells the story of how we go from innocently amusing ourselves, to less innocent activities—all in the pursuit of happiness.
Host Ira Glass describes a children's book from the 1970s called Nobody's Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the author of Harriet the Spy. On the surface, it sounds like a rather menacing title for a kids' book. But in fact, the story is about how kids can finally find peace if they stop hoping that their parents will ever be any different.
Actor Matt Malloy reads a short story by Aimee Bender, from her book The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories.
Tillie Olsen reads from her short story "I Stand Here Ironing," from her collection Tell Me A Riddle. In the story, a mother reviews all that's gone wrong in the raising of her oldest daughter...and makes a few conclusions about what she should think about her mistakes as a mother.
Writer Mona Simpson reads from her forthcoming novel My Hollywood. This excerpt is about the daytime life of Filipino nannies, during the hours in which they run the lovely homes of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Writer Brady Udall with another story about what animals can take the place of, in our lives and in our homes—this one involving an armadillo.This work of fiction originally appeared in the Autumn 1999 issue of Story magazine.
So what if you held onto a high-school crush? Under what conditions would it never go away? Tobias Wolff reads a short story called "Kiss." (38 minutes)
As pure of a depiction of unadulterated crush feeling as can be imagined—from writer Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes. It's read for us by actor Matt Malloy.
Ira reads a very brief excerpt from a short story from writer Stuart Dybek called "We Didn't." Dybek fills 11 pages, thousands of words, describing all the things two people do when they're not doing something.
Writer Achy Obejas reads a piece of short fiction from her book, We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? (11 minutes)
Writer Tobias Wolff reads his story "Bullet in the Brain" from his collection of stories The Night in Question, about a bank robbery and a man who's shot, and what he thinks about before he dies.