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.
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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.