Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two works curated with the online food and cooking community Food52. In J. Robert Lennon’s “Breadman,” artisanal bread threatens a marriage. Kyle MacLachlan reads. And Joan Allen performs an excerpt from Nora Ephron’s novel Heartburn.
Guest hosts Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre, the hosts of the podcast “Crybabies,” offer up some tearjerkers and share their love of crying. In “I Am the Bear,” by Wendy Brenner, a misfit and a model have an odd encounter. The reader is Kate Walsh. The late David Rakoff contemplates mortality in “All the Time We Have,” performed by Dennis O’Hare; and Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” tries to protect children from the bad things. It’s read by Busy Philipps.
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents stories, essays, and poems, and speeches celebrating America’s diversity and wealth of stories. An aging father ponders his life in Elizabeth Strout’s “The Walk,” read by Ellen Burstyn. The whole country’s talking in Susan Minot’s “Listen,” read by Jennifer Ikeda and Khris Lewin. Julia Alvarez faces prejudice and finds her voice in “Speak! Speak!” read by Selenis Leyva, and Henry Louis Gates intros works by 19th-century African-American women writers from his anthology.
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories featuring man's best friend. In "Pie Dance," by Molly Giles, a divorcee balances a complicated family menage with the help of her dancing dog. Nixon read this story as part of Radio Love Fest, a production of WNYC and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, at BAM's Harvey Theater. Then in Maile Meloy's touching tale, "Madame Lazarus" an elegant, aging Frenchman is no longer certain of his younger lover, but has complete faith in the love and loyalty of his self-willed terrier Cordelia. Reader Rene Auberjonois read this story at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.