Read Selected Shorts: A Touch of Magic by Symphony Space Andrew Lam T.C. Boyle Ray Bradbury W.W. Jacobs Saki Donald Barthelme Kevin Brockmeier Online

selected-shorts-a-touch-of-magic

Recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City and at venues across the United States, these audio anthologies feature short stories from the Selected Shorts program that airs nationwide. More than 300,000 listeners tune in to this offering weekly to hear spellbinding tales read aloud by an assortment of terrific actors. By turns funny, moving, romantic, andRecorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City and at venues across the United States, these audio anthologies feature short stories from the Selected Shorts program that airs nationwide. More than 300,000 listeners tune in to this offering weekly to hear spellbinding tales read aloud by an assortment of terrific actors. By turns funny, moving, romantic, and surreal, each of the tales on this magical lineup is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Stephen Colbert performs Ray Bradbury’s tale about a room that can take one anywhere in the world—sometimes with dangerous consequences. From a romance between a mermaid and an imp to a wonderful ghost story about a trinket with terrible powers, this eclectic collection also features narratives by W. W. Jacobs, Andrew Lam, Saki, and T. C. Boyle as well as performances by John Lithgow, James Naughton, Daniel Gerroll, and René Auberjonois.01 Andrew Lam's "The Palmist", performed by James Naughton02 Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt", performed by Stephen Colbert03 W. W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw", performed by John Lithgow04 Saki's "The Occasional Garden", performed by Daniel Gerroll05 Donald Barthelme's "The Balloon", performed by Maria Tucci06 Kevin Brockmeier's "The Year of Silence", performed by Anthony Rapp07 Jonathan Safran Foer's "The Sixth Borough", performed by Jerry Zaks08 Aimee Bender's "Drunken Mimi", performed by Bernadette Quigley09 Haruki Murakami's "The Little Green Monster", performed by Dana Ivey10 T. C. Boyle's "Swept Away", performed by René Auberjonois...

Title : Selected Shorts: A Touch of Magic
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781934033135
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 3 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Selected Shorts: A Touch of Magic Reviews

  • Cait Poytress
    2019-03-10 15:40

    I cannot for the life of me recall where I first heard about Selected Shorts. I might have even come across it by accident in my library's search engine. However it came to be, better late than never. This series is awesome! Granted I've only listened to one collection so far, but who cares. I'm sold. Actors perform live readings of selected short stories (usually following a theme for each event - in this case, a touch of magic), which is recorded and broadcast on an award winning radio program every week.I was going to mention that stories 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10 were my favorites, but typing it out like that just looks ridiculous. 1. The Palmist - Andrew Lam (performed by James Naughton)This story, about a teenage boy's encounter with a palmist while riding the bus, was a great opener. Naughton's narration was wonderful, very calm and understated, with perfect pacing. It's easy to be distracted by other things while listening to an audiobook, but I became immersed in this story right away. There was something about Naughton's tone, coupled with Lam's descriptions, that made me feel like I was on the bus with them, watching events unfold as we rattled and bumped through the pouring rain. I loved it. 2. The Veldt - Ray Bradbury (performed by Stephen Colbert)Ok, so this story just confirms that I desperately need to read more Bradbury. Colbert is funny as hell reading this story about the unfortunate consequences of owning a "smart house" that does everything for you, from cooking dinner to brushing your teeth and tying your shoes. Originally published in 1950, it's an awesome mix of Science Fiction and 50's "Leave it to Beaver".3. The Monkey's Paw - W.W. Jacob's (performed by John Lithgow)This story felt like deja vu. I don't know if I've actually read it before or if it's so familiar because it's a story based on the premise of the main character getting 3 wishes. Either way, we all know how those end, right? I'm sure this would have been creepy on it's own, but John Lithgow's narration really made it shine. Lithgow is a virtuoso (though often times a little too over the top for my personal taste) and this performance was really phenomenal. Obviously I couldn't see it, but based on the audience response at the end, he got a standing ovation.4. The Occasional Garden - Saki (performed by Daniel Gerroll)Another fantastic narration that made a funny story hilarious. A woman finds a solution to her inadequate garden, with comic results. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but it was so fun! The audience reaction made it even better; it reminded me of how much more I enjoy listening to David Sedaris performing his stuff live as opposed to reading the print version. By the way, this is the fourth kick ass story in a row and at this point I'm thinking that I am currently listening to the best. thing. ever.5. The Balloon - Donald Bartheleme (performed by Maria Tucci)Aaaand here's where things start to backslide. The story itself wasn't bad. The narration could have been better (I could hear every swallow/mouth noise - yuck). I don't know, maybe it just paled in comparison to the first four. Regardless, my literary high started to fade a bit.6. The Year of Silence - Kevin Brockmeier (performed by Anthony Rapp)I only just recently stumbled across Kevin Brockmeier when I read (and loved) his story 'Parakeets' in Granta 97: Best of Young American Novelists 2. This second story just reinforces my belief that I will really like this guy (and makes me glad about my post-Parakeet Brockmeier book buying binge). And there's morse code! That you figure out yourself! Not in a gimmicky way, either. Anthony Rapp* was an adequate narrator, but nothing special. *As a bonus, I realized that I can finally think of Anthony Rapp without thinking of Darryl from Adventures in Babysitting. Ya think?7. The Sixth Borough - Jonathan Safran Foer (performed by Jerry Zacks)This story is actually an excerpt from Foer's fanfreakingtastic novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. On it's own it's a lovely little fable, but I think it's gut wrenching poignancy is lost outside of the context of the novel. I could fawn over JSF like it was my job, so I'll quit while I'm ahead. The narration was nice as well.8. Drunken Mimi - Aimee Bender (performed by Bernadette Quigley)Aimee Bender was another first for me this year, and I fell in LOVE (thank you, Willful Creatures). This story was alright... so actually, kind of a disappointment based on my inflated expectations. The narration was at least part of the problem.9. The Little Green Monster - Haruki Murakami (performed by Dana Ivey)This one broke my heart a little. A woman and a little green monster, but not in the way that you'd expect. I don't really want to spoil anything, but I will say that I thought about this for a while afterward. And I'm still not sure how I want to interpret it. I'm looking forward to rereading this in print form when I read The Elephant Vanishes.10. Swept Away - T.C. Boyle (performed by Rene Auberjonois)Another fantastic performance of another great story. Actually, that's what I think made the first 4 stories and this one stand out from the others. The others were "readings" of stories, some very good, but the 5 best were "performances". I'm so glad this collection ended on a high note. I found out tonight that there is a podcast on iTunes where they have the most recent 5 programs available for free download. Score! It really is worth checking out.

  • Mirkat
    2019-03-07 15:06

    My two-star rating for this is not so much a reflection on the writing as on the the narration and format. The stories, for the most part, are quite good (though some moreso than others, of course). Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for listening to this collection from the "Selected Shorts" series, but what happened was I kept finding myself annoyed when the live studio audience laughed at lines I didn't find funny, and after a while I'd think "ha ha ha" after every other line or so out of spite. I can't help thinking that there was an element missing for me, such as the actor's body language and the shared experience of being in a live audience, but the fact is that this was made into an audio recording. Another factor is that there were times when I felt as though some of the narrators were show-boating, trying to make the narration more about themselves than the story. I'm especially thinking of Rene Auberjonois, whose rendition of the TC Boyle story distracted me so much I could barely follow it.Another disappointment was that my primary reason for downloading this collection from my library's website was because I saw that one of the authors was my beloved Haruki Murakami. But then it turned out that the story was one I'd already listened to in the audiobook version of his collection The Elephant Vanishes. My favorite story (both writing and performance) ended up being the first one--Andrew Tam's "The Palmist." I will definitely seek out more of his writing. Stephen Colbert doing "The Veldt" (Rad Bradbury) and John Lithgow doing "The Monkey's Paw" (Stephen King) were fine, but I felt I was a bit too familiar with both stories.

  • James
    2019-03-17 10:02

    Summary from Amazon:"Recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City and at venues across the United States, these audio anthologies feature short stories from the Selected Shorts program that airs nationwide. More than 300,000 listeners tune in to this offering weekly to hear spellbinding tales read aloud by an assortment of terrific actors.By turns funny, moving, romantic, and surreal, each of the tales on this magical lineup is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Stephen Colbert performs Ray Bradbury’s tale about a room that can take one anywhere in the world—sometimes with dangerous consequences. From a romance between a mermaid and an imp to a wonderful ghost story about a trinket with terrible powers, this eclectic collection also features narratives by W. W. Jacobs, Andrew Lam, Saki, and T. C. Boyle as well as performances by John Lithgow, James Naughton, Daniel Gerroll, and René Auberjonois."Stephen Colbert reading Ray Bradbury is, of course, a delight, as is John Lithgow reading the classic "The Monkey's Paw." I also particularly enjoyed the Kevin Brockmeier story "The Year of Silence." These stories are all centered around some kind of fantastical event. As with any anthology, there's some inconsistency, but overall it's an enjoyable, provocative collection.

  • Bethany
    2019-02-28 10:03

    This collection of short stories (an audio book) by varying authors and readers seemed like the perfect thing for my daily drive to Chad’s and back…except that each of the stories in this collection was either freakishly weird, or depressing, or both! I love a little magic (Harry Potter, Narnia, etc.), but this was more on the morbid or disgusting side. There’s the tale of the “Little Green Monster” who claws his way up out of the ground, enters the woman’s house, and then she proceeds to describe in detail how she’ll torture him…until he gets smaller and smaller and then vanishes. You don’t know who to feel more disgusted by: the nasty, intruding monster, or the housewife who verbally tortures him until you almost think she’s the one who deserves to vanish. There’s also Ray Bradbury’s “The Veld,” which is very well-written, and was perhaps the story I hated least…if I could just stomach two intensely spoiled children who think it fun to watch their parents brutally killed by lions over and over. In all, a disturbing way to spend a couple hours of driving time.

  • Krista
    2019-02-28 09:51

    This collection is half about the stories themselves and half about the performance of their reading, and as a result of that, it was for me a fairly uneven experience. John Lithgow brings his own brand of melodrama to The Monkey's Paw and Stephen Colbert is drily ironic with The Veldt, and these are very enjoyable to listen to. But when the stories and the performers are both unfamiliar (like Anthony Rapp reading The Year of Silence or Bernadette Quigley doing Drunken Mimi), I was less engaged. Overall, though, I did enjoy the concept and the execution of having these stories told by seasoned storytellers; this was a very different experience than listening to other short story collections on audiobook. I see there is a whole series put out by Symphony Space and I would be happy to explore their format further.

  • Terri
    2019-02-24 09:45

    This is a lovely collection of short stories all which center around some fantastical event. Like all collections, it is a bit uneven. The highlight for me was Stephen Colbert reading Ray Bradbury's Veldt. Such a deliciously creepy story. In addition to reacquainting me with a couple of old favorites (Veldt; John Lithgow reading The Monkey's Paw; Aimee Bender), I enjoyed being introduced to some author's I hadn't read before. I particularly enjoyed The Year of Silence by Kevin Brockmeier,

  • Carla
    2019-03-15 13:57

    I listened to the audiobook of this selection while on a trip to Canada. I was driving approximately 20 hours by myself and thought that this might be a good idea rather than a single book. What a horrible boring audio! Short stories, read by people, some of who I knew, that weren't very good. At the end of each story, people clapped, so it was taped live. I could sometimes hear the pages turning as the reader read the story. Boring!

  • Anna
    2019-03-05 12:52

    My favorite short in this collection is The Year of Silence, but all of the stories are great. They are, as the title promises, magical, strange, totally unique. I particularly loved Colbert's performance of The Veldt. Once again, Selected Shorts is a hit. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars is that I'm trying to be a harsher reader. I'm always clicking 5 for everything!

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-03-03 13:48

    I've been having trouble with short stories lately, but this collection has been great. Stories about destiny, homicide, magic, competition, importance, silence, love, a dunk mermaid, destruction, a woman blow away by the wind. I love all the narrators and I'm glad I was introduced to so many great authors. I'll be checking out their other works soon!

  • Sarah
    2019-02-28 11:01

    These were ok- I think i am just not super into the writings of Ray bradbury and the other authors. there were a couple good ones- but also a couple i didn't even understand. They pretty much all left me with an uneasy feeling. I would NOT recommend this audio collection to kids- ever. It would totally give them nightmares.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-24 15:40

    This book was mostly older stories read by some well-known people. All of the narration is good, and the stories move from dark to light, which is a clever arrangement. But the collection is heavier on classics than I'd realized and I was disappointed by that.

  • Christine Gaskins
    2019-03-13 17:56

    I enjoyed some of the narrators. A few sounded like they were giving lectures or the stories were just boring.

  • Thecritic
    2019-02-24 16:40

    Such great collection

  • Amanda
    2019-03-27 13:02

    This rating is in favor of Stephen Colbert's reading of Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt." He really makes the story interesting.

  • Lauri
    2019-03-21 11:00

    These was my least favorite of this series. I did not understand the choice of stories - many were mean-spirited and unpleasant.