Selected Shorts: Christmas in July, Almost

“The H Street Sledding Record,” by Ron Carlson; “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor,” by John Cheever; and "A Visit from St. Nicholas," by James Thurber.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Contemporary and classic American authors jingle their bells in this summertime look back at Christmas.

We begin with Ron Carlson’s “The H Street Sledding Record,” a happy, un-sappy story about a family celebrating the Christmas season with fresh, intimate rituals. Carlson teaches at the University of California at Irvine, and is the author of five well-regarded collections of short stories, including "News of the World," and "Plan B for the Middle Class." His most recent novel is "The Signal," which is about a divorced couple’s adventures in the Wyoming mountains. Carlson's happy marriage story is read by the Los Angeles-based actor Keith Szarabajka.

John Cheever’s “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor,” paints a vivid picture of a certain kind of New York upper class, and its collision course with the doorman of the swanky apartment building where they all dwell. This hysterically funny tale of holiday charity gone wrong is read by the actor, author, talk show host, bon-vivant, former bar-owner and bartender Malachy McCourt.

This special holiday program closes with a literary stocking-stuffer: the great American humorist James Thurber got it into his head to re-write Clement Clarke Moore’s beloved poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” in the style of Ernest Hemingway. SHORTS host Isaiah Sheffer delivers a suitably manly reading.

The musical interlude in this program is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” performed by The West Coast Saxophone Quartet. The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please click here.

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit the SELECTED SHORTS Web site.


Malachy McCourt and Keith Szarabajka

Hosted by:

Isaiah Sheffer

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

Comments [1]

What a delightful surprise to hear to these Christmas stories exactly six months from from the last and to the next Christmas. I soaked in the bath while I listened. What a treat!

I always love to hear "Come to the Meadow," too.

Jun. 26 2011 12:15 PM

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