Selected Shorts: Objects of Desire

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We look at the meaning of the stuff in our lives.

Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote “Things are against us” (“les choses sont contre nous”), and you can determine whether that’s the case in the two works on this program.

In the first story, “Counting the Ways,” by Susan Perabo, a blue-collar couple blows an inheritance on a dress once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, and the act precipitates a crisis in their marriage.  Perabo is the author of the collection, “Who I Was Supposed to Be,” which includes this story.

Reader Robert Sean Leonard, a Tony Award winner for “The Invention of Love” and regular on the television series “House,” talks about the story with SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti.  Listen here for the full interview:

Next, essayist Sloane Crosley lets us in on a dirty little secret—she has a draw full of plastic ponies inveigled from various discarded boyfriends, and she’s beginning to worry about it.  Crosley’s best-selling collection of essays is called “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.” Her most recent book is “How Did You Get This Number?”

“The Pony Problem” is read by “Criminal Minds”’ Kirsten Vangsness.

“Counting the Ways,” by Susan Perabo, read by Robert Sean Leonard

“The Pony Problem,” by Sloan Crosley, read by Kirsten Vangsness

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at

Announcing the 2013 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  Check this link for details.