Selected Shorts: Readers and Writers

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On this show we look, comically and seriously, at readers and writers, with guest host John Lithgow.

Most Americans are familiar with “Mr Ed” the talking horse from the popular 1960s sitcom.  But Ed actually got his start in stories by the American author Walter R. Brooks, who also wrote the “Freddy the Pig” stories.  

The Mr. Ed stories were first published in the 1930s and 1940s, and poke fun at suburban life.  The sage and salty horse is owned by long-suffering Wilbur Pope.   In “Ed Has His Mind Improved,” Wilbur teaches his horse to read, but Ed’s taste in literature proves to be embarrassingly low, with hilarious consequences.  The reader is Broadway star Tony Roberts.

The late Ray Bradbury is best known for his fantasy work, such as the novels Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.  But “Exchange” is a gentle, realistic tale of a late-night encounter between an overworked librarian and a lonely soldier, savoring, almost viscerally, his first contact with books in many years.  The reader is SHORTS regular Rochelle Oliver.

The program concludes with a vivid short by that writer’s writer, Jorge Luis Borges.  “Dream Tigers” expresses the struggle to realize imaginative visions—in this case, the form of a tiger.  The reader is our late host and founder, Isaiah Sheffer. 

 “Ed Has His Mind Improved,” by Walter R. Brooks, performed by Tony Roberts 

“Exchange,” by Ray Bradbury, performed by Rochelle Oliver

“Dreamtigers,” by Jorge Luis Borges, performed by Isaiah Sheffer.

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.