Selected Shorts: Cannolis and Carroll

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Friday, July 18, 2014

For a food-themed series of programs, performed live at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, SELECTED SHORTS presented a wide range of funny, provocative, and touching works in which food, and the eating of food, plays a big role. Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two of them on this show.

The first is Ann Hood’s “The Occasional Pignoli Tart,” a wistful mother-daughter story. Its heroine wonders if there’s any more to life than her job at an Italian bakery, where her mother is the world’s best cannoli stuffer. The author comes by her sense of wanderlust first hand: she was flight attendant before becoming a full-time writer and contributor to a host of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ploughshares, Story, and The Paris Review. Her works include the novels The Knitting Circle, The Obituary Writer, The Properties of Water and Waiting to Vanish, the memoir Comfort: A Journey Though Grief, and the short-story collection An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life.

The reader is Amber Tamblyn, who starred in the television series “Joan of Arcadia” and whose other work includes the film “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants,” and featured roles on “House, M.D.” and “Two and a Half Men.”

Our second work is an excerpt from the celebrated classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Charles Dodgson under the name Lewis Carroll. The tale of a proper — but not timid — English schoolgirl falling down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world of talking creatures and inverted logic has been a mainstay of children’s literature since its publication in 1865, and is equally popular with adults as a source of fantastical language and prankish social satire. All are in evidence in the excerpt heard here: Chapter 7: “A Mad Tea Party.” In it, Alice encounters The Mad Hatter and his eccentric dining companions The March Hare and the Dormouse. In a tour de force reading, all the parts are played by the versatile actor Christopher Lloyd, no stranger to fantasy and humor as his many film credits include “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

“The Occasional Pignoli Tart,” by Ann Hood, performed by Amber Tamblyn
“A Mad Tea Party,” by Lewis Carroll, performed by Christopher Lloyd

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

Find additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS.

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

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti.


Robert Sean Leonard and Christopher Lloyd

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

The Occasional Pignoli Tart

This reading by Amber Tamblyn of Ann Hood’s “The Occasional Pignoli Tart” is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Cannolis and Carroll,” hosted by Robert Sean Leonard.


A Mad Tea-Party

This reading by Christopher Lloyd of an excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Cannolis and Carroll,” hosted by Robert Sean Leonard.



Comments [2]

From the producers

Unfortunately, due to copyright and licensing restrictions, we are able to offer audio only for a limited period after the first broadcast of a program. Please check our website,, to see if any of these stories is included in our CD compilations, and for information about where to find them in print.

Oct. 13 2014 08:08 AM
Dana from Alabama

I'm disappointed to know that older episodes are becoming unavailable. Cannolis and Carroll was one of my favorites. Please let me know if there is anywhere else I can listen to older episodes. Thank you.

Oct. 06 2014 11:42 PM

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