Selected Shorts: Love, Longing, and Loose Change

Audio not yet available
Email a Friend
3 segments

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents readings of three stories whose characters hope for love.

In Rick Bass’s “Fires” a rural recluse is ignited by a long-distance runner. “Fires” is set in a remote part of Northern Montana, and literary commentator Hannah Tinti notes that Bass is an ardent environmentalist as well as a fiction writer.  “Fires” is from Rick Bass’s 1997 collection, In the Loyal Mountains.  Other works include the collection The Lives of Rocks: Stories, Nashville Chrome: A Novel, and the memoir Why I Came West.  His most recent novel is All The Land To Hold Us.   “Fires” is performed by Ted Marcoux.

Willa Cather’s “A Singer’s Romance” was published in Cosmopolitan in 1900, and while the magazine in those days didn’t have quite the risqué content of the contemporary version, it is true to Cosmo’s dedication to the pleasures of women.  Cather’s opera singer has a romantic job, but no romance in her life, and hopes that will change.  The work is lusciously performed by Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes.

Our final story is a charming short by the Israeli writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret, “What Do We Have in our Pockets?”  We’ve featured many of Keret’s playful fictions on SELECTED SHORTS, but this delicate gem just offers a man with a unique tactic for attracting happiness.  The performer is our late friend, the writer and actor David Rakoff.

“Fires,” by Rick Bass, performed by Ted Marcoux

“A Singer's Romance” by Willa Cather, performed by Marian Seldes

“What Do We Have in our Pockets?” by Etgar Keret, performed by David Rakoff

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