Scott Carrier tells the story of trying to bring a part of the outside world inside the house when he was a boy. His brother wanted to capture a rattlesnake and bring it home and keep in the basement, as a secret.
Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters, Elise and Mathilde, at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from Jurgensen's book, The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain her children's lives and their deaths to a friend through a series of letters.
A father and daughter (Adrian LeBlank and his daughter Adrian Le Blank) decide to write his obituary—together—not really thinking very seriously at first about the real meaning of what they were doing.
Barbara Clinkscales grew up in Chicago's public housing projects, had her first child when she was 15, and is now—over two decades later—struggling to get her teenage son to finish his senior year of high school. Barbara is a working mom, with a network of close friends who look out for her.
One of the most powerful forces in a room can be the thing that is unspoken between people. Five writers—Scott Carrier, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Brady Udall and Lan Samantha Chang—give us case examples: stories when they felt the presence of something unspoken.
Sean Cole visits Chad's Trading Post in Southampton, Massachussetts. One person who works there wears a shirt that says "Chad's Brother;" other shirts say "Chad's Best Friend," "Chad's Cousin," "Chad's Father." Pictures of Chad are everywhere.
The story of a book that changed a family's life, but only temporarily and not for the better. David Sedaris describes what happens when he finds a dirty book in the woods and shares it with his sisters.
In this act we hear two stories of people who stumbled upon a place where they instantly and instinctively felt more at home than in their real homes. Stephen Dubner, author of the memoir Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, talks about an encounter with a Jewish man named Irving that changed his life.
What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia.
It's possible to turn off your emotions and go on autopilot for brief periods with the people you love, and it's possible to shut them down completely. Writer Dani Shapiro reads from her memoir Slow Motion: A True Story.
The tendency toward self-reinvention is so deep in American culture that we have an entire industry, a self-help industry, telling us how to transform ourselves into someone new. And usually, we see this as a positive thing.
Over the course of his life, Keith Aldrich was a child of the Depression; an aspiring Hollywood actor; a self-styled Beat writer, a member of the New York literati, and then a hippie. Then in the 80's, he became a born-again Christian.
Over two decades ago, not long after he got out of Texas prison for robbery, Ray Hill got a job at his local public radio station, KPFT in Houston. He started a weekly program about Texas prisons that's now the leading muckraking voice in the state when it comes to exposing graft and corruption in prison facilities there.