Guest host Josh Radnor presents three stories drawn from the world of fables and fairy tales, but with a modern twist.  Maulik Pancholy reads Somerset Maugham’s “Appointment in Samarra”, a retelling of what’s purported to be an ancient Mesopotamian tale.  Its moral? When your time is up, it’s up.  Maugham was a prolific writer whose novels include Of Human BondageCakes and Ale, and The Razor’s Edge.  His short stories were collected in the volumes Orientations; The Trembling Leaf; and The Book Bag among others.  Reader Maulik Pancholy is best known for his work on the television series “30 Rock” and “Weeds.”

Next, Ben Loory gives us a kinder, gentler take on the old “monster in the closet” idea in “The Monster.”  Instead of nighttime terrors, there’s an exchange of wonders.  Loory is the author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day and Tales of Falling and Flying.  He has published in The New Yorker, Tin House, READ Magazine, and Fairy Tale Review.   Reader John Cameron Mitchell knows all about monsters.  He created a fabulous one in his iconic musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” On stage he’s appeared in “Six Degrees of Separation” and “The Destiny of Me,” among other roles, and his television work includes “The Equalizer” and “Law & Order.”  He has directed the films “Shortbus” and “Rabbit Hole.”

It’s hard to put a label on our final story.    Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag” is part folk tale, part love story, part rite of passage.  And it’s filled with strong women and headstrong men.   It’s read by Kirsten Vangsness, who gets her inner gypsy on–a side of her we don’t hear as much from her long-running “Criminal Minds” alter ego Penelope Garcia.

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