LeVar Burton Reads

LeVar Burton Reads

art19.com/shows/levar-burton-reads
The best short fiction, handpicked by the world’s greatest storyteller. In every episode, host LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story. LeVar’s narration blends with gorgeous soundscapes to bring stories by Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and more to life. So, if you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath…Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code ‘LEVAR’.


50: “Shoggoths in Traffic” by Tobias S. Buckell
Aug 20 • 39 min
Two co-workers repossess a car to make some quick cash, and get mixed up in a surprising and much larger scheme. Content advisory tags: Blood, Road Collision This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR).
49: “The Simplest Equation” by Nicky Drayden
Aug 13 • 35 min
A struggling college student gains new perspective on her studies from her classmate, who’s come to study from another planet. This story was first published in Space and Time Magazine. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses…
Season 5 Begins August 13th!
Jul 30 • 2 min
A new season of stories is about to begin! Hear about grandmotherly robots, enchanted meals, matter duplicators, and more… But you don’t have to take our word for it. It all starts August 13th, and you can hear a sneak peek of “Shoggoths in Traffic” now.
Introducing Wolverine: The Lost Trail
Jul 8 • 5 min
LeVar Burton Reads will be back soon with brand new episodes! But first, a preview of season 2 of Marvel’s award-winning podcast, Wolverine: The Lost Trail. Episodes 1 and 2 are out right now, free, wherever you get podcasts. Subscribe to Wolverine: The…
48: “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” by Dean Francis Alfar
Jun 18 • 40 min
A young woman sets out on a quest to find all of the impossible materials needed to build a kite that can carry her to the stars. This episode is sponsored by Penguin Random House (www.penguinrandomhouse.com/levar), Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR), and…
47: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” Part 2 by Ted Chiang
Jun 11 • 48 min
Join us for the conclusion of this time travel tale set in medieval Baghdad. “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” is from EXHALATION by Ted Chiang, published by Penguin Random House Audio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin…
46: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” Part 1 by Ted Chiang
Jun 5 • 53 min
A wandering merchant in medieval Baghdad is brought before the Caliph, and recounts tales of ingenious gates that allow time travel to the past and future. “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” is from EXHALATION by Ted Chiang, published by Penguin…
45: “Flying Carpets” by Steven Millhauser
May 28 • 34 min
A man remembers a summer from his youth, filled with rides on a flying carpet. “Flying Carpets” is from Steven Millhauser’s collection THE KNIFE THROWER: AND OTHER STORIES, published by Crown in 1998. This episode is sponsored by Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR).
44: “Toward Happy Civilization” by Samanta Schweblin
May 21 • 44 min
A man finds something strange going on at a rural train station. “Toward Happy Civilization” is from MOUTHFUL OF BIRDS by Samanta Schweblin, published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. This…
43: “The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” by Tobias S. Buckell
May 14 • 40 min
A cab driver spends an ordinary day ferrying passengers around Manhattan — until an incident involving a wealthy alien tourist imperils his livelihood. Content advisory: alien death. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter (www.ziprecruiter.com/LEVAR)…
42: “Republica and Grau” by Daniel Alarcón
May 7 • 42 min
A ten year old boy is enlisted to help a blind man beg at a traffic intersection, and is exposed to a new side of humanity. “Republica and Grau” is from THE KING IS ALWAYS ABOVE THE PEOPLE by Daniel Alarcón, published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of…
41: “Mister Hadj’s Sunset Ride” by Saladin Ahmed
Apr 30 • 33 min
A bounty hunter reminisces about his escapades with an old mentor and friend in this weird western. This story appears in the magazine BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES. This episode is sponsored by Amazon Kindle (www.amazon.com/levarburton).
40: “The Best We Can” by Carrie Vaughn
Apr 23 • 46 min
A scientist fights for the investigation of an unidentified object in space. “The Best We Can” appears in Carrie Vaughn’s collection AMARYLLIS AND OTHER STORIES. This episode is sponsored by Amazon Kindle (www.amazon.com/levarburton).
39: “Kwoon” by Charles Johnson
Apr 16 • 45 min
A martial arts instructor meets his match. “Kwoon” appears in Charles Johnson’s collection DR. KING’S REFRIGERATOR AND OTHER BEDTIME STORIES. This episode is sponsored by Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR) and ZipRecruiter (www.ziprecruiter.com/LEVAR).
38: “Free Jim’s Mine” by Tananarive Due
Apr 9 • 55 min
In pursuit of freedom from slavery, a young couple must gather up their courage and spend a night underground. “Free Jim’s Mine” appears in Tananarive Due’s collection GHOST SUMMER: STORIES.
37: “Miracle” by Tope Folarin
Apr 2 • 43 min
A congregation eagerly anticipates the healing powers of a blind prophet. “Miracle” © 2019 by Tope Folarin. From Harvard’s Transition magazine, Issue 109, Fall 2012. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter (www.ziprecruiter.com/LEVAR).
LeVar Burton Reads Returns April 2nd!
Mar 26 • 3 min
All-new journeys await you in Season 4 of LeVar Burton Reads. Your daily life will seem light years away! Hear a sneak peek of “Miracle” now.
LIVE! in Boston: “Mono No Aware” by Ken Liu
Feb 12 • 62 min
A space traveler flashes back to memories of his childhood in Japan, before the world ended. Recorded live at the Wilbur Theatre with music provided by Katy Wherry and Jake Wherry. “Mono No Aware” appears in THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES. Ken…
LIVE! in New Jersey: “Driftglass” by Samuel R. Delany
Feb 5 • 60 min
As a new frontier is explored on the ocean floor, an amphiman is haunted by a deep sea accident from his youth. Recorded live at the Scottish Rite Auditorium with musical accompaniment by Kendrah Butler. “Driftglass” is contained in AYE, AND GOMORRAH AND…
LIVE! in DC: “A Dark Night” by Edward P. Jones
Jan 29 • 50 min
A stormy evening leads to a dark night of the soul. Recorded live at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. with musical accompaniment by Élise Cuffy. “A Dark Night” appears in Edward P. Jones’ collection LOST IN THE CITY.
LIVE! in Dallas: “In the City of Martyrs” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Jan 22 • 50 min
A fantasy tale about a royal family, a flower seller, and a shocking discovery. Recorded live at the Majestic Theatre with musical accompaniment by Zhenya Rock. This episode is sponsored by Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR).
LIVE! in Toronto: “Four Stations in His Circle” by Austin Clarke
Jan 15 • 54 min
Language Advisory: This story contains adult language. An immigrant from Barbados strives to shake off his past, buy his dream house, and climb the ranks in Toronto. From the collection CHOOSING HIS COFFIN. Recorded live at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival,…
LIVE! in Atlanta: “The Vishakanya’s Choice” by Roshani Chokshi
Jan 8 • 51 min
After spending years in isolation with her vishakanya sisters, a poison maiden is given her first deadly mission. © 2015 Roshani Chokshi, as first appeared on BookSmugglers.com. Recorded live at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, with musical accompaniment by…
LIVE! in Austin: “Asymmetry” by Kendra Fortmeyer
Dec 18, 2018 • 46 min
While suffering through a breakup, a woman encounters a strange figure. Recorded live in Austin at the Paramount Theatre, with musical accompaniment by Peter Tran of Curved Light.
LIVE! in Brooklyn: “Playing Nice with God’s Bowling Ball” by N.K. Jemisin
Dec 11, 2018 • 57 min
In this fantastical police procedural, detectives are perplexed when a young boy confesses to a murder. “Playing Nice with God’s Bowling Ball” was originally published in the August 2008 issue of Jim Baen’s Universe. N. K. Jemisin’s new collection is HOW…
36: “Morning Child” by Gardner Dozois
Oct 9, 2018 • 31 min
Two people reconnect in a post-apocalyptic world. © 1984 by Gardner Dozois. Originally published in OMNI. Used by permission of the author’s Estate and the Estate’s agents, the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc. This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners…
35: “Yiwu” by Lavie Tidhar
Oct 2, 2018 • 53 min
For a humble shopkeeper in Yiwu, it’s a living, selling lottery tickets. Until a winning ticket opens up mysteries he’d never imagined. This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR),…
34: “Singing on a Star” by Ellen Klages
Sep 25, 2018 • 48 min
A kindergartner travels through a portal to a fantastic and eerie new world. This story appears in Ellen’s collection WICKED WONDERS. This episode is sponsored by Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories), Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), Calm…
33: “The Cell Phones” by Karen E. Bender
Sep 18, 2018 • 30 min
A Rosh Hashanah service is interrupted by voices clamoring for attention. This story appears in the forthcoming collection THE NEW ORDER. This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), The Great Courses…
32: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon
Sep 11, 2018 • 49 min
A brooding young man is captivated by a magical creature who dances in the firelight. This story appears in JACKALOPE WIVES AND OTHER STORIES by T. Kingfisher. This episode is sponsored by Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories), Bona Floor Cleaners…
31: “Fyrewall” by Stefani Cox
Sep 4, 2018 • 42 min
In a future version of Los Angeles, a woman and her ragtag crew must repair a critical piece of technology or let the city burn to the ground. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/levar) and The Great American Read.
30: “Fantaisie Impromptu No. 4 in C#min, Op. 66” by Carlos Hernandez
Aug 28, 2018 • 48 min
A reporter travels to Miami to investigate the fringes of science and faith. This story appears in THE ASSIMILATED CUBAN’S GUIDE TO QUANTUM SANTERIA. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR) and Google Play…
29: “Multo” by Samuel Marzioli
Aug 21, 2018 • 39 min
A man remembers a supernatural force from his childhood. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code ‘LEVAR’. This…
28: “Fires” by Rick Bass
Aug 14, 2018 • 41 min
In this meditative tale, a runner spends a summer training in a remote mountain town. This story appears in the collection FOR A LITTLE WHILE by Rick Bass, published by Little, Brown & Company. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive…
27: “The Last Cheng Beng Gift” by Jaymee Goh
Aug 7, 2018 • 34 min
A family matriarch takes up residence in the Underworld. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code ‘LEVAR’. This…
26: “Sea Girls” by Daniel Wallace
Jul 31, 2018 • 45 min
Two teenagers deal with family issues… and a stranded sea creature. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code…
25: “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM” by Rebecca Roanhorse
Jul 24, 2018 • 54 min
A tour guide leads virtual reality “experiences” for tourists who want to know what it’s like to be Native American. Think Black Mirror meets Westworld. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium.…
LIVE! in Portland: “The Fliers of Gy” by Ursula K. Le Guin
Jun 19, 2018 • 61 min
An interplanetary tale about those who take flight, and those who do not. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. This story appears in Le Guin’s collection THE UNREAL AND THE REAL: SELECTED STORIES, VOLUME TWO: OUTER SPACE, INNER LANDS. With…
LIVE! in Seattle: “Black Betty” by Nisi Shawl
Jun 5, 2018 • 61 min
The story of Betty, and her struggle to be fully understood by her new family. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by Gretchen Yanover, and featuring a conversation with author Nisi Shawl. This episode is brought to you by…
LIVE! in Los Angeles: “Money Tree” by Nalo Hopkinson
May 22, 2018 • 45 min
A young man sets out to uncover sunken treasure and make his fortune, and his sister must pick up the pieces. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by vibraphonist Justin Thomas, and featuring a conversation with the author.…
LIVE! in San Francisco: “As Good as New” by Charlie Jane Anders
May 8, 2018 • 64 min
A young woman unexpectedly finds herself with the fate of the world in her hands. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by Astronauts, etc. keyboardist Anthony Ferraro, and featuring a conversation with Charlie Jane Anders.…
LIVE! in Chicago: “The Winds of Harmattan” by Nnedi Okorafor
Apr 24, 2018 • 61 min
A young woman discovers her destiny as a Windseeker. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by the legendary instrumentalist and kalimba player Kahil El’Zabar, and featuring a conversation with Nnedi Okorafor. This story appears…
24: “Childfinder” by Octavia Butler
Apr 3, 2018 • 40 min
A telepath uses her skills to mentor children with psionic ability. “Childfinder” is available in e-book format in the collection UNEXPECTED STORIES, published by Open Road Media. The story is copyright Ernestine Walker-Zadnick. Thanks to our presenting…
23: “A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets” by Kevin Brockmeier
Mar 27, 2018 • 33 min
An ordinary man finds himself unexpectedly in possession of an extraordinary power. This story appears in Kevin Brockmeier’s collection THE VIEW FROM THE SEVENTH LAYER. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free…
22: “The 5:22” by George Harrar
Mar 20, 2018 • 37 min
When a fellow passenger on his usual train goes missing, a man begins to wonder if everything is as it seems. Find more from the author at www.georgeharrarbooks.com. This episode is brought to you by Audible (audible.com/levar) and Tripping.com…
21: “My Dear You” by Rachel Khong
Mar 13, 2018 • 41 min
As she filters through memories and relationships, a young woman navigates a new plane of existence. Find more from the author at www.rachelkhong.com. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at…
20: “The Great Wide World Over There” by Ray Bradbury
Mar 6, 2018 • 48 min
A visitor’s arrival delivers both wonder and heartache to a rural community. This story appears in Ray Bradbury’s collection THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at…
19: “Different Kinds of Darkness” by David Langford
Feb 27, 2018 • 43 min
A group of children form a secret society around a mysterious and powerful artifact. This story appears in David Langford’s collection DIFFERENT KINDS OF DARKNESS. This episode is brought to you by Audible (audible.com/levar) and Tripping.com…
18: “Furry Night” by Joan Aiken
Feb 20, 2018 • 46 min
An elderly lycanthropist retires to his estate in the English countryside, but his rest is disturbed by a rowdy village tradition. “Furry Night” is copyright © 1976 by Joan Aiken. Available in THE PEOPLE IN THE CASTLE by Joan Aiken, published by Small…
17: “The Baboon War” by Nnedi Okorafor
Feb 13, 2018 • 43 min
A group of schoolgirls have a disturbing and life-altering encounter with the animal kingdom. “The Baboon War” appears in Nnedi Okorafor’s collection KABU KABU. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at…
16: “Mrs. Perez” by Oscar Casares
Feb 6, 2018 • 45 min
When a burglary deprives her of her most prized possession, a woman discovers just how resilient and assertive she can be. “Mrs. Perez” appears in Oscar Casares’ collection BROWNSVILLE: STORIES from Back Bay Books. Thanks to our presenting sponsor…
15: “Unassigned Territory” by Stephanie Powell Watts
Jan 30, 2018 • 42 min
A young Jehovah’s Witness spends a blistering hot afternoon preaching door-to-door to hostile homeowners, and questioning her future. Copyright © 2011 by Stephanie Powell Watts, used by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Thanks to…
14: “The Truth About Owls” by Amal El-Mohtar
Jan 23, 2018 • 48 min
A young girl explores her own power, and finds kinship with a bird of prey. Find more from the author at amalelmohtar.com. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.
13: “Repairing the World” by John Chu
Jan 16, 2018 • 48 min
Description: Two friends are tasked with protecting a world that is literally ripping at the seams. Find more from John Chu at johnchu.net. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.
Bonus Episode: “Goat” by James McBride
Oct 24, 2017 • 68 min
A well-meaning teacher discovers a student’s talent, and in the process of helping out his family, bites off more than she can chew. Recorded live at the Now Hear This festival. This story appears in James McBride’s collection FIVE CARAT SOUL, available…
12: “No Man’s Guns” by Elmore Leonard
Sep 5, 2017 • 46 min
In a classic Western tale, a newly-discharged soldier runs into trouble on his journey home, and must fight for his innocence and his identity. “No Man’s Guns” by Elmore Leonard. Copyright © 1975, 2004 Elmore Leonard, used by permission of The Wylie…
11: “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu
Aug 29, 2017 • 49 min
An immigrant mother tries to bond with her American-born son by creating a magical paper menagerie. This story appears in Ken Liu’s collection THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES, available now from Saga Press. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible.…
10: “Navigators” by Mike Meginnis
Aug 22, 2017 • 42 min
A father and son become immersed in a video game with a unusual philosophical goal — one that’s unlike any game they’ve played before. “Navigators” appears in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2012. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free…
9: “1000-Year-Old Ghosts” by Laura Chow Reeve
Aug 15, 2017 • 31 min
A grandmother teaches her family to deal with difficult memories in a unique way — by pickling them in jars. “1000-Year-Old Ghosts” appears in the new anthology PEN AMERICA BEST DEBUT SHORT STORIES 2017. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start…
Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Lesley Nneka Arimah
Aug 8, 2017 • 27 min
Today, a special bonus episode featuring a wide-ranging conversation between LeVar and Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky”. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook…
8: “The Second Bakery Attack” by Haruki Murakami
Aug 1, 2017 • 41 min
Cursed with an unbearable hunger, a newlywed couple goes to drastic measures to break its spell. “The Second Bakery Attack” appears in Haruki Murakami’s collection THE ELEPHANT VANISHES from Vintage Books, and is available as an audiobook from Penguin…
7: “Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman
Jul 25, 2017 • 40 min
An elderly widow purchases the Holy Grail at a second-hand store, and becomes wrapped up in an epic quest. “Chivalry” appears in Neil Gaiman’s collection SMOKE AND MIRRORS: SHORT FICTIONS AND ILLUSIONS from William Morrow, which is available on Audible.…
6: “Graham Greene” by Percival Everett
Jul 18, 2017 • 49 min
A man is contacted by a 102-year-old woman with an unusual and seemingly impossible request. “Graham Greene” appears in Percival Everett’s collection HALF AN INCH OF WATER, available from Graywolf Press.Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your…
5: “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Jul 11, 2017 • 45 min
A mathematician has discovered a formula that explains the universe and makes it possible to manipulate human bodies and emotions. “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky” is the title story of Lesley Nneka Arimah’s collection from Riverhead Books.…
4: “Empty Places” Part Two by Richard Parks
Jul 4, 2017 • 33 min
In the conclusion to our story, Jayn risks death when he infiltrates the queen’s chambers, and discovers the real reason for his mission. “Empty Places” was collected in FANTASY: THE BEST OF THE YEAR (2005). Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start…
3: “Empty Places” Part One by Richard Parks
Jun 27, 2017 • 45 min
An accomplished thief is approached by a wizard who wants to send him on an unusual mission. The two embark on a journey together, matching wits along the way. “Empty Places” was collected in FANTASY: THE BEST OF THE YEAR (2005). Thanks to our presenting…
2: “The Lighthouse Keeper” by Daisy Johnson
Jun 20, 2017 • 30 min
The story of a solitary life by the sea, and a woman’s courage. “The Lighthouse Keeper” is part of FEN: STORIES, available from Graywolf Press. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.
1: “Kin” by Bruce McAllister
Jun 13, 2017 • 33 min
A young boy contacts an alien assassin in the hopes of saving his sister’s life. “Kin” is part of Bruce McAllister’s collection THE GIRL WHO LOVED ANIMALS. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at…
Introducing… LeVar Burton Reads
Jun 2, 2017 • 2 min
A sneak peek of “LeVar Burton Reads,” coming June 13th!