Cover art for podcast LeVar Burton Reads

LeVar Burton Reads

81 EpisodesProduced by LeVar Burton and StitcherWebsite

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 G… read more

episodes iconAll Episodes

Introducing… LeVar Burton Reads

June 2nd, 2017

2:43

A sneak peek of “LeVar Burton Reads,” coming June 13th!

1: "Kin" by Bruce McAllister

June 13th, 2017

33:14

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 …

2: "The Lighthouse Keeper" by Daisy Johnson

June 20th, 2017

30:44

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. …

3: "Empty Places" Part One by Richard Parks

June 27th, 2017

45:07

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 …

4: "Empty Places" Part Two by Richard Parks

July 4th, 2017

33:14

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 …

5: "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky" by Lesley Nneka Arimah

July 11th, 2017

45:06

A mathematician has discovered a formula that explains the universe and makes it possible to manipulate human bodies and emotions. "What It Means …

6: "Graham Greene" by Percival Everett

July 18th, 2017

49:36

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 …

7: "Chivalry" by Neil Gaiman

July 25th, 2017

40:29

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 …

8: "The Second Bakery Attack" by Haruki Murakami

August 1st, 2017

41:33

Cursed with an unbearable hunger, a newlywed couple goes to drastic measures to break its spell. "The Second Bakery Attack" appears in Haruki …

Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Lesley Nneka Arimah

August 8th, 2017

27:28

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 …

9: "1000-Year-Old Ghosts" by Laura Chow Reeve

August 15th, 2017

31:55

 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 …

10: "Navigators" by Mike Meginnis

August 22nd, 2017

42:58

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 …

11: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu

August 29th, 2017

49:45

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 …

12: "No Man's Guns" by Elmore Leonard

September 5th, 2017

46:26

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 …

Bonus Episode: "Goat" by James McBride

October 24th, 2017

1:08:20

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 …

13: "Repairing the World" by John Chu

January 16th, 2018

48:29

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 …

14: "The Truth About Owls" by Amal El-Mohtar

January 23rd, 2018

48:39

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 

15: "Unassigned Territory" by Stephanie Powell Watts

January 30th, 2018

42:40

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 …

16: "Mrs. Perez" by Oscar Casares

February 6th, 2018

45:18

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 …

17: "The Baboon War" by Nnedi Okorafor

February 13th, 2018

43:41

A group of schoolgirls have a disturbing and life-altering encounter with the animal kingdom. "The Baboon War" appears in Nnedi Okorafor's collection …

18: "Furry Night" by Joan Aiken

February 20th, 2018

46:33

 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 …

19: "Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford

February 27th, 2018

43:09

A group of children form a secret society around a mysterious and powerful artifact. This story appears in David Langford's collection DIFFERENT …

20: "The Great Wide World Over There" by Ray Bradbury

March 6th, 2018

48:58

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 …

21: "My Dear You" by Rachel Khong

March 13th, 2018

41:42

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 …

22: "The 5:22" by George Harrar

March 20th, 2018

37:18

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 (

23: "A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets" by Kevin Brockmeier

March 27th, 2018

33:44

An ordinary man finds himself unexpectedly in possession of an extraordinary power. This story appears in Kevin Brockmeier's collection THE VIEW FROM …

24: "Childfinder" by Octavia Butler

April 3rd, 2018

40:07

A telepath uses her skills to mentor children with psionic ability. "Childfinder" is available in e-book format in the collection UNEXPECTED STORIES, …

LIVE! in Chicago: "The Winds of Harmattan" by Nnedi Okorafor

April 24th, 2018

1:01:01

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 …

LIVE! in San Francisco: "As Good as New" by Charlie Jane Anders

May 8th, 2018

1:04:09

 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 …

LIVE! in Los Angeles: "Money Tree" by Nalo Hopkinson

May 22nd, 2018

45:47

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 …

LIVE! in Seattle: "Black Betty" by Nisi Shawl

June 5th, 2018

1:01:57

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 …

LIVE! in Portland: "The Fliers of Gy" by Ursula K. Le Guin

June 19th, 2018

1:01:03

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 …

25: "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM" by Rebecca Roanhorse

July 24th, 2018

54:52

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 …

26: "Sea Girls" by Daniel Wallace

July 31st, 2018

45:16

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

27: "The Last Cheng Beng Gift" by Jaymee Goh

August 7th, 2018

34:50

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

28: "Fires" by Rick Bass

August 14th, 2018

41:46

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 …

29: "Multo" by Samuel Marzioli

August 21st, 2018

39:05

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

30: "Fantaisie Impromptu No. 4 in C#min, Op. 66” by Carlos Hernandez

August 28th, 2018

48:38

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 (

31: "Fyrewall" by Stefani Cox

September 4th, 2018

42:36

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 …

32: "Jackalope Wives" by Ursula Vernon

September 11th, 2018

49:46

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 (

33: "The Cell Phones" by Karen E. Bender

September 18th, 2018

30:33

A Rosh Hashanah service is interrupted by voices clamoring for attention. This story appears in the forthcoming collection THE NEW ORDER.


This episode …

34: "Singing on a Star" by Ellen Klages

September 25th, 2018

48:41

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 …

35: "Yiwu" by Lavie Tidhar

October 2nd, 2018

53:04

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 (

36: "Morning Child" by Gardner Dozois

October 9th, 2018

31:40

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 …

LIVE! in Brooklyn: "Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball" by N.K. Jemisin

December 11th, 2018

57:16

In this fantastical police procedural, detectives are perplexed when a young boy confesses to a murder. "Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball" was …

LIVE! in Austin: "Asymmetry" by Kendra Fortmeyer

December 18th, 2018

46:52

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 Atlanta: "The Vishakanya's Choice" by Roshani Chokshi

January 8th, 2019

51:13

After spending years in isolation with her vishakanya sisters, a poison maiden is given her first deadly mission. © 2015 Roshani Chokshi, as first …

LIVE! in Toronto: "Four Stations in His Circle" by Austin Clarke

January 15th, 2019

54:44

Language Advisory: This story contains adult language. An immigrant from Barbados strives to shake off his past, buy his dream house, and climb the …

LIVE! in Dallas: "In the City of Martyrs" by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

January 22nd, 2019

50:48

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 DC: "A Dark Night" by Edward P. Jones

January 29th, 2019

50:38

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 …

LIVE! in New Jersey: "Driftglass" by Samuel R. Delany

February 5th, 2019

1:00:49

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 …

LIVE! in Boston: "Mono No Aware" by Ken Liu

February 12th, 2019

1:02:25

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 …

37: "Miracle" by Tope Folarin

April 2nd, 2019

43:08

A congregation eagerly anticipates the healing powers of a blind prophet. "Miracle" © 2019 by Tope Folarin. From Harvard's Transition magazine, Issue …

38: "Free Jim's Mine" by Tananarive Due

April 9th, 2019

55:15

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 …

39: "Kwoon" by Charles Johnson

April 16th, 2019

45:05

A martial arts instructor meets his match. "Kwoon" appears in Charles Johnson's collection DR. KING'S REFRIGERATOR AND OTHER BEDTIME STORIES.



This …

40: “The Best We Can” by Carrie Vaughn

April 23rd, 2019

46:04

A scientist fights for the investigation of an unidentified object in space. "The Best We Can" appears in Carrie Vaughn's collection AMARYLLIS AND …

41: "Mister Hadj's Sunset Ride" by Saladin Ahmed

April 30th, 2019

33:50

A bounty hunter reminisces about his escapades with an old mentor and friend in this weird western. This story appears in the magazine BENEATH …

42: "Republica and Grau" by Daniel Alarcón

May 7th, 2019

42:22

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 …

43: "The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex" by Tobias S. Buckell

May 14th, 2019

40:27

A cab driver spends an ordinary day ferrying passengers around Manhattan -- until an incident involving a wealthy alien tourist imperils his …

44: "Toward Happy Civilization" by Samanta Schweblin

May 21st, 2019

44:26

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 …

45: "Flying Carpets" by Steven Millhauser

May 28th, 2019

34:41

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 …

46: "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" Part 1 by Ted Chiang

June 5th, 2019

53:25

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 …

47: "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" Part 2 by Ted Chiang

June 11th, 2019

48:12

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 …

48: "L'Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)" by Dean Francis Alfar

June 18th, 2019

40:14

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), …

Introducing Wolverine: The Lost Trail

July 8th, 2019

5:37

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 …

Season 5 Begins August 13th!

July 30th, 2019

2:44

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 …

49: "The Simplest Equation" by Nicky Drayden

August 13th, 2019

35:36

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 …

50: "Shoggoths in Traffic" by Tobias S. Buckell

August 20th, 2019

39:23

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 …

51: "Cuisine des Mémoires" by N.K. Jemisin

August 27th, 2019

48:24

A themed restaurant presents a very unique opportunity to its patrons. This story appears in N.K. Jemisin's collection HOW LONG 'TIL BLACK FUTURE …

52: "Small Medicine" by Genevieve Valentine

September 3rd, 2019

46:24

A girl scrutinizes the line between humans and robots when her grandmother is replaced with a replica. Content advisory: Death or dying, self-harming behaviors



This episode is sponsored by There Will Come a Darkness, A …

53: “Face Value” by Sean Williams

September 10th, 2019

44:33

A team of peace-keepers investigate an inventor with an astonishing claim.


This episode is sponsored by Betterhelp (www.betterhelp.com/levar code: LEVAR) and The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR).

54: “Blur" by Carmen Maria Machado

September 17th, 2019

41:18

A woman in a troubled relationship loses her glasses at a rest stop along the highway, and the world shifts in and out of focus. Content advisory: …

55: "Tiger Baby" by JY Yang

September 24th, 2019

34:19

A woman is haunted by her dreams of being a tiger. 



This episode is sponsored by Betterhelp (www.betterhelp.com/levar code: LEVAR) and The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR).

56: "The House on the Moon" by William Alexander

October 1st, 2019

50:51

A castle's mysteries begin to slowly unravel. Content advisory: mentions of death, eugenics



This episode is sponsored by Mythical Monsters podcast (www.parcast.com/mythicalmonsters)

57: "The Water Museum" by Nisi Shawl

October 8th, 2019

49:52

The owner of an unusual private museum picks up a hitchhiker sent to assassinate her. This story appears in Nisi Shawl's collection FILTER HOUSE. …

Introducing Stories with Friends

October 10th, 2019

1:42

Get ready for our new bonus Premium series, Stories with Friends, featuring conversations with Laurence Fishburne, Brent Spiner, Aisha Tyler, Amanda Seales, Rob Delaney and Jesmyn Ward! Support our podcast and get a …

BONUS: Stories with Friends - Amanda Seales

October 11th, 2019

47:35

In Stories with Friends, LeVar invites one of his friends to sit down for a conversation inspired by a short story or another piece of literature, …

58: "Jump" by Cadwell Turnbull

October 15th, 2019

31:21

An ordinary couple experiences an extraordinary event during a walk in the park. "Jump" was first published in LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE. Cadwell …

59: "The Specialist's Hat" by Kelly Link

October 22nd, 2019

50:20

Twin girls are left with a babysitter in a haunted house.

“The Specialist’s Hat” © 1998 by Kelly Link. Originally published in Event Horizon, 1998, and reprinted in Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen (Small Beer Press, …

60: "The Hofzinser Club" by Michael Chabon

October 29th, 2019

53:48

A boy studies magic and escape artistry in 1930s Prague, hoping to become a member of an illustrious magicians' club. From Michael Chabon's THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY. 



This episode is sponsored by Aspen …

The Paris Review Podcast Returns

November 6th, 2019

12:14

Embark on audio adventures through The Paris Review's fiction, poetry, interviews, archival recordings, and sonic imaginings with the likes of Toni Morrison, Simone de Beauvoir, Tennessee Williams, and today's leading …

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