The Easy Chair

with Laura Hurwitz

Author Laura Hurwitz reads you a story, continued week to week.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, it’s Family Mad Libs. From our vacation spot in The Hamptons, we play a spirited game of Mad Libs, World’s Greatest Word Game ™. The story we fill in the blanks on is “Let’s Dance”. Joining me is my entire fam- husband Sam, daughter Hannah, son Jake and his wife Jillian Vogel, daughter Rachael and her husband Will Goldstein, daughter Sarah, daughter Eliza and her BF and BFF Dan Licata, and son Micah. It’s hilarious and spontaneous and entirely unedited. Some of the word choices are questionable at best. We laugh a whole lot. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a Hurwitz- well, tune in and join the family.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, it’s a reprise of “The Gift of the Magi,” the classic short story by O. Henry. This small sweet gem of a tale is generally considered a Christmas story, as well as the iconic illustrative example of irony. I would challenge the limits of these descriptions. This story about love and sacrifice is relevant for any time of year, and the lessons it imparts are not tied to faith, but shared humanity. O. Henry’s story tells what it means to love and sacrifice, and champions the notion that what really, really matters in this world can't be bought or sold. This has been a week where we could all use some harmony and healing, and replaying this story on the podcast felt, to me, like the most magical, restorative gift I could think of for my listeners. Enjoy. Questions? Comments? Are you a writer or fellow podcaster with a story you’d like to share on the podcast? Let me know at

  • The Easy Chair

    This week, it’s Mightier Than the Sword, Holiday Survival Edition, with co-host Stephanie Spaulding! Today we tackle the holidays. It’s a time of gift-giving, holiday parties, and mandatory good cheer. We explore ways to healthily navigate the season. Many of us feel stressed and overwhelmed by the social and fiscal demands of the holidays, and Steph has some great strategies for taking a step back and figuring out how to let go of the social conventions and expectations that no longer serve us. It’s a wonderfully instructive episode- I came away with a slew of useful tools for surviving the season, and all of you listeners will, too. Tune in! Our sponsor this week is Rothys, the flats you’ve been waiting for! If you’re seeking comfort, style, and sustainability, look no further. Rothy’s shoes are incredible; they’re made of recycled plastic water bottles and they’re cool-looking, insanely comfortable, and machine washable. Head on over to www.Rothys.com/chair to order your new favorite flats!

  • The Easy Chair

    Today on The Easy Chair, my guest is my daughter Rachael, and we talk about her indie folk band, Honey Magpie, and their second album, which they recently finished recording. Their single, “Undecided”, comes out on January 24th, 2020—and trust me, I’ll let you know when it drops! In our fun and freewheeling interview, Rachael talks about the things that delighted and/or challenged her during the making of "Midnight Morning". We also talk candidly about Rachael’s creative influences, including her childhood in our never-ever-quiet house with her five siblings. She has a particularly appalling story to share that requires both a sense of humor and a strong stomach. You don’t want to miss this revelation. For an insider’s glimpse into album production and growing up Hurwitz, tune in! Our sponsor this week is CBS, whose second season of “Tell Me a Story” has begun, taking the world’s most well-known fairy tales and reimagining them as dark and twisted psychological thrillers. The new season features “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”—like you’ve never seen them before. Sign up TODAY for CBS All Access by visiting www.CBS.com/EasyChair for your first week of CBS All Access FREE so you can stream the new season of “Tell Me a Story” Thursday.

  • The Easy Chair

    Today on The Easy Chair, it's chapter one of my novel that’s been in progress (or arrested development) for quite a spell. I’ve been feeling very connected to Nantucket, the island I love, and prone to the tug of family, past and present. The Point centers on the Folger-Yurofsky family, who’ve been coming to Nantucket all their lives, to a cottage that’s been in their family for decades. Jane and her sister Lucy love the yearly pilgrimage from their lives in Berkeley, California to summers at the comfortably ramshackle cottage on a bluff overlooking Nantucket Sound. This summer, though, is different; they are without their loving grandmother, who passed away suddenly a few months before. Join me for a sweet tale of the power of memory, family, and enduring love. This week, I have a trifecta of sponsors. First is Ritual, the multivitamin for women. Better health doesn’t happen overnight, and Ritual is offering my listeners 10% off their first three months at www.ritual.com/easychair. Then, Brooklinen, the sheets, comforters, towels, and loungewear you’d love to gift yourself or someone you love this holiday season. If you’re seeing this post-BlackFriday/Cyber Monday, you can still use the promo code chair at www.Brooklinen.com for 10% off AND free shipping. Finally, the CBS series Tell Me a Story starts its second season of classic fairy tales with a complex, dark, intriguing twist. Sign up TODAY for CBS All Access at www.CBS.com/EasyChair . Get your first week of CBS All Access FREE and stream the new season of Tell Me a Story Thursday.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, it’s the iconic short story writer Amy Hempel’s “The Cemetery When Al Jolson Is Buried.” This poignant story is about bearing witness to the final days of a best friend’s life. Full disclosure: I had to record the end four times before I made it through without crying. Also note: there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING even remotely maudlin about Hempel’s story. Like all of her work, it’s brutally, beautifully honest. Tune in to hear this heartbreaking short story masterpiece. This week’s sponsor is Rothy’s. The holidays mean celebrations with friends and family. Why not feel comfortable and look stylish? Rothy’s makes flats for women and kids out of plastic water bottles, so even better- they are sustainable, too! Go to www.Rothys.com/chair to get the flats you've been waiting for in time for the holidays.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, I am happy to share the subversively funny, life vs. art, absolutely all-too-true short story “How to Become a Writer” by Lorrie Moore. Moore’s tone, that of a classic how-to piece providing aspiring writers with a road map of sorts, veers off-course into a very personal narrative of the unique twists and turns of her own writing life. Moore is entertaining and very smart, and the tale she has written is a master satire of most authors' self- absorption and nagging insecurities. To all you writers out there: this will have you laughing out loud while acknowledging the crazy dedication it takes to create the work you feel compelled to put forth as you throw logic and practicality to the wind. I loved coming across (and getting to read) this gem of a story. Tune in!

  • The Easy Chair

    This week, it’s the return of Mightier Than the Sword, with my wonderful co-host Stephanie Spaulding! Between one thing and another, it’s been a while since Steph and I have been able to record together, so this feels like an awesome reunion. We talk about the ideas we’ve had about writing and words, and discuss, individually, the beliefs that have stood the test of time and things we have come to see differently. It’s one of my favorite MTTS episodes on record, and I love that we were able to dive deep into the way we once felt and/or still feel about language, literature, and life. Tune in! Our sponsor this week is Brooklinen. With the holidays around the corner, consider giving the gift of coziness and comfort in the form of Brooklinen’s sheets, comforters, towels, etc. Check out Brooklinen’s expanded line of products that will transform your home (and any home you gift) into a spa. For 10% off and free shipping, go to www.Brooklinen.com and enter promo code chair. Brooklinen: everything you need to live your most comfortable life.

  • The Easy Chair

    Today’s Easy Chair episode: “The Patron Saint of Words” with guest poet, artist, radio host, and journalist Karen (K.P.) Ponzio. K.P. reads a very cool article she wrote about the Patron Saints of New Haven project, conceived and rendered by local artist Sara Scranton. With her finger squarely on the pulse of the New Haven art scene, Scranton tapped fellow artists not only to tell about their art, but to be their art in the form of a traditional Patron Saint. (https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/new_havens_patron_saints_canonized/). Then, we get into a lively discussion of what’s happening in our happening hometown of New Haven, the thrill of riding the wave of newly-unleashed artistic expression, and what it means to say yes (and selectively no) to the universe. K.P. is a BLAST to talk to, and this podcast thrums with her irreverent, vibrant energy. Tune in! And you can catch her radio show here: https://cygnusradio.com/author/kpcygnusradio-com/ This week’s sponsor is Ritual, the obsessively researched, wholly transparent once daily vitamin that fills in the gaps in a woman’s diet. I have been taking Ritual for over a year and it’s made a real impact on the way I feel. For 10% off your first three months, go to www.ritual.com/EASYCHAIR. You’re welcome!

  • The Easy Chair

    Just in time for Halloween, in this episode of The Easy Chair I read “Popsy”, Stephen King’s dark tale of a child abduction in which the tables get terrifyingly turned. Sheridan, a gambling addict, has taking to kidnapping children for a sinister figure named Mr. Wizard. He finds a young boy who is lost at the mall and lures him into his van. The boy is looking for his Popsy, and when Sheridan reveals that Popsy is not, as promised, waiting for him at a nearby McDonald’s, the boy tells him Popsy will find him. Sheridan is quick to laugh this off. But something dark is happening that Sheridan cannot not possibly imagine. You are not going to want to miss this twisted tale by the master of horror. This week’s sponsor is Rothy’s. Style, comfort, and sustainability- At Rothy’s, I guarantee you’ll find your new favorite flats. I’m loving my slip-on sneakers these days; I can wear them to yoga, then straight to work, and they look and feel fabulous. Go to www.Rothys.com/chair to find YOUR forever shoes

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, I read Margaret Atwood’s c. 1975 feminist short story, “Rape Fantasies”. Chatty narrator Estelle describes talking with her co-workers about their rape fantasies and hers. Their fantasies are the stuff of Hollywood movies and magazines, not at all authentic, in Estelle’s view, while hers are real. Estelle is an honest person, an over-sharer, and as she shares various fantasies, she begins to waver. What she understands about rape and what she can't begin to comprehend make for a darkly comic, oddly illuminating story about the differences, real and perceived, between men and women. Don’t let the title put you off (like I almost did). This story is a feminist classic. Tune in! This week’s sponsor is Brooklinen. Towels, sheets, comforters- doesn’t your place (and don’t you!) deserve a fall makeover- from blah to spa? My bathroom is looking amazing, thanks to the luxury towels I ordered from Brooklinen- without the luxury markup. For 10% off and free shipping, visit www.Brooklinen.com today and use promo code CHAIR for 10% off and free shipping.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, I read a funny and thought-provoking short story by the late Roald Dahl, "The Great Automatic Grammatizator." For anyone who has ever wondered if there is a can’t fail writing formula, or if maybe, just maybe, the surest route to publication can be accomplished by computer algorithm- this is the story for you. Young Adolph Knipe has created a computer that can be fed data that will, if his boss Mr. Bohlen allows, make writers and writing obsolete. At the end of the day, writers want to write, but more than that, they want certain publication, fame, and money. It’s all about cornering the market, baby, and novels are big business. This tale will have even the most earnest of young writers pondering their calling and their future. Tune in!

  • The Easy Chair

    This week, on The Easy Chair, I read the conclusion of “The Fat Girl” by Andre Dubus. Louise has graduated college and now weighs less than her goal weight. She has morphed from fat to thin in less than a year, and suddenly, the world opens up to her in ways she never imagined. The gifts within her reach are the spoils of her self-deprivation, and all she has left to do is claim them. This is, after all, the American Woman’s Dream. Or is Louise just a stranger in a strange land? This is an extraordinarily powerful story about female sacrifice, about what we, socially and culturally, value, and the deeper personal truths that steadfastly refuse to allow women like Louise to disappear. This week’s sponsor is Ritual! I’ve been taking Ritual for Women for over a year, and I have never felt better. Ritual has the vitamins and minerals you don’t get enough of from even the healthiest of diets, all in their purest, most digestible form. Subscribe today by going to www.ritual.com/easychair for 10% off your first three months.andre dubus

  • The Easy Chair

    Today on The Easy Chair, I read Part One of “The Fat Girl”- a stunning short story by Andre Dubus. Louise has been fat since childhood, furtively secreting away stashes of chocolate candy, which she eats at night, in bed. Then, her college roommate, with the best of intentions, intercedes. After a year of self-denial, Louise’s life changes. She gains the love of her mother and pride of her father, the admiration of friends, acquaintances, and strangers, but through self-sacrifice and weight loss, what else has she sacrificed and lost? Tune in to part one of an achingly painful story that dares to tell the truth about what is has meant for too long to be a young woman in the world. Today’s sponsor- Rothy’s! These shoe are not only stylish, they’re sustainable! I love my new Chelsea boots in Moonglow. To feel cool teaching teens is no small feat, and Rothy’s makes that possible! To order your new favorite flats, go to www.Rothys.com/chair.

  • The Easy Chair

    This week on The Easy Chair, it’s Mightier Than the Sword, with my wonderful co-host Steph Spaulding. We’re both back at work in the classroom, and…drum roll, please…so far, we are DOING A-OKAY. Steph’s got a new approach that she shares with us that involves the word joyful, and I’m teaching in what just might be the best school in the world, with the most aspirational group of young writers imaginable. We talk about teaching and dress codes and swearing, and also review a couple of books we’ve read- Steph’s is American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods by Bonnie Tsui, which I’m putting in this blurb because she couldn’t recall the title and author on the podcast. Anyway, it’s a fun catch-up, and I hope you’ll tune in! This week’s sponsor is Brooklinen. Luxury sheets without the middleman- and the luxury markup! Fall is the perfect time to give your home a posh linen makeover. Head on over to www.Brooklinen.com and enter promo code chair for 10% off your first order…and free shipping! These really are the best sheets ever.