Short story: Solitude by Italo Calvino, from Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories. Recommended.
Poem: Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda, listened to on the Poem of the Day podcast, from December 2016. Highly Recommended.
Essay: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Adam Gopnik, listened to on the BBC’s A Point of View podcast, from December 2016 Highly Recommended.