Bookish in the Mitten

Book reviews, book recommendations, book talk, and a little knitting

Let’s tell stories.

Children, read to your parents. Parents, read to your children and to each other.  Friends, siblings, take turns reading as the rest of you listen. With book in hand, (or eBook on phone or tablet or laptop), gather under a tree, around a campfire or at the kitchen table – such stories I have heard at kitchen tables!   Gather in the same room, or virtually.  We have time.


Before stories were read, they were told, and that oral storytelling tradition never stopped; it still exists alongside the written word. You can read more about the fascinating “story of story” HERE.

My family told stories, whether their own or someone else’s.  Our mother read to us regularly before bedtime, our father made up scary/funny stories, our very creative Aunt Mary wrote a fairy tale that incorporated all of her nieces and nephews, and our Grandma Genevieve shared her love of books and stories with us throughout our lives, for as long as she was able.  I remember our father’s father telling a story that started out “Once upon a time, a lllllllloonnggggg time ago. . .” at which we laughed with delight. I don’t remember the story, but I remember the telling. Although my love of reading – of story – is so deeply ingrained that it feels hardwired into my DNA, it was the listening that lit the fire.

Once I became a proficient reader I no longer waited for others to read stories to me, and with the exception of some teachers reading aloud to us (Mrs. Johnson in fifth grade reading The Five Little Peppers), I was an independent reader.

Then one day in the late 1980’s I was driving in the dark and messing with the radio when I landed on a man’s deep voice talking of getting stranded in a snowstorm without any cigarettes.  Although I was pulling into my parents’ driveway at the time, I stayed in the car until the story ended and I learned that I was listening to Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion.”  For many years afterwards I listened to his live radio program, and my world slowed with the words “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.”

Story.

So, let’s tell stories. Check your bookshelves and those of your kids.  If you can’t find anything, search your library’s online catalog of eBooks or check out the free Kindle titles listed on Amazon – and don’t forget that Prime members have access to many more free titles, one title per month I think.  I found some free Kindle titles on amazon; see below. You can also check it out yourself by searching on Free Kindle Books or Free Kindle Classic Literature.

For the family:

  • OZ The Complete Collection  (click HERE to review – this edition has good reviews!)
  • 20 Masterpieces of Fantasy Fiction Vol. 1 (Includes some version of Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Tarzan of the Apes, A Christmas Carol, and more.  (Click HERE)
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London (click HERE)

For adults or those you treat as adults from a story perspective:

  • A Passage To India (Forster) (Click HERE)
  • Walden (Thoreau) (Click HERE)
  • The Mill on the Floss  (Eliot) (Click HERE)

Love each other and be well, friends.

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