In this week’s episode, I’m exploring story and why it’s important to our personal and national identities. Story is a potent antitode to “narrative” as practiced by the destruction-based dominant culture. Come listen to some stories.
For more stories, consider a few of my favorite books:
Little Women is a classic. But don’t bypass the sequel, Little Men, that tells the story of All Grown Up Jo, and her gentle raising of a gaggle of boys. Most of Alcott’s work is worthwhile, including the much less-known Jack and Jill.
One of my favorite general poetry collections is Best Loved Poems of the American People. It contains a broad range of popular poetry. All the famous poets are included, along with a good selection of those you’ve never heard of.
David McCullough is an earnest historian who can weave his research into a compelling tale. I suggest John Adams and 1776.
And, of course, the classic Johnny Tremain.
The above volumes are all from major publishing houses, and therefore mostly available from mass market sources like Amazon or B&N, so I won’t bother with links. The following books are small press products, so I will make the image a link. Buying directly from the small press means both the press and the author get paid more.
Wendell Berry has a wide variety of volumes in print, some fiction, some poetry, some essays. I’m most familiar with his essays, so I’ll recommend starting with the collection he’s best known for, The Unsettling of America.
Another beloved rural writer, Jerry Apps, is published by the Wisconsin Historical Press.
I don’t think it’s possible for Rabbit Room Press to put out a bad book. I’ve recently finished Fiddler’s Gun, and am looking forward to the sequel as soon as it arrives.
And, if you’re looking for a story to read to your kids (or for them to read, while you’re knee-deep in something a bit chewier), you can pick up the first book in the Wingfeather saga, that caused my 2 AM epiphany.
And, if you’re interested in sharing your own story, I can heartily recommend Adorning the Dark, as a guide to the deeper questions of how and why to go about it.
Go read stories. Go tell stories. Go push back against the Narrative(TM). And we’ll meet back here next week. Maybe we’ll talk about apples.
What are your favorite stories. that shaped you and the way you view our culture?