A horse that still can still inspire awe, centuries after its death (1). A wizard who uses numbers to battle the evils of superstition and defeat those held back by wilful blindness (2). A young who man heads off into the wilderness in search adventure, never to return (3). These are the stories that grab our imagination and won’t let go, the ones that are passed from one generation to the next, subtly shifting as they spread, becoming embellished and mutating with each retelling, until they become myths, leaping from mouth, to ear, to pen, to press, to the dazzling silver screen.
And then there are the stories that hold the wisdom of centuries past, apocalyptic tales of empires destroyed by accidents of history (4), or parables that reveal the troubled heart of our relationship with the very soil that sustains us (5). Tales that show how the follies of generations past continue to haunt our present and will be repeated in the future; how we are destined to make the same mistakes as our parents before us, and the children who follow us (6). And then there are the stories we really can’t live without, the ones that remind us of our cruelty and our blindness to other people’s suffering (7).
But surely those great stories belong to the distant past, a time of legends when great orators took the stage to speak of long-dead heroes, and we spent long winter nights telling tales of bygone days in hushed voices as we huddled round open fires? Or are those great narrators still among us, holding up a mirror to our world and captivating us with true stories more fabulous than any fiction?
When The Electric Typewriter (8) isn’t busy putting together needlessly opaque reading lists, it spends its time collecting the best articles and essays from around the internet (9) for your reading pleasure.
Spotted in Cambridge, MA: a bus stop advertising free, downloadable ebooks.
“The Cocktail Chart of Film & Literature” print from Pop Chart Lab lists famous drinks from books and movies, complete with recipes.
How appropriate for us to post… the venue voted “Most Likely to be Drunk While Listening to Great poetry” (not really, but we should get that honorarium.)
Emily Perper is a freelance editor and reporter, currently completing a service year in Baltimore with the Episcopal Service Corps.
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I chose “mothers/relationship with moms” as the theme of my list this week:1. My Mom (Mary H. K. Choi, Aeon, April 2013)A deceptively simple title belies a gorgeous, funny, sometimes dark essay in which Choi attempts to communicate her strange affection for her mother.2. The Love of My Life (Cheryl Strayed, The Sun, Sept. 2002)The indomitable Strayed explores the unexpected intersection of sex, death, grief, marriage, and, above all, her overwhelming love for her mother.3. The Beautiful Daughter: How My Korean Mother Gave Me the Courage to Transition (Andy Marra, The Huffington Post, Nov. 2012)Andy Marra returns to Korea to find her biological family and ponders whether or not to reveal that she’s transgender.***What are your favorite stories about mom? Share them in the comments below.
(Photo: Böhringer Friedrich, Wikimedia Commons)
From The Slate Book Review
Minimalist Quotation Print, Ryan McArthur
The Love of My Life by Cheryl Strayed
Notes From a Unicorn by Seth Fischer
Time and Distance Overcome by Eula Biss
No Man’s Land by Eula Biss
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
My Foreign Mom by Mary HK Choi
Imagining Myself in Palestine by Randa Jarrar
Peyton’s Place by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Symbolism and Cynicism by Tayari Jones
Being Poor by John Scalzi
Occasional Dispatches From the Republic of Anhedonia
by Colson Whitehead
For all the artists out there. xoxo