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.
1) Four Good Legs between Us by Laura Hillenbrand
2) The Trading Desk by Michael Lewis
3) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
4) Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
5) 1491 by Charles C. Mann
6) How Not to Talk to Your Kids by Po Bronson
7) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
8) The Electric Typewriter
9) 150 Great Articles and Essays (with links to over 750 more!)