stories about stories

I had an English professor for my Senior Seminar who believed 700% in the power of reading books aloud. To your kids. To your students who are kids. To your students who are adults and sitting in their Senior Seminar class wondering why they are being read to instead of lectured at.

I found this awesome, so I took her again the following semester.

We read two books:

There is something special about being read to.

Hearing the words.

Shutting up and listening.

A bit of communion between reader, listener, and story.


An incomplete list of books my father read to me as a child:

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (+ other books by the author)

Mary Poppins P.L. Travers (+ sequels)

The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum (+ sequels)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Boggart by Susan Cooper

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The one I remember most?


It is this totally bizarre German adult fantasy about a girl who rides around on the back of a giant tortoise.


An incomplete list of books my parents tried to read to me but I made them stop:

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins lost my interest about 17 chapters into that cave. Or so I recall.


My boyfriend teaches music at an elementary school. He has a bit of “before school duty” that puts him in a 4th grade classroom for 5-10 minutes every morning with nothing for the kids to do.

He decided to read to them.

I made a book recommendation.

They love it.

He loves it.

I love him.

(And also: holy hotness.)

(It’s the Hot Guys Reading Effect)

(See: Ryan Gosling:


When I’m feeling anxious or listless or general in a bad spirit, this is one way I cheer myself up:

queue up a favorite audiobook.

Really. It’s almost medicinal.

It has to be something with a good audio recording,

something familiar,

something I’ve read or listened to before,

something I pretty much love.

Right now, I am listening to Harry Potter,

and it’s like having a talisman in my pocket,

waiting for me in case I need cheering.


8 Responses to “stories about stories”

  1. Best blog post ever.

    I also couldn’t stand the Hobbit. I believe it’s seventeen HUNDRED chapters in the cave.

    And I love Lance for not just letting the kids goof around for that time, but reading to them instead. You chose well!

  2. I am having a hard time believing you left off To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Pushcart Wars….

    • Oh, I forgot about the Pushcart Wars! Alternate Title: “7 Ways to Puncture a Tire.” And I thought you delegated reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to the audio version because you were unable to do an excellent Brooklyn accent!

  3. Hi! I stumbled upon this post from the Freckles In April blog; my father used to read to me growing up and in turn I read to myself each night before bed when I was younger too. I just thought it would be worth mentioning that I don’t see The Little Prince anywhere on your list! It’s another fantastic kid/adult book that is well worth a read. Also, I absolutely love The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly – you should check it out!

  4. I have worked late-night custodial for about 9 months now, and the first 5 months were spent quite happily listening to Audio-books while I cleaned toilets and other unpleasant things. I loved it. The last 4 months have brought a few changes to how the job has to be done, and so I can’t listen quite as much as I used to, and it’s been tragically terrible. I believe that being read to can make just about anything better.


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