Doesn’t belong to me: On the Origin of Stories

Day 5: I give away many more books than I borrow, so the only books that fit into today’s category are those I checked out of the library earlier in the week. My home is on the same block as the public library’s headquarters, which is awfully convenient.

On the Origin of Stories, by Brian BoydI borrowed On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction by Brian Boyd, and I’ve just begun reading it. Of stories seemingly as disparate as the Odyssey and Horton Hears a Who! the book’s flap copy says:

What triggers our emotional engagement with these works? What patterns facilitate our responses? The need to hold an audience’s attention, Boyd underscores, is the fundamental problem facing all storytellers.

Not that anyone has all the answers—at least not simplistic conclusions—about how to capture readers’ attention, but you can imagine why, as a literary agent, I’d be curious. I’m also interested in the way we create and adjust the stories that define us as individuals, because I believe we can’t entirely avoid being enchanted by the dominant narratives of our society.

BookADay-The Borough Press

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