A question readers, writers and publishers have grappled with for the past decade: What is a book? Tablets, e-readers and the ease and proliferation of audiobooks have redefined what it means to “read.”
My take: a book is a good story, and a good story transcends media. So during my daily commute, I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. One of my favorites is The Moth, a storytelling series based in New York and airing on NPR. Alternately funny, sad and inspiring–often within a single story–these are 12-minute nuggets of anecdote and philosophy, and I can’t get enough.
The takeaway: There is something primal about storytelling. It’s why we repeat favorite tales with old friends, share them with strangers, why we read books, watch movies, listen to podcasts, start blogs.
For the bibliophile on your shopping list, you’d be wise to purchase one of the Moth’s “best of” CDs. Sold separately or in 10-volume collections, I’ve enjoyed all 20 installments over the past two holidays. The stories reverberate long after the first listen.
Another great storytelling series is The Story Collider, a podcast and digital magazine with a science theme. At the moment, the shelves of their online store are somewhat bare, but you can purchase clothing, stickers and magnets. You can also listen to podcasts and read fascinating articles.
So, with little more than a day to cram in that last-minute shopping, don’t forget to give the gift of story.