From the list on people telling each other stories.
Who am I?
Nearly forty years ago, as a young poet, I started going to a storytelling circle in Toronto, thinking it would be a good venue to recite my poems. What I heard there awakened something in me. When I was a child, my parents read me wonder tales, and I soon began to read them on my own. Now I was hearing these stories, the way they were heard for millennia before anyone wrote them down. Today, I am a storyteller, I am married, and I am a professor who teaches a course on storytelling and writes about stories – all because of those weekly gatherings years ago and the storytellers there.
Justin's book list on people telling each other stories
Discover why each book is one of Justin's favorite books.
Why did Justin love this book?
I’m including one book from long ago and far away – fourteenth-century Italy – because it leaped out at me from the bookshelf.
The Decameron is the most artistically complete written story about face-to-face storytelling – though I also love its rivals, One Thousand and One Nights and The Canterbury Tales!
The book opens with the bubonic plague that devastated Florence in 1348. Ten wealthy young friends, women and men, leave the stricken city to vacation in the countryside. While servants prepare lavish meals, the friends spend their days relaxing, dancing – and telling naughty stories. The narrator delights in describing their reactions to each other’s storytelling.
Yes, stories can be holy and powerful, but sometimes we just need them to clown around for us! Many translations are available – read one that feels playful.