Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

National Tell a Story Day

April 27, 2023

Today is National Tell a Story Day. I’ve loved stories ever since I can remember. The library was a fun place to go to find new adventures between the pages of a book. I shared a love for reading with my father. He got me into spy stories and action-adventure tales and thrillers. But before that, I grew up on Cherry Ames, Judy Bolton, and Nancy Drew. I remember the excitement I felt when my mother bought me a new series title. I couldn’t wait to crawl into a corner and read.

Stories entrance me. They take me far away anywhere I want to go, into any persona, from a historical era to a futuristic planet. I can have the grandest adventure, travel to places I’d never be able to see in person and learn about other cultures and history along the way.

Storytelling enraptures me so much that I feel sorry for people who are grounded in reality. You know, the Others who prefer nonfiction or—gasp—don’t read at all. How sad is their narrow world because they can’t enjoy fiction. I’m not talking about scientists who imagine new technologies and then create them. I’m talking about fictional worlds that involve human interactions and settings outside our normal boundaries.

To get absorbed in a story, to be immersed in a character’s life and share their adventures, is the height of joy for a bookworm like me.

It doesn’t matter how you get your fix. You can read print books or ebooks, listen to audiobooks, or go hear a professional storyteller at a library. Watching a scripted TV show can also immerse you in an alternate reality. Whichever way you find your nirvana, you’ll transcend your everyday life and experience adventures beyond your expectations.

As for those doubters who dismiss us saying, “It’s all made up,” I reply “So is half the news you hear on TV.” Stories pass along our human experiences, share our universal truths, and help us to understand our place in the world. And part of that place is to appreciate that we have an imagination unlike any other creature on Earth.

What is your favorite genre to read?

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Nancy J. Cohen • Tags: |  20 Comments


20 thoughts on “National Tell a Story Day

  1. What is my favorite genre to read? My favorite is traditional mysteries, followed by historical mysteries, followed by cozy mysteries, followed by science fiction, followed by fantasy, followed by whatever I pick up at a bookstore. I love to read!

    1. I read a bio on Martha Matilda Harper doing research for my hairstylist sleuth. Harper established the first public hair salon in the U.S. and went on to create a worldwide empire of salons run by women.

  2. I’m one of those rare people who like to read a book at least once to see if I like it. As for my my favorite genre well… I really don’t have one

    1. If you like a book, do you ever reread it? I’ve so many new ones I want to read that I’ll rarely go back. I write reviews on each one so that I can remember what I’ve read.

  3. Oh, I have a few favorite genres. For easy, relaxing genres, you cannot beat a good cozy mystery. I also love good fantasy. I adore gook women’s books…not sure what the genre is, but think Kris Radish, Jennifer Crusie, and Alice Hoffman. I adore some science fiction, others leave me flat. Some horror, but not much.

    1. Cozies are a relaxing genre because you know you’re getting a happy ending. I, too, like fantasy and I also enjoy scifi stories. I think the other genre you’re mentioning would be women’s fiction.

  4. My favorite genres have changed over time. At one point in my teens and early twenties, I devoured Tolkien, Ira Levin, and Thomas Tryon, then Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton. I haven’t read science fiction or horror in decades. Maybe it’s because there’s too much scary stuff going on in real life! Now, I love to escape with books that make me laugh, but I’ve also discovered a love for historical fiction recently, especially historical mysteries. And of course, I’m a sucker for a good cozy or amateur sleuth mystery–especially if it can also make me laugh.

    1. I used to read heavier books in my earlier days too, including Shakespeare and Dickens and Austen. Medical thrillers are too close to reality these days. I, too, like to escape into historical mysteries but I also like scifi/fantasy and historical romance.

  5. I’ve been gravitating more towards historical mysteries over the past few years. I also really like stories that bring the past into present events—something that was lost that’s been found, a historical mystery that affects what goes on today, etc.

    1. I’ve been gravitating more towards historical mysteries lately too. I like to be transported away from contemporary times with all its problems and gain insights into a different era.

  6. Of course, I love cozy mysteries along with traditional mysteries. I also like gothic/ghost stories (new and classic) but just like Lois I’ve mostly quit horror because there are enough horrors in real life. SciFi and hardcore fantasy aren’t my cuppa. But I will read interesting bios…anything that’s a “story behind the story” always piques my interest. And then there’s the old standby back of the cereal box….

    1. I like scifi but in the Star Trek/Star Wars mold. Fantasy can appeal to me too, depending on the story. Historical mysteries are my latest favorite. Horror … no thanks.

  7. I love stories. I grew up with a household of readers and a bevy of oral storytellers. It is a pure delight to listen to someone telling a story in the Deep South. Lots of laughter is involved!

  8. It’s hard to name any one genre. I read so many. Fiction & non-fiction. And it depends on mood more than anything. Learned a love of reading very young. Everyone of the adults around me was a reader. Except Grandpa. Gram’s said he was just a grouch. Him & Dad liked making things. Learned some woodworking skills from Gramps, & while the folks were busy he usually watched over us kids. Even the queen bee didn’t dare mess with us when he did. The only things I don’t read involves the supernatural, witches, demons, ghosts, violence, erotica, anything that encourages hatred for anything. The why’s would take up a large space. Folks taught respect for all life forms.

    1. Forgot to mention. I often get so immersed in what I am reading that nothing else exists. More than once I have had to apologize for responding to someone in the tone of what I was reading. When reading I got so involved that nothing else matters. Many the times the kids would ask about a meal. Like one chilly night the kids said they were hungry, when’s dinner. I said I’m almost done, give me a couple minutes. (without looking up) A bit later I was asked again. I said just a minute. (without looking up). Think that happened a couple more times, the next thing I knew, my seven year old was handing me dinner. That’s when I realized 3 hours had passed & my boys (7 & 9) proved they knew how to cook. They wanted to live. They still tease me about that. And it’s been 40 years. I should explain. Bessie Potter was my Grandmother. She opened the googly account back in the 90’s. Died shortly later. Said I could keep it if I wanted. Yep. She was a computer nerd long before I was willing to even try.

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