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The Reading RoomWhat’s the point of this story?We have all been afflicted with the tedious experience of beingensnared by a rambling storyteller, who persists with trudging usthrough a wearisome litany of events and details that apparentlyhave no guiding focus, and ultimately, no real meaning for us.Then she said . . . and he couldn’t find . . . so the two of them . . .just yesterday . . . they decided to . . . and so on. Usually we listenpolitely, resolving to quickly change the subject when theopportunity presents itself, or perhaps even positioning ourselvesfor a quick exit. All the time we are thinking: “Why are youtelling me this?”Of course, stories can entertain us and provide indispensablemoments of pleasure and diversion. But in addition, stories arealso a timeless method of sharing ideas, insights, andunderstandings with each other. A well-told story can illustrate atruth, can prompt reflection and introspection, can challenge ourpreconceptions, can stimulate discussion and re...