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The Storytelling Animal, by Jonathan Gottschall.

At the beginning of the book, Gottschall describes a time when he was driving and was so moved by a schlocky country music song playing on the radio that he began bawling and had to pull over because he couldn’t see the road through his tears.  In a book that explores the universal need for narrative, I was charmed to learn that this particular experience might be universal as well.

The same thing’s happened to me way more than once. I hate modern country music, but there have been times when I’m driving out west or down south and it’s the only thing besides God that I can get on the dial. I start off sneering at the songs, but I inevitably end up crying because they’re so unabashedly sincere and emotional. And so damn literal. You get entire stories, and you get them in detail. So whether they’re songs about daughters or fathers or friends or tractors (the last two might not be mutually exclusive), they’re songs with heart, and if you have one, it usually melts by the chorus, and there you are, driving and crying hot tears of sadness, and embarrassment.

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