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The Reading Culture

A Good Guest: Daniel Nayeri on the Obligations of a Storyteller

The Reading Culture
The Reading Culture

"Don't follow your dreams if that's the only thing you're doing. Ask yourself, what will make you most useful? What will make you most, in terms of a purpose, help you do meaningful work?” - Daniel Nayeri

You want Daniel Nayeri at your dinner party. Always with a story or an insightful question, it turns out he is also the person you want on your podcast! The Iranian-American author of the Printz Award-winning “Everything Sad is Untrue,” and the more recent “The Many Assassinations of Samir, Seller of Dreams,” offered up fresh conversation and a good deal of humor.

As a writer, Daniel Nayeri is deeply aware of the impact his writing has on readers. As he noted in our conversation, there is perhaps no more intimate power than becoming the dialogue in one’s head. And Daniel feels strongly about using that power to have a positive impact on those who read his words. Part of his purpose, or obligation, he believes, is to “remystify the world.” Just wait until we talk about why cherries grow in pairs!

In this episode, Daniel explains what he means by remystifying the world, talks about the roadside storyteller that initiated his storytelling journey, and shares his views on purpose (why he takes his so seriously). From his life-changing experience with the Junior Great Books program in elementary school to his current film and book projects, Daniel delves deep into his role as storyteller.


Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.


In Daniel’s reading challenge, "Wise Shorts" he keeps our work and life load in mind offering a curated selection of short stories, reminding us that even the smallest things can have a major impact.

You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Nikki Hayter, Library Manager at Franklin Avenue Library in Des Moines, Iowa. Nikki tells us about a program that highlights the deep impact libraries have on communities.


Chapter 1 - The Ferris Wheel and The Storyteller (2:15)

Chapter 2 - A Retired Conan the Barbarian (6:43)

Chapter 3 - Alberic The Wise (11:30)

Chapter 4 - Remystifying the world (7:18)

Chapter 5 - You get a memoir! And you get a memoir! And… (25:25)

Chapter 6 - How to be interesting (28:20)

Chapter 7 - Wise Shorts (33:31)

Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (34:32)


Jordan Lloyd Bookey

Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media

Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

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