Short essays to record for my partner
February 12, 2018 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend essays or short articles that might sound good when read aloud? I'm making a mini-album for my partner. All topics are welcome.

My partner sometimes likes to drift off to sleep with someone's voice in their ears, and my own will do in a pinch. So, I'd like to record a dozen or two Wikipedia-sized essays or articles on diverse or even unusual topics, stuff that's generally interesting if you feel like listening but perhaps not too likely to to provoke angst, dread, or nightmares.

Wikipedia articles could be a good start, but sometimes finding a good one is harder than you think---plenty of articles are just a laundry list of facts, or even tables of information (think of the "Demographics" section of the article on any city.)

All kinds of recommendations are welcome---it would be great to have a wide range of items to choose from. Thanks!
posted by Chef Flamboyardee to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What about an excerpt from EB White's Here is New York? I love that essay
posted by LKWorking at 12:33 PM on February 12

For this sort of thing I often come back to "How to Be Alone" (Jonathan Franzen) and anything by David Sedaris.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:39 PM on February 12

Perhaps too long, but it's lovely and memorable: Can you say hero? about Fred Rogers.
posted by she's not there at 1:01 PM on February 12

I'm sure there are famous writers and essays that would fit the bill much better, but I came across this back in college, and it brought me some comfort. The writer must be unknown because googling doesn't bring anything up. The original website went dark in 2012 but thanks to the Wayback Machine the text is still accessible here:

What's Important?: An Essay In Life
posted by idealist at 1:03 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Depending on your definition of "short":
posted by TomFoolery at 2:04 PM on February 12

Brain Pickings curates a collection of essays about philosophy. Some of these are beautifully written but may be too engrossing.

The Guardian has a series called Country Diary that is basically descriptive essays about English country life past and present. The writing is quite beautiful and the subject is interesting without being exciting.

Collectors Weekly has some interesting articles that read well. They're like Wikipedia articles with extra background and speculation.

Depending on your partner's interests you might look for historical essays, famous letters, travel writers, or old New York Times book reviews.
posted by irisclara at 2:08 PM on February 12

Isaac Asimov had a long running science column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
posted by Sophont at 4:20 PM on February 12

Atlas Obscura seems like it would fit the bill.
posted by otio at 6:58 PM on February 12

Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Big Country" is a collection of articles he did for a British newspaper. I think they'd work well
posted by kitten magic at 10:06 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

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