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(Salon)   Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers. New research says reading literary fiction helps people embrace ambiguous ideas and avoid snap judgments   (salon.com) divider line 81
    More: Interesting, literary fiction, academic journal  
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2034 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jun 2013 at 12:30 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-15 03:08:11 PM  

FrancoFile: Benevolent Misanthrope: FrancoFile: Benevolent Misanthrope: Slaxl: Quaker: I'm not sure about that:
[cdn.www.carm.org image 224x184]

Munchkin City Coroner: For thousands of years, religious texts have proven that reading fiction does not lead to open-mindedness.

Perhaps, but for at least 1500 years of Christianity very few people had the chance to read a bible themselves, and for the last 500 years everyone has pretended to read it and just sorta guess whats in it based on hearsay... actually, that's 2,000 years, when was the bible first written? 400-500ad? Later? Ok, let's just forget that and say that almost no one ever reads the bible.

Kind of like Shakespeare.  And yet everyone thinks they can quote it.

[newsinfilm.com image 180x220]

Frowns on your shenanigans.

Actually, I think he would agree.  I read very little fiction, but I do read Shakespeare.  For fun.  And it grates me, how many inaccurate - or just plain mis-attributed - "Shakespeare quotes" I hear.

I actually thought you were doing an Edward DeVere or Roger Bacon troll...  ;-)

/lurve me some Fluellen quotes


"Tis no matter for his swellings or his turkey cock."
 
2013-06-15 03:23:11 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: danceswithcrows: producers and focus groupies hollering at them demanding more fanservice/more fight scenes/more product placement.

2 out of those 3 are definitely fought over in the fanspace of writers. Replace product placement with sex, and you have the basic talking points of any fan review or fanfiction.


This is true, but: Private individuals with little power saying "Book N was terrible because of (reasons)!" is quite different from a producer or a focus group saying "We don't like this; make changes (1,2,3) or we pull the funding for the project." Power's concentrated among a much smaller group of people in the latter. This can lead to stupid things if those people are idiots, which seems to happen far too often in movie/TV land.

Go read 50 Shades of Grey

There's a library ~2 miles away with hundreds of thousands of books. That one's far, far down the list because so many people (Farkers, even) have said it's terrible.

the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.

This has probably always been true. The Sorrows of Young Werther was kind of like the Twilight of its day. Hardly anyone remembers it or references it now. Moby-Dick wasn't popular when it was published, and now it's considered one of the great books of American literature. Good stuff usually stands the test of time. Bad stuff tends to disappear after a few years.

I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published

Years and years ago, I wrote a book and printed out several copies (Imagewriter II, whee.) 30 or 40 people read it. General consensus was "Worse books have been published. I don't know if I'd pay $5 for this, though." Things like having a job, a cat, Net access, and more life experiences have made me reluctant to go back and attempt to rewrite all the bad parts so it could be published. Also, nobody'd buy it without a marketing campaign and/or a Sci-Fi TV movie tie-in.
 
2013-06-15 03:28:20 PM  

Quaker: I'm not sure about that:


I'm guessing most of people you've got in mind haven't read much of it for themselves. Listening to a priest or preacher reading his own selections giving his own interpretation doesn't leave much room for critical thinking, unless you think the guy's got it all wrong.

Most printed Bibles these days also have all kinds of footnotes that help readers make sense of it all, and avoid misinterpretation. Obviously there are plenty of people out there who get it wrong, but the average sane person probably won't (I would hope).
 
2013-06-15 03:32:07 PM  

cptjeff: Canton: /Hasn't read the Bible.
//Keeps meaning to.
///Meh.


Slowly working on a cover to cover reading of the KJV, myself, in between other stuff. It is probably the most significant work ever written, and the KJV is the version that really shaped the english language and english speaking culture, so it's something you should read, if for no other reason than that. Besides, the poetry of stuff like psalms and proverbs really is beautiful. Psalm 23, as written in the KJV, is one of the best bits of poetry the human race has ever written. So while I'm not so hot on a lot of aspects of organized religion, it has given us some really wonderful stuff. Art, literature, poetry, architecture, music...

Everybody should read at least some of the more culturally significant parts of the Bible and at least a few of the more significant plays of Shakespeare. And to complete the trifecta, a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, Lincoln. The top three most written about people in history, at least in English (and very possibly including other languages) are, in order, Jesus, Shakespeare, and Abraham Lincoln.


Like I said, I keep meaning to. Keep getting bogged down in the "begats" of Genesis, though. In any case, I'd like to tackle NIV before KJV. KJV is lovely, but when it comes to arguing with Bible-thumpers (which I would love to do), the NIV might be a better bet.

Oh, and I have actually read some Shakespeare. Midsummer Night's Dream remains my favorite.

/"It is the wittiest partition that I ever heard discourse, my lord."
 
2013-06-15 03:42:58 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Seriously, the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.  I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published due to lack of mommy-porn.  Novels are driven by the lowest common denominator of the anticipated audience.  And that is low indeed.


'I am better than everyone, both the readers and the writers, but I shall not stoop so low as to prove it'

Nothing arrogant or obnoxious about that, is there?
 
2013-06-15 03:47:32 PM  

Canton: Oh, and I have actually read some Shakespeare. Midsummer Night's Dream remains my favorite.


Macbeth is my favorite. Even got to play Macbeth (badly) during a production my English class put on in high school, nobody else wanted to take the lead. Of course, years later, during a reunion, some people mentioned it when talking to me, so I was either better than I thought or really, really bad.

But the dynamics in that play are just really, really fun. Macbeth's conscience bugging him, his wife responding by pushing him even further into the mess they've gotten themselves into, their simultaneous descents into utter insanity. The ghost of Banquo, the witches... Yeah, it's a great one.

Ya know, if I ever take the leap from working in politics to running for office, I'm going to use having played that part to answer the "what inspired you to run for office?" question, just to see the reaction.
 
2013-06-15 03:59:37 PM  

cptjeff: Canton: Oh, and I have actually read some Shakespeare. Midsummer Night's Dream remains my favorite.

Macbeth is my favorite. Even got to play Macbeth (badly) during a production my English class put on in high school, nobody else wanted to take the lead. Of course, years later, during a reunion, some people mentioned it when talking to me, so I was either better than I thought or really, really bad.

But the dynamics in that play are just really, really fun. Macbeth's conscience bugging him, his wife responding by pushing him even further into the mess they've gotten themselves into, their simultaneous descents into utter insanity. The ghost of Banquo, the witches... Yeah, it's a great one.

Ya know, if I ever take the leap from working in politics to running for office, I'm going to use having played that part to answer the "what inspired you to run for office?" question, just to see the reaction.


Oh, of the tragedies, Macbethhas a special place in my heart. For whatever reason, the twist ending sticks with me. You know, Macduff having been "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd." That may be a graphic line, but I always think of it when a C-section is mentioned now. (Is that weird?)

That, and the gender role reversal of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is just... well, extreme. Which is the point. But it's still a great example of Shakespeare's fun with gender bending.

Midsummer Night's Dream, though? It's the first Shakespeare play I ever read. It's relatively accessible, which makes the humor shine that much brighter. I don't know. It just makes me smile.
 
2013-06-15 04:16:55 PM  

Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Seriously, the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.  I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published due to lack of mommy-porn.  Novels are driven by the lowest common denominator of the anticipated audience.  And that is low indeed.

'I am better than everyone, both the readers and the writers, but I shall not stoop so low as to prove it'

Nothing arrogant or obnoxious about that, is there?


Are you actually going to white-knight 50 Shades of Grey?

Do proceed.  I'll go make popcorn.
 
2013-06-15 04:16:56 PM  

Canton: cptjeff: Canton: Oh, and I have actually read some Shakespeare. Midsummer Night's Dream remains my favorite.

Macbeth is my favorite. Even got to play Macbeth (badly) during a production my English class put on in high school, nobody else wanted to take the lead. Of course, years later, during a reunion, some people mentioned it when talking to me, so I was either better than I thought or really, really bad.

But the dynamics in that play are just really, really fun. Macbeth's conscience bugging him, his wife responding by pushing him even further into the mess they've gotten themselves into, their simultaneous descents into utter insanity. The ghost of Banquo, the witches... Yeah, it's a great one.

Ya know, if I ever take the leap from working in politics to running for office, I'm going to use having played that part to answer the "what inspired you to run for office?" question, just to see the reaction.

Oh, of the tragedies, Macbethhas a special place in my heart. For whatever reason, the twist ending sticks with me. You know, Macduff having been "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd." That may be a graphic line, but I always think of it when a C-section is mentioned now. (Is that weird?)

That, and the gender role reversal of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is just... well, extreme. Which is the point. But it's still a great example of Shakespeare's fun with gender bending.

Midsummer Night's Dream, though? It's the first Shakespeare play I ever read. It's relatively accessible, which makes the humor shine that much brighter. I don't know. It just makes me smile.


That's a pretty good reason to like a comedy.
 
2013-06-15 04:19:08 PM  

cptjeff: Canton: cptjeff: Canton: Oh, and I have actually read some Shakespeare. Midsummer Night's Dream remains my favorite.

Macbeth is my favorite. Even got to play Macbeth (badly) during a production my English class put on in high school, nobody else wanted to take the lead. Of course, years later, during a reunion, some people mentioned it when talking to me, so I was either better than I thought or really, really bad.

But the dynamics in that play are just really, really fun. Macbeth's conscience bugging him, his wife responding by pushing him even further into the mess they've gotten themselves into, their simultaneous descents into utter insanity. The ghost of Banquo, the witches... Yeah, it's a great one.

Ya know, if I ever take the leap from working in politics to running for office, I'm going to use having played that part to answer the "what inspired you to run for office?" question, just to see the reaction.

Oh, of the tragedies, Macbethhas a special place in my heart. For whatever reason, the twist ending sticks with me. You know, Macduff having been "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd." That may be a graphic line, but I always think of it when a C-section is mentioned now. (Is that weird?)

That, and the gender role reversal of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is just... well, extreme. Which is the point. But it's still a great example of Shakespeare's fun with gender bending.

Midsummer Night's Dream, though? It's the first Shakespeare play I ever read. It's relatively accessible, which makes the humor shine that much brighter. I don't know. It just makes me smile.

That's a pretty good reason to like a comedy.


My favorite, hands-down, is Hamlet.  The depth of insight into human nature and the characters are just fantastic.
 
2013-06-15 04:58:30 PM  
TFH

Weird. I totally felt that way when I used to read, period.

But literature is like music in that it becomes way too post modern and not as interesting as the timelong classics.
 
2013-06-15 05:21:11 PM  
books are for sissies
 
2013-06-15 05:30:08 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Seriously, the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.  I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published due to lack of mommy-porn.  Novels are driven by the lowest common denominator of the anticipated audience.  And that is low indeed.

'I am better than everyone, both the readers and the writers, but I shall not stoop so low as to prove it'

Nothing arrogant or obnoxious about that, is there?

Are you actually going to white-knight 50 Shades of Grey?

Do proceed.  I'll go make popcorn.


Oh, were you only referring to a specific book? Because your choice of words led me to believe you far more general in your criticisms.

In that case, let me laugh even harder at your assertion of being a potential novelist.
 
2013-06-15 05:33:45 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: flucto: This message brought to you by the American Council of People Who Couldn't Get Degrees Involving Math Aren't Willing to Do What It Takes to Make Their Lives What they Want Them To Be, and Instead Opt for Constant Escapism.

Not necessarily a fix, just another option.  I know someone who reads only fiction and cheerfully admits it's escapism.  I prefer making my reality pleasant to escaping it because I don't like it.  Plus, I don;t have the aded wkwardness of being slammed back to reality from time to time.


You've both incorrectly identified 'escapist literature' with 'delusional'.  Why is fiction so bad but meditation or deep breathing exercises - other forms of stress-reducing 'escapism' - acceptable (assuming you find such things so)?  A good solid chunk of well-written fiction can introduce new ideas and inspire interest in new subjects.
 
2013-06-15 06:08:22 PM  

Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Seriously, the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.  I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published due to lack of mommy-porn.  Novels are driven by the lowest common denominator of the anticipated audience.  And that is low indeed.

'I am better than everyone, both the readers and the writers, but I shall not stoop so low as to prove it'

Nothing arrogant or obnoxious about that, is there?

Are you actually going to white-knight 50 Shades of Grey?

Do proceed.  I'll go make popcorn.

Oh, were you only referring to a specific book? Because your choice of words led me to believe you far more general in your criticisms.

In that case, let me laugh even harder at your assertion of being a potential novelist.


And you asserted that my general criticism was universally untrue.  To which I gave an example of what I was talking about.  I honestly dont have time to sit here and list every badly written piece out there.  There are simply too many.

I also, by the way, never said I was a potential novelist.  I said unequivocally I lack the interest.

But more importantly...  What happened to you, man?  You used to be so cool.
 
2013-06-15 06:25:32 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Smackledorfer: Benevolent Misanthrope: Seriously, the popular fiction I see these days coming through the library is absolutely abysmal.  I could do better, but I don't have the time or interest to write a novel, and it would never get published due to lack of mommy-porn.  Novels are driven by the lowest common denominator of the anticipated audience.  And that is low indeed.

'I am better than everyone, both the readers and the writers, but I shall not stoop so low as to prove it'

Nothing arrogant or obnoxious about that, is there?

Are you actually going to white-knight 50 Shades of Grey?

Do proceed.  I'll go make popcorn.

Oh, were you only referring to a specific book? Because your choice of words led me to believe you far more general in your criticisms.

In that case, let me laugh even harder at your assertion of being a potential novelist.

And you asserted that my general criticism was universally untrue.  To which I gave an example of what I was talking about.  I honestly dont have time to sit here and list every badly written piece out there.  There are simply too many.

I also, by the way, never said I was a potential novelist.  I said unequivocally I lack the interest.

But more importantly...  What happened to you, man?  You used to be so cool.


Saying your generalization is elitist and arrogant neither makes it an untrue generalization (perhaps you could put all these authors in their place), nor does it mean there are zero examples that fit the generalization if the generalization is false.

You said you could do better than the authors of the popular fiction you see these days. How is that not you saying you could be a novelist?

Finally, I've never been cool afaik.
 
2013-06-15 06:33:54 PM  
Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.
 
2013-06-15 06:40:58 PM  
On second thought I am kind of cranky today. Maybe I'm just looking for a fight and reading into things I otherwise would not.
 
2013-06-15 06:50:18 PM  

Smackledorfer: On second thought I am kind of cranky today. Maybe I'm just looking for a fight and reading into things I otherwise would not.


Yeah me too.  I finally get a few days off and it's storming with parts of the city being evacuated, so I have to sit tight.  Sucks.  And I had to clean house today.  Ugh.
 
2013-06-15 06:51:23 PM  

New Farkin User Name: Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.


Yup. The classics aren't representative of the literature of their era. The good stuff endures, the transient crap fades into dust. Same with music, movies, and just about everything else. We don't bother preserving every cheap tenement, but we do preserve fine architecture. Well, unless you're MOMA, I suppose.
 
2013-06-15 06:51:41 PM  

New Farkin User Name: Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.


A nickel isn't worth wading through shiat for, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's why I don't read fiction - I don't find it worth the effort of finding the good stuff.
 
2013-06-15 07:04:48 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: New Farkin User Name: Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.

A nickel isn't worth wading through shiat for, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's why I don't read fiction - I don't find it worth the effort of finding the good stuff.


That's a big reason I don't read much new fiction, but I'm more than willing to read the stuff that's proven itself. When I can fit it in amongst the history tomes that make up the bulk of my reading diet, anyway.

\I try to alternate fiction and nonfiction.
\\Key word being try.
 
2013-06-15 07:28:28 PM  

cptjeff: Benevolent Misanthrope: New Farkin User Name: Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.

A nickel isn't worth wading through shiat for, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's why I don't read fiction - I don't find it worth the effort of finding the good stuff.

That's a big reason I don't read much new fiction, but I'm more than willing to read the stuff that's proven itself. When I can fit it in amongst the history tomes that make up the bulk of my reading diet, anyway.

\I try to alternate fiction and nonfiction.
\\Key word being try.


History is boring to read. I'll just experience it when it repeats itself.
 
2013-06-15 07:35:20 PM  

cptjeff: Benevolent Misanthrope: New Farkin User Name: Benevolent, sometimes you need to wade through the shiat to find that one shiny nickle.

A nickel isn't worth wading through shiat for, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's why I don't read fiction - I don't find it worth the effort of finding the good stuff.

That's a big reason I don't read much new fiction, but I'm more than willing to read the stuff that's proven itself. When I can fit it in amongst the history tomes that make up the bulk of my reading diet, anyway.

\I try to alternate fiction and nonfiction.
\\Key word being try.


Last year, I made a resolution to read one fiction work a month.  Works of basic cultural literacy.  I made it halfway through "The Godfather", which was indeed well-written, but just didn't interest me nearly as much as the new biography of Heinrich Himmler.

Each to his or her own, I suppose.
 
2013-06-15 07:58:18 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: but just didn't interest me nearly as much as the new biography of Heinrich Himmler.


Do we need to read anything into this?
 
2013-06-15 08:46:24 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Actually, I think he would agree.  I read very little fiction, but I do read Shakespeare.  For fun.  And it grates me, how many inaccurate - or just plain mis-attributed - "Shakespeare quotes" I hear.


img708.imageshack.us
 
2013-06-15 10:12:56 PM  

cptjeff: Benevolent Misanthrope: but just didn't interest me nearly as much as the new biography of Heinrich Himmler.

Do we need to read anything into this?


Only that I have an interest in German history.  In the sense of "WTF happened??? And more importantly, how do we keep it from ever happening again?"
 
2013-06-15 10:29:27 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Slaxl: Quaker: I'm not sure about that:
[cdn.www.carm.org image 224x184]

Munchkin City Coroner: For thousands of years, religious texts have proven that reading fiction does not lead to open-mindedness.

Perhaps, but for at least 1500 years of Christianity very few people had the chance to read a bible themselves, and for the last 500 years everyone has pretended to read it and just sorta guess whats in it based on hearsay... actually, that's 2,000 years, when was the bible first written? 400-500ad? Later? Ok, let's just forget that and say that almost no one ever reads the bible.

Kind of like Shakespeare.  And yet everyone thinks they can quote it.


I've read only bits of the bible, yet almost all of Shakespeare.   S. didn't tell people to hate each other, he actually existed, and his words are a lot more eloquent.
 
2013-06-16 10:54:17 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: cptjeff: Benevolent Misanthrope: but just didn't interest me nearly as much as the new biography of Heinrich Himmler.

Do we need to read anything into this?

Only that I have an interest in German history.  In the sense of "WTF happened??? And more importantly, how do we keep it from ever happening again?"



But you don't think that the authors of those books have agendas too?

/scratches head
 
2013-06-16 11:52:25 AM  

strangeluck: Well im not reading until they come out with one of them "Reading For Dummies" books!

Now if y'all excuse me, I gots to go play my banjo and oil mah guns.



That's 'earl' mah guns
you big dummy

=^D
 
2013-06-16 02:10:10 PM  

FrancoFile: Benevolent Misanthrope: cptjeff: Benevolent Misanthrope: but just didn't interest me nearly as much as the new biography of Heinrich Himmler.

Do we need to read anything into this?

Only that I have an interest in German history.  In the sense of "WTF happened??? And more importantly, how do we keep it from ever happening again?"


But you don't think that the authors of those books have agendas too?

/scratches head


Some of them, I'm sure.  Usually the agenda is "OMGZ EEEVILLLLL NAZIS!".  I do tend toward more scholarly works which try not to make a judgment but present the information as it stands.  That's almost impossible to do in hindsight, though.
 
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