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(Guardian)   How reading makes you a better person. Don't ask me, I didn't read it   (theguardian.com) divider line 38
    More: Interesting, literary fiction, National Book Award, social relations, empathy, romance novels, negative affect  
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3206 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Oct 2013 at 6:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



38 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-09 06:06:34 PM  
TL;DR
 
2013-10-09 06:16:35 PM  
The squiggles turn into letters which turn into words which turn into sentences which turn into phrases which turn into paragraphs which turn into stories.
 
2013-10-09 06:17:36 PM  
The greatest enemy of ignorance is a well-traveled, well-read man.
 
2013-10-09 06:26:57 PM  
They recommend "literary fiction" to improve empathy, which is why I only read Fark.
 
2013-10-09 06:32:47 PM  

Heamer: The greatest enemy of ignorance panty-dropper is a well-traveled, well-read man.


Expand your mind, gents, it pays dividends.

/Literary female vagabonds content to let ignorance slide, meantime. :)
 
2013-10-09 06:35:24 PM  
pulp fiction or non-fiction will not do.

weep
 
2013-10-09 06:35:59 PM  
The only reason I'd read a bunch of lame fiction is if I was going to go on Jeopardy. I have a wife. That's enough human connection and empathy for me. I read everyday I just prefer non-fiction.
 
2013-10-09 06:38:13 PM  
What's a book?
 
2013-10-09 06:42:57 PM  
It's always surprising to me how few people have willingly read great works like "Frankenstein", "Dante's Inferno", "Le Morte d'Arthur", "Rendezvous with Rama", etc. If you have any ability to visualize written words, hours will pass like seconds reading them.

\Can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for pounding reading into me when I was a kid
 
2013-10-09 06:46:22 PM  
This is an excellent headline.  It would be headline of the weak material if he had used DNRTFA instead.
 
2013-10-09 06:50:32 PM  
Reading makes you smart.

Or, for those who don't read -

reeding maks u smartt
 
2013-10-09 06:59:28 PM  
It improves your vocabulary and sharpens your mind.
 
2013-10-09 07:06:32 PM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: It's always surprising to me how few people have willingly read great works like "Frankenstein", "Dante's Inferno", "Le Morte d'Arthur", "Rendezvous with Rama", etc. If you have any ability to visualize written words, hours will pass like seconds reading them.

\Can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for pounding reading into me when I was a kid


Like 50 Shade Grey?
 
2013-10-09 07:13:19 PM  

devilskware: The only reason I'd read a bunch of lame fiction is if I was going to go on Jeopardy. I have a wife. That's enough human connection and empathy for me. I read everyday I just prefer non-fiction.


This right here is the original "I don't even HAVE a TV".
 
2013-10-09 07:14:13 PM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: It's always surprising to me how few people have willingly read great works like "Frankenstein", "Dante's Inferno", "Le Morte d'Arthur", "Rendezvous with Rama", etc. If you have any ability to visualize written words, hours will pass like seconds reading them.

\Can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for pounding reading into me when I was a kid


Your list is odd. Rendezvous with Rama is a fine book, but not a "classic", or even Clarke's best work. I would have gone with "Childhood's End".

/Did I just take obvious bait?
 
2013-10-09 07:19:11 PM  
i2.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-10-09 07:20:20 PM  
Sounds right to me.

BTW, if anyone is looking for that life changing work of literary fiction, Les Miserables. It's pretty much impossible to not come out of that book with a new outlook on the world. I've read a lot of other great books, but that's #1.
 
2013-10-09 07:41:41 PM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: It's always surprising to me how few people have willingly read great works like "Frankenstein", "Dante's Inferno", "Le Morte d'Arthur", "Rendezvous with Rama", etc. If you have any ability to visualize written words, hours will pass like seconds reading them.

\Can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for pounding reading into me when I was a kid


This has to be an "Are you paying attention?" test.
 
Ant
2013-10-09 07:50:01 PM  

cptjeff: Sounds right to me.

BTW, if anyone is looking for that life changing work of literary fiction, Les Miserables. It's pretty much impossible to not come out of that book with a new outlook on the world. I've read a lot of other great books, but that's #1.


I'll add that to my list. I'd say the same for The Grapes of Wrath.
 
2013-10-09 07:51:50 PM  
Meh... I'll wait for the movie to come out.

None of that 3-d crap though. I don't need the distraction... I'm trying to learn something.
 
2013-10-09 08:08:11 PM  

uncleacid: What's a book?


A miserable little pile of paper.
 
2013-10-09 08:13:16 PM  
Personally, I think reading is generally disappointing regardless of the genre, and takes up too much time for too little gain, in particular because even some of the best authors are only passable at their craft. They're also often vastly overemphasized. Too many writings, including journalism pieces, make me feel robbed, not rewarded, when I get done reading them.

Communication through writing is inherently a mercantile relationship where the reader bids a significant investment of time and patience in exchange for some modicum of enlightenment or intrigue. Instead, what is found is often diluted and overrated drivel. There are too many peddling the proverbial snake oil, in all genres, as are the very educators of literature. And the sheer bias of those encouraging literary exposure is blinding. I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill. He is only remarkable because so many other authors are so much worse at what they do. He is the Babe Ruth or the Mike Tyson of writing. He makes spectacular things happen, but doesn't often produce exceptional work. Yet the readings of Poe, vastly more talented a writer in my opinion, were fleeting and few at best.

There is further the argument that the statement of the article is without proper context, since If I find a work uninteresting or worse, poorly written, I'm probably going to give up reading the piece altogether and look elsewhere for information or amusement. Therefore, it will not matter what genre I read, because I will feel less emotionally invested with every other text in general before I even consider it. It's a stream of experiences which affect one another, not a sequence of isolated and ephemeral interactions.

This is true even of technical non-fiction pieces. As a reader, I am apt to give less merit to the entire field in general every time I encounter some documentation that is poorly organized, lacking comprehensive detail, or given with inadequate examples, is written with too technical a voice. This is not to say simply that there are not enough examples, but more commonly examples which do not well illustrate the point, and instead are a sort of robotic regurgitation of various other poor examples before them.

I also think we could sell the good works better by putting emphasis on the actual writing, as opposed to overvaluing the sheer importance of an author based on when they were born or to whom, or the genre, as if it's fair to place pieces of art into crude categories and somehow decide that some categories just aren't worth investing in. I often feel like reading is like asking someone to squeeze a lemon, and make orange juice out of the results. Readers are given falsely inflated expectations, and then it is the readers at fault when their expectations are not met, since they just didn't read the right books.

tl;dr
Studies and pieces like this just compound the problems we have with literature, and do not indicate a path of resolution, because they conflate the issues of a person not being emotionally intuitive, with simply not reading the correct literature. They also selected two horrible genres to compete with, since Romance novels are latently about sex, and since Horror is a genre where fear is the core concept. Both of these are animal behaviors we inherently depend on that practically preclude emotional investment, as they are by definition escapes from other patterns of interaction.
 
2013-10-09 08:20:01 PM  
elbows_deep_silent_queef:  ...detail, or given with inadequate examples, is written with too technical a voice.


should be "detail, given...or is written..." Also, I hope you all can appreciate the irony of my posting a saga like that and writing it so poorly. Please understand that I had to vent, as I am emotionally crippled from not reading enough "literary fiction" during my childhood.
 
2013-10-09 08:31:38 PM  

elbows_deep_silent_queef: I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill.


Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be a farking idiot with zero taste?
 
2013-10-09 08:34:24 PM  

elbows_deep_silent_queef: Personally, I think reading is generally disappointing regardless of the genre, and takes up too much time for too little gain, in particular because even some of the best authors are only passable at their craft. They're also often vastly overemphasized. Too many writings, including journalism pieces, make me feel robbed, not rewarded, when I get done reading them.

Communication through writing is inherently a mercantile relationship where the reader bids a significant investment of time and patience in exchange for some modicum of enlightenment or intrigue. Instead, what is found is often diluted and overrated drivel. There are too many peddling the proverbial snake oil, in all genres, as are the very educators of literature. And the sheer bias of those encouraging literary exposure is blinding. I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill. He is only remarkable because so many other authors are so much worse at what they do. He is the Babe Ruth or the Mike Tyson of writing. He makes spectacular things happen, but doesn't often produce exceptional work. Yet the readings of Poe, vastly more talented a writer in my opinion, were fleeting and few at best.

There is further the argument that the statement of the article is without proper context, since If I find a work uninteresting or worse, poorly written, I'm probably going to give up reading the piece altogether and look elsewhere for information or amusement. Therefore, it will not matter what genre I read, because I will feel less emotionally invested with every other text in general before I even consider it. It's a stream of experiences which affect one another, not a sequence of isolated and ephemeral interactions.

This is true even of technical non-fiction pieces. As a reader, I am apt to give less merit to the entire field in general every time I encounter some documentation that is poorly org ...


Do you have any idea how much I loathe lit-crit?
The words of every single one of the practitioners, from Foucalt through Monique Wittig (and their @#$%ing students), should be blotted from human memory.

/My personal suggestion: Paper gets pulped into insulation.
//Electronic forms are run through a twenty megawatt degausser.
///And nobody ever mentions their names again.
 
2013-10-09 09:10:44 PM  
like anybody will ever appreciate you for reading.
 
2013-10-09 10:34:06 PM  
i read books at work during my breaks.  i typically read crappy sci-fi novels or cheesy fantasy.  it's hard to read when people are talking all around me and the television in the break room is on, so i prefer to read simple books i don't have to think too much about.  but i remember i was at a previous job, and one of my coworkers said something about me being smart and i asked what they meant.  they said, "well, you must be smart because you read books."  and they weren't joking.  another time i was reading a big thick paperback (i think it was sum of all fears by tom clancy) and it had like 1100 pages.  one of my friends at work joked that he had never read that many pages in his entire life, and i'm not sure he was joking either.

tfa: What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others. .... We tend to see 'readerly' more in genre fiction like adventure, romance and thrillers, where the author dictates your experience as a reader. Literary [writerly] fiction lets you go into a new environment and you have to find your own way," Kidd said.

i can't stand reading "literary fiction" and i think this quote is bullshiat.  it doesn't even make sense.  the twilight books have "incomplete" characters, so does that make them good?  literary books don't dictate the experience?  is he talking about choose-your-own-adventure books or something?  if i'm reading moby dick, i don't get to find my own way, i'm going to read what herman melville wrote and follow the story he wants to tell.  it's no different than reading stephen king.  the difference is the quality of the writing, not the experience of the reader.  most "literary" books are terrible anyway.

i've read probably read a thousand books in my life, and the absolute worst books were "literary" ones i had to read for school.  ethan frome, native son, the deerhunter, those books gave me nightmares they were so bad.  i firmly believe that the reason most kids do not enjoy reading is because schools force them to read such awful books.  if they would let kids read harry potter more often, you'd see more children read books for their own enjoyment.
 
2013-10-09 11:15:54 PM  

Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill.

Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be a farking idiot with zero taste?


Yes. Thanks for reminding me that the answer is simply that I'm stupid. Though, in all honesty, it's quite likely that I have no taste because I'm cynical. Thanks for your honest contribution, nonetheless.
 
2013-10-09 11:27:10 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: elbows_deep_silent_queef: Do you have any idea how much I loathe lit-crit?


It's reasonable to. I spent way more effort criticizing literature in general than some put into decent short pieces. On the other hand, this is Fark, and the point of basically every thread is to troll, flame, and just generally be an asshole, from what I can tell. Still, your point is entirely valid, and much appreciated, although I would assert that the notion that we shouldn't criticize literature is as excessive as the notion that it's okay to go overboard in doing so. Without any critique at all, how can one really have the building blocks to progress? Though, this is obviously more true of accepting criticism than giving it.
 
2013-10-09 11:29:59 PM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: It's always surprising to me how few people have willingly read great works like "Frankenstein", "Dante's Inferno", "Le Morte d'Arthur", "Rendezvous with Rama", etc. If you have any ability to visualize written words, hours will pass like seconds reading them.

\Can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for pounding reading into me when I was a kid


I just read "The Last Temptation".  It was farking awesome.
 
2013-10-09 11:38:21 PM  

elbows_deep_silent_queef: demaL-demaL-yeH: elbows_deep_silent_queef: Do you have any idea how much I loathe lit-crit?

It's reasonable to. I spent way more effort criticizing literature in general than some put into decent short pieces. On the other hand, this is Fark, and the point of basically every thread is to troll, flame, and just generally be an asshole, from what I can tell. Still, your point is entirely valid, and much appreciated, although I would assert that the notion that we shouldn't criticize literature is as excessive as the notion that it's okay to go overboard in doing so. Without any critique at all, how can one really have the building blocks to progress? Though, this is obviously more true of accepting criticism than giving it.


Did you happen to notice which specific strand of critique I targeted for my ire?
 
2013-10-09 11:42:11 PM  
The Yoni test? OK, I'm ready, let's see what you got.

And on a serious note, I'd like to throw The Last of the Just and Riddley Walker into the mix, to go with A Canticle for Leibowitz from a while back.
 
2013-10-09 11:46:26 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: elbows_deep_silent_queef: demaL-demaL-yeH: elbows_deep_silent_queef: Do you have any idea how much I loathe lit-crit?

It's reasonable to. I spent way more effort criticizing literature in general than some put into decent short pieces. On the other hand, this is Fark, and the point of basically every thread is to troll, flame, and just generally be an asshole, from what I can tell. Still, your point is entirely valid, and much appreciated, although I would assert that the notion that we shouldn't criticize literature is as excessive as the notion that it's okay to go overboard in doing so. Without any critique at all, how can one really have the building blocks to progress? Though, this is obviously more true of accepting criticism than giving it.

Did you happen to notice which specific strand of critique I targeted for my ire?


I don't really care who specifically invokes your ire. It's irritating to you and for good reason. That's satisfying enough.
 
2013-10-10 01:10:00 AM  

elbows_deep_silent_queef: Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill.

Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be a farking idiot with zero taste?

Yes. Thanks for reminding me that the answer is simply that I'm stupid. Though, in all honesty, it's quite likely that I have no taste because I'm cynical. Thanks for your honest contribution, nonetheless.


I'm glad I could help!

If you just said that you personally disliked Shakespeare that would at least be a subjective position (albeit one that would put you at odds with the vast majority of people with any interest in English Literature), but saying you believe Shakespeare is a mediocre writer... It's like saying Einstein was a mediocre physicist. His work has directly or indirectly informed the work of every single great writer since. It is as objectively wrong as an opinion can be, and you're either a tasteless idiot or an attention-seeking liar for saying it.
 
2013-10-10 01:15:49 AM  

Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: I'm disgusted with how much Shakespeare that I've had to read, as if he is somehow the hero gallant of all of literary art. He is mediocre and of humble skill.

Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be a farking idiot with zero taste?

Yes. Thanks for reminding me that the answer is simply that I'm stupid. Though, in all honesty, it's quite likely that I have no taste because I'm cynical. Thanks for your honest contribution, nonetheless.

I'm glad I could help!

If you just said that you personally disliked Shakespeare that would at least be a subjective position (albeit one that would put you at odds with the vast majority of people with any interest in English Literature), but saying you believe Shakespeare is a mediocre writer... It's like saying Einstein was a mediocre physicist. His work has directly or indirectly informed the work of every single great writer since. It is as objectively wrong as an opinion can be, and you're either a tasteless idiot or an attention-seeking liar for saying it.


"Everybody says Shakespeare's so great. Well, how come nobody's ever heard of him? Hell, I'll write 'cha a play! All you need is a silly old king's hat, and some fancy sissy clothes out of your sister's drawers, and ya get up on the stage, and ya go nuts!"
 
2013-10-10 05:56:35 AM  

Spartapuss: pulp fiction or non-fiction will not do.

weep


testers fail to realize Dickens was pop-fiction in its day.
 
2013-10-10 11:15:19 AM  
Reading Fark males me a better person? Who knew?!
 
2013-10-10 09:41:00 PM  

Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: Gunther: elbows_deep_silent_queef: ...you're either a tasteless idiot or an attention-seeking liar for saying it.


Perhaps I was stating an opinion of mine, and did so poorly because of how terribly I use the language. In any case, it is true I could have been more courteous. Still, I think you're about par for calling me a tasteless idiot. Also, the argument that because he had influence, he was good at what he did, is a blatant fallacy. Hitler was by that logic a fantastic leader. Less sensationally, many people in life have influenced by demonstrating a way of doing things not in agreement with that of another. Also, to state things clearly, Shakespeare was fairly good, just not great. I wish people would acknowledge the very relativity that Einstein spoke of: that all concepts as understood by a human observer are subjectively understood by comparing them to all others. (relatively)

By the by, the true joy of reading a Shakespeare piece comes from not taking it so excessively seriously, for he was fairly obviously a comedian at heart. I just found it a great example, since he has such loyal fans that some of those very fans don't even seem to understand why he is great, and simply seem to defend his work to the hilt. Yes, it's true that he's a classic and the work is sort of refreshing. What's not true is that it's fantastic and worthy of worship. You may, and probably do, appreciate his work even more than I do, and be defending it for good reason. You have every right to. I am sorry if I made you feel like I was challenging that right, but I won't apologize for having the backbone to have an opinion, especially on Fark.
 
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