Category Archives: spywriter

Read to Promote Self to the World

“Reading books is a resourceful method to gaining indispensable knowledge that is crucial to promoting oneself in the world. Reading constantly supplies the brain with new information, such as vocabulary expansion and improved writing skills. The ability to be lucid and articulate is an advantage in any profession, and those skills will effectually enhance your writing abilities.”

“Reading has a positive connotation associated with it and is also inherently seen at a higher, more intelligent level than watching television, playing video games and engaging in other forms of technology.”

“The Harvard Business Review found that those who read often demonstrated high verbal intelligence, innovation and were more likely to be leaders. Furthermore, studies show reading makes people more effective communicators and fosters more empathy.”

“Reading can also make you more effective in leading others. Reading increases verbal intelligence), making a leader a more articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others.”

From: m.kaleo.org/opinion/why-we-do-not-read-books/article_f69d579a-c137-11e3-a580-001a4bcf6878.html

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Why Read Books in Translation

“Sure, I’d dabbled in some Kafka and Garcia Marquez, but those were acclaimed writers who’d, deservedly, long been translated to English and had earned their proper due. Bolaño was my introduction, or perhaps initiation, to the canon of international literature. Naturally, I came to wonder: What else have I not been exposed to?”

“Do other Americans ask themselves similar questions when stumbling upon the work of gifted international writers? Or are the majority of us content with being fascinated by our own nation’s mythology? These questions are worthy of our pondering. In my case, it was an issue of broadening a somewhat narrow worldview. And literature from countries outside of my own, from Chile and France and Japan and Russia, began the work of providing a more holistic education­—one concerned with making sense of the entire world, not just a small portion.”

“It’s simple, really. If we’re only paying mind to the storytellers of our own country, we’re robbing ourselves blind of something rich and meaningful.”

From: prospect.org/article/why-reading-globally-matters

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Reading is a Gift from Heaven

“With not one person to find refuge, I took shelter in books. Reading takes you away from harsh reality and transports you to a better universe — a universe that makes you forget about your own problems and care only for the characters the author created.

Reading makes you realize that you aren’t the only person with a lot on their plate. Reading makes you feel like you’re not alone. Like you’re not alien.

Reading lets you know that the world isn’t so harsh. People who live in this sometimes-cruel-yet-beautiful world crafted those stories and made their own worlds into heavens.

Reading is a gift. A present. A token of love from the heavens above

Reading is a teacher, better than any teacher across this giant, unknown world.

Reading teaches you lessons about love, life, friendship, death, fear, society, anything. Reading and the universes inside those books teach you the morals you swear to live by.”

More from: touch.mcall.com/#story/mc-books-national-library-week-johnson-ithink-0404-20140403/

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The novel will survive criticism

“The novel, more than any other genre, is capable of containing large, developed, consistent images of people, and this is one of the reasons that anyone reads novels. The novel [...] can give form to a set of attitudes regarding society, history, and the general culture of which the novel is a part, and this too is a reason for reading novels. But the criticism which results from this motive runs the danger of treating fiction as a document, evaluating it less as art than as culture exhibit and ideological force.”

“It is difficult to think of another area in which the same assumptions have any currency, assumptions which imply that to describe, to define, and to generalize are somehow to sap the vitality of the subject. It is difficult to think of another area in which they are less appropriate. The novel is rich enough and intricate enough as a genre to demand the combined insights of formalist criticism and cultural history in understanding its tradition, and it is vital enough to survive any amount of theory or criticism, even if that criticism is badly done.”

From: sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=59080

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Novels as Weapons of Propaganda

“During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature”…

“Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.”

Doctor Zhivago, “The book, by poet Boris Pasternak, had been banned from publication in the Soviet Union. The British were suggesting that the CIA get copies of the novel behind the Iron Curtain. The idea immediately gained traction in Washington.”

“The newly disclosed documents, however, indicate that the operation to publish the book was run by the CIA’s Soviet Russia Division, monitored by CIA Director Allen Dulles and sanctioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Operations Coordinating Board, which reported to the National Security Council at the White House. The OCB, which oversaw covert activities, gave the CIA exclusive control over the novel’s “exploitation.”

“The “hand of the United States government” was “not to be shown in any manner,” according to the records.”

Read more: http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/during-cold-war-cia-used-doctor-zhivago-as-a-tool-to-undermine-soviet-union/2014/04/05/2ef3d9c6-b9ee-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html

To be sure the CIA has its tentacles in the American publishing world, too: http://spywriter.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/the-cia-ideology-and-american-literature/

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Fly me to the Moon

“I’m never going to live on the moon, I’m never going to be flying. I’m not going to be a dragon, and yet when I’m reading I explore those lives of other people and do these things in my mind and be exposed to other people’s ideas a lot more than any other medium.”

“I think everyone should grow up reading books … Stories and books, they kind of normalize what being human is.”

“Reading exposes one to different points of view and enriches life”

“I think reading makes me a better kind of person, because when you watch TV, you see what people do …  When you read, you know why people do it.”

From: http://m.news.hjnews.com/bridgerland/for-love-of-books-exhibiting-affection-for-reading/article_a8c8f732-b902-11e3-974d-001a4bcf887a.html?mode=jqm

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Novels Are a Step up the Leadership Ladder

“Some studies suggest that one of the reasons senior executives read is to provide relief from the solitude of being at the top. According to a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis: “We read to learn that we are not alone”.

“If you allow me to suggest just one takeaway from this post: reading literature –the classics, drama, novels, poetry- will help you to learn more about the world, about human nature, about how human beings interact in society and in work. Reading literature may help you to become a better manager.”

From: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140331133413-557690-does-reading-literature-enhance-leadership?_mSplash=1

Writers for the Revolution

…”what a work of art must do. And that is to tell the truth in a way that raises the intellectual, spiritual and emotional capabilities of their audiences. It need not be the literal truth; it can be a deeper one that lies at the core of the human heart.”

“Poetry, according to T.S. Eliot, “in proportion to its excellence and vigor, affects the speech and sensibility of a whole nation.”

“That’s true not only of poetry but all the literary arts: poetry, fiction, drama.”

“They can enhance our perception of our social milieu — what that milieu actually is and what it can and should be. Thus literature becomes a force for political development and reform. And if the writer perceives that his social milieu requires not just reform but a revolution, then the writer must harp on the need for a full-blown revolution.”

From: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/el-indio-telling-truth/

Abandon Politics to Release Your Inner Artist

“There is a serious academic contention that one of the reasons that Russia produced so many brilliant writers during the nineteenth century was that the structure of government (under a centralising Tsar, with an oppressive and tight circle of advisors) denied most young men, even the well-connected like (Count) Tolstoy, any hope of a career in politics. Thus the creativity that might have gone in to policy-making and progressive political change instead went into literature, as a (relatively safe) space where political and social ideas could be explored, without too much interference from the censors. If nothing else, a return to the text might provide better outcomes than a resort to war. Defend the study of arts and humanities – it is the ‘finding place’ for the complicated, messy and dangerous world that we all have to inhabit together.”

From: http://shiftinggrounds.org/2014/03/a-message-from-sebastapol/

Cold War and the Battle of the Pens

“Were there similarities between the literature on both sides of the Iron Curtain?”

“Definitely. And the phrase itself is an interesting place to start. It is commonly assumed that the term was first used by Winston Churchill in a speech in Fulton, Missouri on March 5th 1946, but in Patrick Wright’s book “Iron Curtain” (2009) he traces the origin to 18th-century theatre. The iron curtain was a safety curtain that came down between the stage and the audience in case of fire. It was the divide between stage and audience and the whole political rhetoric of cold-war literature and its narrative discourse was marked by this profound opposition between self and other, good and evil, democracy and tyranny.”

“The idea of theatricality was the very essence of cold-war literature and discourse—the manipulation of language and information, the difference between appearance and reality, and the way the information was projected to the audience didn’t necessarily have roots in reality.”

[...]

“There wasn’t a definitive “end of cold war” response in Soviet literature because the dissident literature, samizdat (self-published) and tamizdat (published over there), proliferated gradually. In the 1980s the Western spy novels all featured good guys from the West and bad guys from the East and they were still very popular. Margaret Thatcher read Frederick Forsyth’s “The Fourth Protocol” (1984) four times. But by this time there was also a huge influx of “real” fiction, serious literature reflecting on the reasons for the cold war and near nuclear disaster, the metaphysical opposition of East and West—post-modernism. This was a natural response to the cold-war situation, given the manipulation of language and the pervading atmosphere of counter-intelligence.”

Read More: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/03/quick-study-olga-sobolev-cold-war-literature