“Reading fiction, the researchers found, provides a chance to think things through “without concern for urgency” and lets readers think in ways not their own.
Reading, especially the reading of great literature, said Michael Sexson, MSU emeritus Regents Professor in English, is a kind of cure for the attention deficit disorder that seems to afflict everyone in our society, including himself.
“I’m not a Luddite by any means,” said the veteran professor and devoted tablet user. “I’m fascinated by technologies, in particular, communicative technologies.
“At the same time, I don’t think it’s amiss to be severely critical of the ways in which electronic technologies have provided us with so many more options than we’ve ever had before, to the point that these options become the choices of distractions.”
The kind of deep involvement, concentration and the ability to be informed on a productive level are, in his view, largely the result of reading books.”
“A new study by the UK’s Department for Culture Media and Sport shows that people can be just as happy going to the library as getting a £1,359 ($2,282) pay rise. The study, which examined the way in which our cultural engagement can affect overall wellbeing, found that frequent trips to the library gave us a similar feeling of wellbeing to things like the prospect of a pay rise, dancing, swimming and going to theater shows.
It’s unclear whether happy people go to the library or whether the library actually makes people happy. Either way though, it seems the library is where the happy people are at. Given that the UK, like the U.S., has seen many of its libraries closed over the past few years, perhaps this research should prompt a rethink about the worth of our libraries.”
More ways books make our lives better:
“According to psychologists, there are two types of mindsets in the world; one, fixed and the other, growth. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities are all pre-determined and they tend to live proving their stagnant beliefs instead of disapproving or building the possibility for a positive change in their talents, behaviours or attitudes. A growth mindset is one that accepts failures as well as challenges without losing hope. It believes that intelligence is not decided at birth but cultivated over time.”
Reading books opens minds.
More on the mamy benefits of reading, including weight loss, creativity, mind flexibility: http://www.onlymyhealth.com/reading-reduces-waistline-no-kidding-1397729297
A Harvard Professor teaches MBA students how to become moral leaders, and finds lessons in literature:
“the understanding of what makes a good leader starts with searching for truth in works of fiction.”
“It takes something really big to shape somebody … The reason literature can have that influence–these books kind of get under peoples’ skin.”
“Because you read these books, and you might see one of these characters and think, ‘That’s me.”
“I think what you get from serious literature is a warts-and-all view of people and people in leadership positions … In other words, the authors can be basically unsparing. The good stuff and bad stuff and the confused stuff going over (the characters’) heads, it’s all there. You can see it and learn from how these characters made decisions.”
“This course is intensely practical, if the term practical is understood to include preparation for living a morally responsible life … One of the goals of this course is to move you beyond your immediate reactions in challenging situations toward a more considered and analytical approach to moral and ethical decision-making.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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/
“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.”
“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/
“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.”