People who read books tend to be nicer than those who don’t – [Study]

Culture | Books | Reading

By Adam Boult 8 May 2017

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Reading: pretty good, apparently Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Does reading books make you a nicer person? Or are nicer people more likely to be drawn to reading?

A recent study by researchers at Kingston University found that people who read works of fiction tend to be kinder and more empathetic.

“Exposure to fiction relates to a range of empathetic abilities,” said researchers, who addressed the British Psychological Society conference in Brighton last week. Read more…

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Is the future going out of print? Why we’re confident books will survive the digital age

Robert Fulford | June 6, 2016 2:59 PM ET

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Mikael Damkier/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The philosopher Francis Bacon, looking out at the future from his vantage point in the English 17th century, said that everyone should consider the effect of three inventions that were unknown in ancient times: Printing, gunpowder and the compass. “These three have changed the appearance and state of the whole world.”

Printing was the innovation Bacon put first, and the one that concerns us most in 2016. Printing made the modern era possible by disseminating the books that opened new ways of thinking and encouraged new human aspirations. Under the influence of printing, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and modern science all sprang to life. It was a revolution – “the Unacknowledged Revolution,” as one modern historian called it because (despite Bacon) most of the world didn’t understand what was happening.

Today, on the other hand, we know the change that confronts us. The printing era shows signs of coming to an end. Bookstores everywhere are closing down because many people prefer to read books in digital form or perhaps prefer not to read. What is at stake? Literacy, literature and the culture of books, with its vast libraries and its flourishing (but often unprofitable) publishers. All of it is in danger. Read more…

 

How To Spring Clean Your Goodreads TBR Pile by Amanda Diehl

 

Spring cleaning is a necessary evil, regardless of whether you’re pruning your bookshelves or something more digital. I was sitting in bed with my boyfriend last week, our laptops open and Goodreads up in our browsers. I was aghast to see that my boyfriend’s to-be-read (TBR) list only had ten books on it. TEN?! Bro, do you even read?

But then he looks over at mine, a digital TBR pile of 1200-plus books. And he scoffed, “Like you’re ever going to read all of those.”

Days later, I was still thinking about that statement. He was right; don’t tell him. I knew something had to be done, so I set to reducing my TBR list as quickly and efficiently as possible. Using Goodreads’ batch edit feature, I can select the books I want to change, then remove them in one click.

Here’s the criteria I used to whittle down my TBR shelf on Goodreads. Feel free to use all of them or just a few according to your reading tastes:

Don’t think about it too hard

This isn’t necessarily some “spark joy” type deal, but I wanted this to be quick. I’m a busy woman with things to do! If you can’t remember the plot of the book or any other details upon reading the title or why you added it in the first place, odds are you won’t miss it if you take it off your list. It’ll be okay! Read more…

 

The Life of a Cultural Historian November 25, 2015

English Literature Professor Manfred Weidhorn Reflects on 52 Year Career at Yeshiva University

Since 1963, Yeshiva University students looking for an engaging encounter with English literature have been able to find courses taught by Dr. Manfred Weidhorn, the Abraham and Irene Guterman Chair in English Literature and professor emeritus of English, on the roster.

20151119_Manfred_Weidhorn_020An immigrant from Vienna who earned his PhD in English at Columbia University, Weidhorn is a prolific scholar and writer whose works include a dozen non-fiction books and over a hundreds essays on Shakespeare, Milton, Winston Churchill, Galileo, literary themes, cultural history, and the relationship between religion and science, in addition to young adult biographies of Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, and Jackie Robinson. At Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, he has taught classes on topics that range from the Russian short novel to the Scientific Revolution and everything in between, encouraging students to approach each topic in new and sometimes unconventional ways.

Read more…

Reinventing the library by Alberto Manguel

The Oberlausitzische Library of Sciences in Gorlitz, Germany. Credit Florian Monheim/Arcaid via Corbis

Plato, in the “Timaeus,” says that when one of the wisest men of Greece, the statesman Solon, visited Egypt, he was told by an old priest that the Greeks were like mere children because they possessed no truly ancient traditions or notions “gray with time.” In Egypt, the priest continued proudly, “there is nothing great or beautiful or remarkable that is done here, or in your country, or in any other land that has not been long since put into writing and preserved in our temples.”

Such colossal ambition coalesced under the Ptolemaic dynasty. In the third century B.C., more than half a century after Plato wrote his dialogues, the kings ordered that every book in the known world be collected and placed in the great library they had founded in Alexandria. Hardly anything is known of it except its fame: neither its site (it was perhaps a section of the House of the Muses) nor how it was used, nor even how it came to its end. Yet, as one of history’s most distinguished ghosts, the Library of Alexandria became the archetype of all libraries.

Libraries come in countless shapes and sizes. They can be like the Library of Congress or as modest as that of the children’s concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the older girls were in charge of eight volumes that had to be hidden every night so that the Nazi guards wouldn’t confiscate them. They can be built from books found in the garbage, like the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., set up in 1980 by the 24-year-old Aaron Lansky from volumes discarded by the younger generations who no longer spoke the tongue of their elders, or they can be catalogued in the mind of their exiled readers, in the hope of resurrection, like the libraries plundered by the Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories of Palestine. It is in the nature of libraries to adapt to changing circumstances and threats, and all libraries exist in constant danger of being destroyed by war, vermin, fire, water or the idiocies of bureaucracy.

Read more: http://nyti.ms/1R0E2G8

Joe Queenan: My 6,128 Favorite Books – WSJ.com

By JOE QUEENAN

I started borrowing books from a roving Quaker City bookmobile when I was 7 years old. Things quickly got out of hand. Before I knew it I was borrowing every book about the Romans, every book about the Apaches, every book about the spindly third-string quarterback who comes off the bench in the fourth quarter to bail out his team. I had no way of knowing it at the time, but what started out as a harmless juvenile pastime soon turned into a lifelong personality disorder.

[image] Thomas Allen

If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it’s probably because at some level you find “reality” a bit of a disappointment.

Fifty-five years later, with at least 6,128 books under my belt, I still organize my daily life—such as it is—around reading. As a result, decades go by without my windows getting washed.

My reading habits sometimes get a bit loopy. I often read dozens of books simultaneously. I start a book in 1978 and finish it 34 years later, without enjoying a single minute of the enterprise. I absolutely refuse to read books that critics describe as “luminous” or “incandescent.” I never read books in which the hero went to private school or roots for the New York Yankees. I once spent a year reading nothing but short books. I spent another year vowing to read nothing but books I picked off the library shelves with my eyes closed. The results were not pretty. Read more…

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