Reading in the News

Fiction Therapy
In the Guardian a writer pays tribute to Saul Bellow’s Herzog for helping him to read his way out of depression. He says “…the novel made it possible for him to “momentarily forget my own problems and lose myself completely in the richly detailed and beautifully rendered world of the novel. I cannot describe the feeling of calm-amid-the chaos that this generated…”

Re-Reading Books
Stefanie Hollmichel on her blog So Many Books describes the pleasures of re-reading old books. An essay by William Hazlitt put her in the mood pick up her favorite books once again. She says, “When you know what to expect you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Unlike reading a new book you don’t have to figure out what is going on, who the characters are and what relationships they have. You know this so don’t have to puzzle it out. You are free to attend to other elements of the story.”

Renting Books
On The Huffington Post David Colbert wonders if we might begin to see the return of book rental programs as the cost of purchasing new books becomes increasingly expensive. “There'd be nothing new about it. In the 1930s, before the modern era of paperbacks, the U.S. had maybe fifty thousand rental libraries of one kind or another. Many bookstores also rented books, as did general stores. Drugstores were another common outlet.”

Book Memories
Over the years I have read so many books and confess that I have forgotten all too many of them. And then once in a while a passage or a scene or indeed the story itself drifts into my mind in a way that completely baffles me. In the Guardian Evan Maloney wonders “…why do I remember scenes from some books so well, as if they were real-life experiences rather than sequences of symbols on a page, and why do I finish other books and forget them entirely?”

Getting Kids to Read
Are you worried that kids don’t read anymore? Kathy Ceceri at Wired reports that she has the solution--comic books. “It seems like a parent’s dream: a comic book based on classic plays and books. This dream has become a reality with the new book Masterpiece Comics. Masterpiece Comics… a mixture of classic comics like Blonde and Little Lulu and classic literature like Macbeth and Crime and Punishment.”

Make a List
In his recent book, The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande suggests that the systematic application of the simple checklist “…can help us manage the extreme complexity of the modern world…Failure results not so much from ignorance (not knowing enough about what works) as from ineptitude (not properly applying what we know works).” Strange as it may seem, he demonstrates how often doctors makes mistakes that are easily avoided by working through the essential tasks on a checklist.