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Why Do We Read Fiction?

I often hear people say that they struggle to appreciate fiction. Life is short, and they’d rather spend their time on books that are more informative or useful.

Escapism

In his famous An Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis offered some powerful reflections on why we read fiction. For him, it ultimately comes down to the idea that fiction allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Although much of what he says applies to all kinds of reading–after all, any time I read someone else’s words I’m trying to see the world from their perspective–he argues that fiction does this in uniquely powerful ways. Fiction shows us a world, it doesn’t just tell us about one. And, as a result, fiction shapes us in ways that no other kinds of reading can. I wrestled with this a bit in 6 Reasons you Should Waste Your Time Reading Fiction. But Lewis does it so much better.

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The Effect the Internet Has on Memory

Is Belief in God Essential to Morality?

An interesting new survey from the Pew Research Center shows what people around the world think about whether belief in God is essential to morality. The variations between counties and continents is fascinating.

belief in god morality

10 Reasons People Prefer Paper Books Over Ebooks

I have to admit that although I read digital books regularly, I still prefer paper over digital and will almost always buy the paper version of a book if the price is comparable. And apparently I’m not alone. Although a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that E-reading continues to grow in popularity, it also shows that most Americans still prefer paper over digital. And according to this infographic from The Digital Reader, here are ten reasons why.

why choose a paper book

The High Cost of Multitasking (infographic)

This is geared for the business world, but it has clear implications for students as well. Multitasking in class (e.g. texting, Facebook) may seem like a great way to maximize your time, but notice the bit about how multitasking actually lowers your IQ. I could be wrong, but sacrificing IQ in the middle of a class seems like a bad idea.

Multitasking

via Christianity Today

America’s Growing Religious Diversity (infographic)

Here’s an interesting infographic from the Public Religion Research Institute (no idea what that is, but it has a very official-sounding name) that breaks down America’s religious affiliations by age group.

I have to admit, though, that I’m a little skeptical on the size of the “Unaffiliated” group among younger Americans. I wonder if there’s a possibility that reflects more an unwillingness to self-identify with a particular group rather than a reflection of religious practice in general. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the results of at least one survey.

relisious diversity by age

Books Aren’t Dead, And Neither Is Paper

Do you remember when people said that computers would end the age of paper? Everything would go digital and those heaps of paper on your desk would disappear. How did that work out for you? Now many are saying the same thing about books. After all, when digital music became popular, it took over the business, almost completely destroying other media. So the same will probably happen with physical books, right?

Once again, we may be surprised. Here’s an infographic pointing out some important differences between the music and book industries, differences that suggest the printed book may still be around for the long haul. (HT Justin Taylor)

And once you’ve checked out the infographic, scroll down for a couple of humorous videos arguing that there still a role for paper in general. Although tablets might be able to do some things better than paper, there are still at least a few areas where you really should use paper. (HT James McGrath)

book-not-dead-560x2313

And here are the videos on the dangers of a truly paperless society.

 

More Surprising Book Facts

Yesterday I posted an infographic about the reading habits of Americans after high school college. I mentioned in my post that it was interesting “if the stats in the infographic are correct,” which is a needed caveat for these notoriously unreliable infographics. And several people did question whether these stats could possibly be correct. So I looked into them a bit more, which didn’t take long since the infographic’s own creator has updated information on his blog.

The short version is that the stats in the infographic are not as authoritative as they appear, but they still reflect an interesting perspective on the state of reading in America. Here are the facts:

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Surprising Book Facts

I remember being surprised the first time I ran across someone who told me that he hadn’t read an entire book since he finished college. It took me a while to wrap my head around that one, but I’ve discovered since that this isn’t terribly uncommon. And, if the stats in this infographic are correct, not always a safe assumption, it’s even more common that I thought.

surprising book facts

 

Favorite Albums of 2013

I am running a little behind on getting my “favorites” out there, but it’s still 2013, right? Anyway, I’m not sure if anyone cares what a theologian’s favorite albums are. But every year I enjoy looking back and trying to figure out which albums stood out the most.

Keep in mind that I’m not saying these are the “best,” just my personal favorites. And no comments about the genres in which I placed various groups. Some groups are a pain to pin down, and musical genres are notoriously ill-defined anyway.

And if you’re a music fan, let me know if there’s an album you loved that isn’t on the list. I’m always on the lookout for something new.

Favorite Overall Album

loud city songJulie Holter, Loud City Song

This was also one of my go-to albums for writing music this year. Lots of twists and turns to keep it interesting, but mellow enough to have in the background while I’m reading, taking notes, or banging away on the keyboard. I’ll be listening to this one for a while yet.

  • Runner Up: The National, Trouble Will Find Me
  • Honorable Mentions: Phosphorescent, Jason Isbell, Lucius, Alice Smith, Vampire Weekend, Neko Case

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