Do Books Help Us Accept Others?

Do Books Help Us Accept Others?

In a recent interview published in the New York Times Magazine, editor Joel Lovell made a trip to Syracuse, New York to meet with the much acclaimed novelist and short story writer George Saunders. The article’s title, “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You Will Read This Year” sums up the basic tenor of the piece: a reverent ode to Saunders’ talent and success. Saunders’ work is a bizarre mix of nerdy science fiction à la Kurt Vonnegut and trendy post-modernism in the style of Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace. The article is peppered with conversations about death, capitalism and the negative effects of western society. To end, however, Lovell writes, “The last time we met, Saunders waited in the cold with me until the bus for New York came along. We were talking about the idea of abiding, of the way that you can help people flourish just by withholding judgment, if you open yourself up to their possibilities, as Saunders put it, just as you would open yourself up to a story’s possibilities.” Suddenly any conversation over the evils of free market economy is erased. The ending refocuses Saunders at the very base of his craft and reveals that, beneath whatever the trend of the day is, fiction has, and continues to, concern itself with the basic question of empathy.

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How Does Reading Affect the Brain?

How Does Reading Affect the Brain?

There is nothing quite as engaging as getting lost in a good book. We talk about becoming one with the characters, absorbed in the story – even feeling an odd sense of loss when we have finished the book and our lives move on. As we absorb ourselves in the story, what is really happening inside our brains?

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Welcome to the Books@Work Blog

Welcome to the Books@Work Blog! In this space, we share news of the program and its development, as well as interesting thoughts and ideas at the intersection of workplace learning, critical thinking and lifelong personal growth. Highlighting interesting research, relevant news, issues and insights, we seek to inspire debate and discussion with our weekly posts. Featuring our own thoughts as well as the ideas of a variety of interested contributors, we aim to become an important source of food for thought! Please let us know how we are doing!  

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