Weekend Reading: November 2016

Weekend Reading: November 2016

Looking for something to read this weekend? We’ve scoured the web for thought-provoking articles, essays and the occasional video. Enjoy!

Writing about reading and empathy for The Wall Street Journal, Susan Pinker surveys a number of studies investigating the link between them:

“We’ve long known about the collateral benefits of habitual reading – richer vocabulary, for example. But that’s only part of the picture. Mounting evidence over the past decade suggests that the mental calisthenics required to live inside a fictional character’s skin foster empathy for the people you meet day-to-day.”

But what about nonfiction? While not all nonfiction seems to provoke empathy for others, narrative nonfiction can “as long as the narrative is moving and transformative.” Pair her essay with Emily VanDette’s blog entry on how reading and discussion is a perfect recipe for bridging cultural divides.

Elsewhere On the Internet:

A new “support system for jailed Veterans transitioning back to society” – we’re proud to be working with them in the coming weeks.

A good argument for broadening your reading list.

“When we are engaged and moved by an artwork, it’s almost like we find ourselves.”

One rural Afghan village opened its first school for girls – “a safe space for equal education.”

Speaking of reading new books, here are four works of Chinese science fiction worth reading.

The world is getting better, little by little.

How a library can save a life.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with French Novels, 1887, The Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How Reading Fiction Increases Our Capacity for Empathy
Learning From Our Differences: Talking About Nervous Conditions
Just Listen: A Simple Tool for Minimizing Bias and Transforming Relationships

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Cecily Erin Hill

Cecily Erin Hill

Cecily Hill is the Project Director, NEH for All at the National Humanities Alliance and former member of the Books@Work team.