The Case for Preserving the Pleasure of Deep Reading
Which is why we should care about the survival of a human treasure threatened right here at home: the deep reader. “Deep reading”—as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the web—is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. Its disappearance would imperil the intellectual and emotional development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them.
Recent research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that deep reading—slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity—is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words.
Novelist Patrick McGrath on Writing, Setting, and Psychology
His latest novel focuses on Constance Schulyer, a chilly woman in 1960s New York who marries early, and is troubled often. Her new husband, Sidney Klein--a professor of romantic poetry--has great hopes for Constance and revels in the opportunity to "improve her," and his marital track record. But with a disclosure from her father that confirms Constance's deep, longstanding fears, the façade of careful grace built in opposition to her family begins to fracture, along with her delicate psyche.
While certainly not a disaster, Baz Lurhrmann's opulent adaptation begins to look and feel like something grand and profound, before transforming into a decidedly unthoughtful stagger through familiar territory.
Psychoanalysis and storytelling have a rich history. “I begin the treatment, indeed, by asking the patient to give me the whole story of his life and illness,” Freud writes in his famous case study of “Dora” in 1905. It is a method reiterated by Grosz in his book, where he declares, “I believe that all of us try to make sense of our lives by telling our stories.” Back in 1962, in an introduction to the “Dora” case, Philip Reiff argued that the case study was a distinct literary genre, a line of argument that was then taken up by literary critics like Steven Marcus and Peter Brooks in the 1980s and ’90s. Marcus, for example, argued that Freud was an unwitting modernist master and “Dora” “a great work of literature.” Grosz mentions the “slight embarrassment” that clinicians feel about this emphasis on the rather unscientific element of psychoanalysis. Yet despite a lifetime of clinical work, he actually errs on the side of literature. “Anything that can be written up theoretically in a technical paper can be told better in a story,” he says. “It’s a better way of communicating.”
This afternoon someone emailed me asking for some suggestions for tools for creating book trailer videos. It has been two years since I last wrote about the topic so I created a new list of tools for creating book trailers. Book trailers are short videos designed to spark a viewer's interest in a book. Having students create book trailers is an excellent alternative to traditional book report projects. A great place to find examples of book trailers is Book Trailers for Readers.
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