Saturday, March 31, 2012

via Maestro Flatt

Regarding Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony: "The 'storm' isn't about the weather."

--as quoted by Maestro Flatt at 3/30/12 Denver philharmonic concert

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Annie Murphy Paul

It [reading fiction] is an exercise that hones our real-life social skills.... [I]ndividuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels. A 2010 study...found a similar result in preschool-age children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their theory of mind.

Fiction, Dr. Oatley notes, “is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life.”

These findings will affirm the experience of readers who have felt illuminated and instructed by a novel, who have found themselves comparing a plucky young woman to Elizabeth Bennet or a tiresome pedant to Edward Casaubon. Reading great literature, it has long been averred, enlarges and improves us as human beings. Brain science shows this claim is truer than we imagined.

--"Your Brain on Fiction," New York Times, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kahlil Gibran

Hate is a dead thing. Who of you would be a tomb?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ring Lardner

He looked at me as if I were a side dish he hadn't ordered.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bill Watterson

A day can really slip by when you're deliberately avoiding what you're supposed to do.