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A place to learn, mingle, and share

This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."

Saint Peter's Square was created so that more people could be in the presence of the Pope and was named after Saint Peter, one of Jesus's apostles.
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May 17th 2013 new
(quote) Felicity-929402 said: As soon as I saw the topic that's exactly what I thought! I know someone who scoffs at 'pleasure' reading, but you know- he can't scoff at my English grades and abilities! :p
Hi Felicity,

Thanks for adding your take on this issue.

I am one who thought that non-fiction was better than fiction, which is somewhat like, but not the fully the same as, thinking that useful reading is better than pleasure reading. The explanation that made the case for the superiority of very good or great fiction over very good or great non-fiction was that the former usually engaged more of our faculties more deeply. An overly simplified way of saying this is that fiction engages our physical sense, our imagination, our emotions and our intellect while non-fiction does little beyond engaging our intellect. Remember that is an oversimplification of something whose fully explanation is beyond my ken.

I think that there may be a case for thinking less of some kinds of fiction that provide pleasure without also offering some deeper insights into the human condition.
May 17th 2013 new
(quote) John-184825 said: Hi Felicity,

Thanks for adding your take on this issue.

I am one who thought that non-fiction was better than fiction, which is somewhat like, but not the fully the same as, thinking that useful reading is better than pleasure reading. The explanation that made the case for the superiority of very good or great fiction over very good or great non-fiction was that the former usually engaged more of our faculties more deeply. An overly simplified way of saying this is that fiction engages our physical sense, our imagination, our emotions and our intellect while non-fiction does little beyond engaging our intellect. Remember that is an oversimplification of something whose fully explanation is beyond my ken.

I think that there may be a case for thinking less of some kinds of fiction that provide pleasure without also offering some deeper insights into the human condition.
I very much agree that fiction can be over-read. Too much or reading certain kinds of fiction are really not good for the mind overall, or rather- any good that comes from it is outbalanced by the poor effects on one's logic and morality. I know I get pretty 'brain-dead' when I'm reading nothing by novels, though novels about saints are very filling. :) As with all things, balance is key.

Which one is better will depend on personal preference, but there is a place for everything. For myself, I need to relax with a story book, I can't relax with a physics textbook though I enjoy physics in its time. wink
May 17th 2013 new
(quote) John-184825 said: Thanks for your reply.

I have heard that Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski is very good despite his tragic life. Have you read his poetry? I don't read Polish.

http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstanty_Ildefons_Ga%C5%82czy%C5%84ski

http://www.kigalczynski.pl/

I don't actually read Polish very well...only been studying it for a few years and it's like the 5th hardest language in the world to learn.
May 17th 2013 new
Wow, beside the enjoyment, reading allows me to exercise my mind, to dream and conjure new places, to ponder a situation or person and what they will do. It helped me with vocabulary and writing and thinking. It is a true gift!
May 17th 2013 new
(quote) Jacqueline-556574 said: Reading fiction provides for a diversion from our own lives, and into others' realms. Whether the story is set in another time, place, or culture, we can learn much from these settings that we might not otherwise experience in our own lives. We may learn perspectives that are different from our own. It is a chance to experience someone else's experience, without going much farther than our favorite Barnes & Noble.
Hi Jacqueline,

Thanks for adding you thoughts to the mix. I agree that the broadening of one's perspective is a task that literature can do well.

An interesting new twist on the usefulness of literature is a married couple's founding of a company (See http://www.moversandshakespeares.com) to train leaders in prominent businesses about leadership. They have been asked to traveled as far as India by commercial interests that think that Shakespeare can instruct them about what leaders should do, and equally important, about what leaders should not do.

John




May 17th 2013 new
(quote) Dawn-58330 said: All good fiction is rooted in Truth. While the worlds and characters may be made up, the themes, conflicts, ironies, and morals are the same that we deal with in daily life. Fiction has helped me to learn about the experience of being human throughout the ages. It has taken me to places that I may never get a chance to step foot in. I have learned history, science, music, art, sports, and many other things. I've learned how other people think about life and the world. Reading fiction has expanded my horizons, given me more insights into others, and helped me to dream about my own future.

I've also discovered that by reading fiction I have studied the craft and can not only read it but write it. Maybe one day you will buy my best seller and then you too will find Truth in fiction.
Hi Dawn,

Thanks for presenting your expert witnessing to the jury.

In The Closing of the American Mind, a non-fictional best-seller of the late 1980's, Allan Bloom wrote words somewhat like, "Without reading great and near great literature, we will not come to much understanding of the many different, and sometimes complex, personalities in the world". Although his words were simple enough to allow me to gain some idea of what he meant, I still would have liked to understand that claim in greater detail. Unfortunately, he did not elaborate on his point.

In writing this topic, I was actually most interested in how literature can supposedly increase one's ability to understand and relate to many more kind of personalities, although I welcome comments about all the other ways in which literature can bring benefits. You hinted at this aspect with the words, "given me more insights into others".

Your words, "Maybe one day you will buy my best seller and then you too will find Truth in fiction", sounds like a "novel" idea, but I must ask whether there will be friction in you fiction? wave eyebrow

John



May 17th 2013 new
I can certainly add my vote the vocabulary aspect! I was well on my way - reading at 4. I launched into Mark Twain's books, then Grimm's, and eventually found myself immersed in Science Fiction which introduced me to a myriad of interests, and ultimately a very broad education. Interestingly, many of the best SciFi writers included references to classical literature such that I eventually concluded that I needed to round out my experience. That lead me to JD Salinger, Jane Austin, and books like Mutiny on the Bounty, and many more.
Now I read about our Catholic Faith, psychology, neuroscience ... I just can't get enough. And I still enjoy the thrill of a good fictional piece. One of the best reviews I ever saw said, "I envy you who have not yet read this book; you still get to read it for the first time!"

Ultimately, I often get asked, "How can you possibly know that?" Good fiction is full of fact and human experience. And for me, this just scratches the surface ... The privilege of reading is one of our human treasures!
May 17th 2013 new
biggrin Proved to me that I can write as well or better than many people who make a living at it.
May 18th 2013 new
It provides excitement, and creates emotion. It allows me to escape into another world, if only for the length of time I am reading, and experience other places and things I don't get to experience daily. It has allowed me to learn and grow. It has brought new people into my life that share the same interests as I do.
May 18th 2013 new
(quote) Stephanie-811058 said: I don't actually read Polish very well...only been studying it for a few years and it's like the 5th hardest language in the world to learn.
Ok. When you become more proficient in Polish, Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski will be waiting.
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