Monday, October 24, 2016

THE LIFE THAT'S FOUND IN LITERATURE....

"When masterful storytelling aligns perfectly with a humanitarian payload, the effects will be felt around the world, transcending genre or political agenda." (Tom Blunt)
What is it about a good book?  It can draw you right out of this world with all of its pressures, problems, demands and reality and into another time, place and existence, until you are immersed and all sense of the passage of real time seems to vanish.  Characters on the page become real, breathing entities - they are your dearest friends.  You are racing towards the end of the story, desperately seeking resolution, while at the same time terrified to see the whole experience come to an end.  What will you do without the experiences of these beloved characters to occupy your thoughts?  There have been many occasions when I have closed a book and desperately wondered how life dared to continue marching along as if nothing had just happened.  Now that I had read that book-experienced those pages-I would never be the same.  I was forever changed.  I am not too ashamed to admit that when I finished The Book Thief for the first time, I carried it around with me for a few days because I just wasn't ready to let go of that story - of that experience.  I couldn't even think about reading something new.  I wasn't ready.  For me, finishing a great book is like finishing a relationship:  you just need time to fully heal before starting a new one.

We have all heard about the benefits of reading.  It inspires creativity and imagination.  It makes us
better writers.  It allows us to see the world through different lenses.  But can reading great literature, fiction, in particular, actually help us be "more human?"  According to a recent article by Tom Blunt of Penguin Random House Publishing, those who regularly ingest good fiction tend to be able to empathize more with others; in other words, you may be be able to acknowledge and understand that other people have other points of view outside your own.  The reason?  Because when you read a great work of fiction, you see the world through another person's eyes, namely, the protagonist or main character.  You get a glimpse into their world and experiences, and are thus able to sympathize with their feelings, thoughts and beliefs!  Therefore, reading good fiction does more than build your imagination, it makes you better equipped to understand your fellow human beings in the real world, and accept varying points of view with more compassion.

Now, I personally didn't need another reason to read good fiction, but articles like this are kind of like those news bulletins that reveal that chocolate is actually GOOD for your health.  It just makes the whole pursuit of something you love a little sweeter!

Enjoy this article by Tom Blunt.  Read it carefully, then post your overall impression of the article. What did you like reading most?  What surprised you?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

And, if you have any great recommendations in fiction, well, go ahead and post those, too!


 

81 comments:

  1. I believe that this is quite true! I have loved books ever since I was little and this is what I have seen in the world as a fiction reader. Most of my friends are literature lovers who see the side of the world that I do and we can discuss it in detail. The friends who are not, I have come to notice, I am not as close to. My fellow bibliophiles are extensions of my novels - they have deep meaning and are extremely complex. Also, though there are some readers who are quite biased in the real world, I have noticed a majority of those who do not are more phobic.
    I loved the comment about how fiction readers can tell emotions in the eyes. Throughout my life I have been told that I could read emotions well and that I knew how to respond to them in a proper manner. Reading this helped me realize that this might be because of all the reading that I do. I am an actress too and have been commended on my use of facial expressions and how I can bring different complex emotions to the play which leads me to believe that maybe because I can recognize it, I can portray it too. It makes me quite happy to know that all my reading actually helped me with my acting as well!
    Nothing, other than maybe the relationship between reading and acting, truly surprised me throughout this article. This is something I have thought about many times - though I was not able to word it so beautifully or back it up with facts! This article seems to me to just confirm my understanding of reading and how it affects the world.

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  2. The article had my mind wandering after the first few sentences. When the author asked about the bully, I hadn't ever thought about it before. Now when I think of anyone who ever bullied another person, they never seem like the type to sit down and read fictional literature. I also think that if they did, like for instance if a bully read "The Book Thief" I couldn't seem them following their old ways ever again. The way a character feels in a book has such a huge impact that it rewires how you think. To me the very first sentence of this article had captured my attention and made me want to continue to read. I never realized that reading could change you forever. Learning this about literature only makes me want to read more, to change who I am, into someone better and with more consideration for others.

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  3. What a great article and I must say that I do believe it's words ring true. Passionate readers gain these amazing benefits that those who do not read become deprived of. However, I don't think many individuals really understand that. I myself was quite fuzzy on the whole thing as I knew books provided extensive vocabulary, I knew they could pull a reader into the book and make that person feel as though they were a character in the novel, but I wasn't fully aware that reading books provides, along with the other elements, a greater "appreciation for human life."
    On a smaller scale, those that read have a greater ability to connect with different types of individuals which is extremely unique in itself. What's more interesting in the article is how it states that if reading is not kept from the transition from youth years to adulthood, the ability that the youth had gained through those years of literature will fade with time. I've enjoyed books from time to time, and by the time I'm done with them I feel a better understanding on certain things, and so I can why literature, novels, how words, can have such an impact on one's development.
    Oh, if only those who had a chance to read a book did so.

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  4. This article has incredible insight. There were many points that this article brought up that I had never thought of! I especially enjoyed the beginning topic about the non-fictional and fictional bullies, they all have one thing in common. They don't have a love for literature! I laughed at this point, because it made sense, bullies are opposed to different perspectives and books are full of them!

    In a following paragraph, I noticed the quote, "Viewing events from someone else’s perspective, following along as they suffer, make mistakes, and are forced into hard decisions that affect others beyond themselves — these are already the core of literary education, but the new spate of scientific findings suggests we may not be working hard enough, or for long enough, toward instilling future generations with a profound appreciation for human life". This quote struck me, because when I think of beneficial, classical literature texts, I assume that the book is old. Don't get me wrong, the newer books we read today could later described as classic literature, but some are just purely entertaining, lacking a deeper value. This makes me sad because I apply it to the world today, especially politics. People are not open to different points of view, they are narrow minded, and depending on your geographical location you can be punished for it. If authors, political leaders, parents, etc. keep instilling the narrow minded characteristics in our current generation, what will come of our future generation?

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  5. The concept of books making you more open to others’ ideas and more empathetic makes total sense to me. When reading a book, you really do get enveloped into the characters, which, in turn, forces you take on different perspectives that they hold and consider them. Therefore, nothing really surprised me in this article too much.

    I enjoyed reading about Blubber and Daphne’s Book, though. That part caught my attention the most, probably because those books have similar plots to what I’m used to reading and, especially, watching. There are so many movies and television series involving bullying and social pressure, mainly in high school. I think it’s good that books and movies like this teach us not to judge people so quickly and that bullying is wrong. Afterall, 99% of the time it does not end well for bullier anyway.

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  6. The article made me think about something that I have never even considered. Reading really does heave a profound effect upon people. It can increase compassion and empathy.

    I enjoyed reading about the book 'Blubber'. It seemed interesting, and offered a new point of view.

    I was surprised when I thought about bullies not reading. It makes perfect sense, as reading opens up new worlds and allows you to explore the minds of others.

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  7. It's truly amazing how people who read fiction have a broader horizon of emotion and empathy with other people, because of the agendas of fiction. Despite it's genre title, it is there to create a safe environment for everyone to understand.I also found it amazing that there are scientific studies on this information, it's nice to see something happier being reported on, gives you sense of innocence in the world.

    Also, as a side note, A Wrinkle in Time was a book that I read in fourth grade, it was amazing to see that something I read for fun, has helped to shape me into the person that I am today.

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  8. I believe this article definitely offered a unique approach to the concept of reading literature. Several points in the article stood out. I’m going to talk about the idea of actual benefits from reading a book. I’m not going to lie, if I think a book has a stupid message or if I consider its content useless, I won’t be engaged in reading it. When Blunt was talking about the benefit of empathy in reading different books, I became interested in the article. I think empathy is one of the most important skills to have in a modern society. Knowing how others feel and what angle they’re coming from is key for proper communication. Developing relationships both in personal matters and in business heavily rely on one’s ability to gauge the feelings of another and appeal to them. I never thought of literature as a tool of learning the skill of empathy, and reading this article was very “eye-opening” in the sense that I developed a desire to broaden my range of reading material.


    Another aspect of the article that surprised me was the idea that the benefits of reading are similar to those of exercising. When we lift weights, our muscles become stronger. When we read books, our ability to understand the points of view becomes stronger. I think this encourages a lifelong passion for reading and is a very positive message for anyone to hear.


    The last thing that surprised me was the fact that in some low-income areas, there is only 1 book to every 300 children. That fact is mind-blowing! I grew up reading books starring Scooby-Doo to books that taught me about shark facts. I couldn’t imagine the effect poverty has on a population’s access to books, let alone all the information they’re missing out on. The situation made me think of Leisal in The Book Thief, where she only had a few books to her name due to poverty.


    I was skeptical about the article at first, but as I soon came to realize, it offered many very beneficial outlooks on reading.


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    1. I love how you likened reading to exercising! Great analogy!

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  9. The article really gave me insight on how literary fiction, in a way, teaches us to be human - it makes you more connected. “A similar process happens when you envision yourself as a character in a book: You can take on the emotions they feeling.” People who read fiction have the benefit of sharing a connection with the characters, looking through their perspective - it's a personal experience everyone should go through. “If you don't read the books, you don't obtain these benefits. Having encountered few worlds outside your own, you won’t extend as much effort contemplating how other people (whether real, imaginary, or historical) experience reality, now will you be as willing to believe their claims about that experience - although you’ll certainly expect them to believe yours”.

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    1. So agree! I can become a character as I read, too! I even can feel the panic for them!

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  10. I agree with this article arguing that bullies don't tend to read as much as their victims. The bullied have more compassion towards the bully because they have seen a point of view other than their own. According to the article, reading fiction has something to do with this. Statistics show that violence is most likely to occur where there is less literature appreciation.
    What surprised me was how reading fiction can't be an end to violence and a start to empathy. Of course not everybody will interpret a story the same as another person, but can reading inspire even the most troubled people to overcome their aggression?
    I have read an abundance of fiction books and I can say that it really opens my mind to others' point of view. The first books that widened my view, were The Hunger Games trilogy. The characters were powerful and unique, the protagonist lived in a world I would never be able to imagine. The author created an incredible story that broadened my opinion of others.

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  11. This article was very interesting and had my attention from the start; with the comparison of non-fictional and fictional bullies. This article really gives us an insight of what it takes to be connected with each other, have empathy and emotion.

    I believe people see the world differently and have a more open-minded view on things when they read more than those who don't. A character in a book can teach someone so many things,that will lead to different perspectives. I really like the last part of this article that says, "this extremely old technology could prove to be the most powerful and readily abundant weapon we’ve got." I thought this was an intriguing way to end the article and also very true. Picking up a book might not be the most exciting thing to many, but what we get out of it is so much more then we expect.

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  12. It is true that reading various books on different people or even fictional books about non real people. You can learn a lot about peoples view points and really take something with you. You really immerse yourself with the character and the story. I wonder sometimes what I would do in some of the situations the protagonist goes through, making me think deeply on how the characters actions and personality. This makes me think deeply about there view points as well as the things I can take from it.

    Either if its a real or non real person you can understand that person by being in there shoes. Relive the situations, problems, and story.

    The more books and scenario you read especially non fiction books can make you realize and learn about there perspective. Learn about there history, learn from the mistakes they made, and being a overall better person after you learned the lessons with them.

    Reading books makes me and others (hopefully) open minded and a lot more wiser in that sense.

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  13. It is true that reading various books on different people or even fictional books about non real people. You can learn a lot about peoples view points and really take something with you. You really immerse yourself with the character and the story. I wonder sometimes what I would do in some of the situations the protagonist goes through, making me think deeply on how the characters actions and personality. This makes me think deeply about there view points as well as the things I can take from it.

    Either if its a real or non real person you can understand that person by being in there shoes. Relive the situations, problems, and story.

    The more books and scenario you read especially non fiction books can make you realize and learn about there perspective. Learn about there history, learn from the mistakes they made, and being a overall better person after you learned the lessons with them.

    Reading books makes me and others (hopefully) open minded and a lot more wiser in that sense.

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  14. At first I had a hard time focusing on what the article was trying to tell me but after a few sentences I found myself asking similar questions to those that appeared in the article. After reading the section that asked me to consider the bully I had to take a few moments and really think about bullies I have known, both in person and in literature. I started wondering how they would be viewed and how they would act if they were more like the people they were bullying. Once I had finished my overall impression of the article was that it was something that a lot of people could connect to as well as something that very few ever thought about. Many of the main ideas were thought provoking and seemed as if they were untrue or exaggerated, yet almost all were grounded with facts. The thing that surprised me most however was the reactions to this piece, I understand that this may be a topic that many don’t think about, however many people reacted as if they couldn’t comprehend how this could possibly be true. If you thought about the benefits to reading I feel that these would be apparent or at least understandable, apparently not.

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  15. I believe that those who have read books have a more open-minded vision of the world than those who don’t. I have realized this every time I have read book. Since I’m not much of a reader, I tend to do things my own way and take one route to achieve a goal instead of looking at different ideas to help me achieve it. When I do read a book, I start discovering different solutions to my problems and different paths to achieve my goals. This gives me real insight that those who do so much more reading have an even more open-minded idea of how the world and how humans work and act.


    What I liked reading was the part with how you as a reader and audience can envision and take on the feelings of a character in the book. This line in particular stood out to me because I can relate. Over the summer while I read ‘Catcher in the Rye’, I started envisioning myself as the main character in the book. I felt the sadness he felt, I felt the way he felt when walking alone at night in the cold. It was like if the character and I had become a single soul. Pretty weird but also quite fascinating.

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    1. That happens to me when I write characters, too! You become a part of their mind. It's a great escape!

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  16. I found it very interesting when the article mentioned the introduction of educational foundation through reading. For example, when learning about the holocaust, you can read something of fictionional genre such as The Book Thief or something non-fiction such as The Diary of Anne Frank, but you're still going to gather the same information as you would in a world history class. Through books however, you become entertained, therefore children will gain more of an understanding.

    I also found it interesting how they mentioned that bullies have a hard time gaining any sort of analysis or entertainment from a book. It does, however, make sense because they lack emotion and personal connection.

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  17. I found it interesting when they referenced The Diary of Anne Frank as more than just a teaching tool and then related it back to how little girls could feel and how literature is much more than just something that we read in school. I also like how it referenced the bullies and not reading, which I felt was more of a connection to not being open minded. Reading is something that expands your point of view on something and can give you new ideas or perspectives on certain topics.

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  18. This article interested me when it mentioned that literacy helps a person function in society. Being able to read and interpret messages we learn how to interact with others. If we didn't read or have information, how would we know what empathy was? Sympathy? Books can teach us to experience things without actually having to go out and experience them. We learn how to get to know people and have a conversation. Books give us more than a story and I found that interesting that it is linked to how we feel. The fact that bullies don't really read? They lack the teaching that stories can give us. It was interesting to hear that reading, even though we don't notice, teaches us how to interact even if it is a book from a different time period.

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  19. I actually really liked this article. As I began to read, Mic wrote " A similar process happens when you envision yourself as a character in a book: You take on the emotions they are feeling", it reminded me of an episode of Criminal Minds where a little boy was congenital insensitive to pain with anhidrosis, so he could feel pain, when he was punched, it didn't hurt, when he broke a bone it wouldn't hurt. Because of this, he was unable to feel empathy, making him into a killer. This is a MUCH lower level of this, but I just connected them because they are very similar. When someone who doesn't read or doesn't connect to the feelings of others, than its hard for them to feel empathy thus making it easier for them to bully others. I very much enjoyed this article, and it was very thought provoking for me. I feel bad for people who don't read, I absolutely love it, and I think thats its made me a better person as well.

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  20. This article really made me think about all the books I have read in school and why the school even makes us read them. I see now how they can really affect our lives without us the readers knowing it does. I never imagined science could be in literature, and how it affects us. Literature teaches you more than just what you are reading. As I get older,I start to see that literature is just not just words, feelings, grammar and writing; Literature is a way of life and I really saw that in this article, which really made me enjoy it.

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  21. This was such an eye-opening article to read. Never before had I considered the difference between people who read literature versus those who don't on a deeper level. Growing up, I was told that reading would improve such things as my creativity, vocabulary, and literacy. As I continued to read through this article, I began to make the connection it was speaking of. While I am not surrounded by many people who are not involved in literature, the bully example was a universal one for understanding. Bullies are always stereotyped as the kind of people who would never sit down to read, which would make sense as they seem to only view the world from a single perspective.


    This article mentioned the ability of readers to take on the emotions that characters are feeling, as well as their ability to better understand someone through their eyes. Both of these ideas stood out to me because I realized upon reading the article that I do both. They are also aspects I pick out while watching movies and TV shows on which I reflect to better my acting.


    When the author mentioned the importance of continuing to read into adulthood as our value of humanity can fade, it inspired me to make time to do something I've been throwing off: pick up a book and read. This not only inspired me to read, but also opened my eyes to the importance of reading in our society. In our modern technological world, human interactions and connections are already fading, but these ideas of being open-minded and able to put yourself in someone else's shoes has not stopped being important. Through great literature, we can restore the art of communication and relationships which is being lost.

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    1. Yes - makes sense, right? If reading makes us better writers, then it must also make us better communicators, in general!

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  22. I completely agreed with the idea that a good book can develop you as a person. However, as a historic fiction and history fan I must disagree to it only being fiction that does this. Comparing the article,blog, and my personal experiences I am conflicted. I have not read many fiction books that I greatly enjoyed so maybe I don't have the experiential knowledge. I do feel as though the historical fiction and history I have read has shaped me, but in a different way. Referencing back to the personality types, I am an ISTJ which says that I favor thinking and logic over feelings. The more I read, the stronger my logical sense seems to get. My question to Tom Blunt would be how data shows a correlation between people's development and other genres. Over all I enjoyed the ideas of the blog and article but wish to read further into this research.

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    1. Maybe it would be interesting to study how fiction books affect and inspire people of different personality types in different ways! I would bet that you are on to something--that it has a lot to do with how readers interpret what they read.

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  23. As a child I hardly ever left home without a book in my hand. Whether it be non fiction or a literary work, I always always had one with me. Looking back, those novels really shaped how I act today, and the article you attached really opened to my eyes to just how much.
    When I was in the 6th grade I read Michael Grant's novel "GONE", and immediately I was hooked. Within several days, I had acquired the five that were out and read them as quickly as I could. One of the main themes is accepting that not all people are the same and embracing differences, but I wasn't thinking about that when I was reading. I was thinking "Why can't they all just be kind to one another? Why are the fighting?". The book taught me how to be compassionate towards others by showing me, not just telling me.

    In the article, I really liked how he mentioned that it's easier to understand events like the Holocaust via the use of fiction. I remember having to read novels like "Night" or as the author mentions "Anne Frank's Diary" and finally understanding. It was hard to empathize until we were sucked into their world with the rug pulled from under our feet. To wrap up my point, I couldn't agree more with the idea that novels make us more compassionate.

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  24. I really like the part where he talks about that you can almost know out from a persons acting, if they have read books or not. He connects science and literature in a very interesting way, that I in some parts can relate to: for an example the fact that I sometimes get a deja vu to a book I read before I stood in the situation I am in. And it does help me find a solution, which he also points out! Those who read do have more knowledge about how to act towards others and understand different cultures ect. vs. a person who is not interested in reading, and who has never been very good at taking the time to look at the sentences: they become bullies and do not know how to behave! Especially this part was very surprising to me, but I see the logic behind it!

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  25. This article was a very interesting read but not surprising. I find myself feeling the same feelings as my main characters when I read. In the first few sentences about how bullies might not read as much as those who have compassion for others. This really put some insight on the world around me. I've recently seen a video on empathy and this also really opened my eyes and I totally made a connection just now. Empathy is being able to make a connection with someone and how they feel. there are three steps to empathy and in a way (in my opinion) writing fiction. These steps are: perspective taking, (the ability to take the perspective of another person or recognize another person's truth.) staying out of judgment, (which is hard for those of us who like it so much lol) Recognizing emotion in others and then communicating that. Empathy is feeling with people. When reading fiction there's a choice that happens. You make the choice to make a connection within yourself that knows that same feeling as your character. I find that those who don't read fiction (not saying a specific person) or those who have only read textbooks their whole life might find it hard to make a connection or "empathize" with someone. If you know how to make connections or use empathy any fiction book can be a good one.

    Something I recommend everyone watch is this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

    And books I recommend are the Iron King Series https://www.goodreads.com/series/47329-the-iron-fey

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22628.The_Perks_of_Being_a_Wallflower

    The Fault in Our Stars http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11870085-the-fault-in-our-stars

    Second Star
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18465577-second-star

    and My Life With the Walter Boys
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13580846-my-life-with-the-walter-boys

    All of these books will make you feel something I guarantee it, and if you don't then well you can call me a softie haha.

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  26. After reading the article, I do believe that read can alter a person(s) emotions towards life in general. Sometimes, reading is either a safe place for some one; where they can come to their favorite book and forget where they are and be engaged in the book. But to other people, it is an escape route, meaning they use their book to get out of things. Not going to lie, I do both of these sometimes.

    Opening up a book and getting to know the characters we can relate to; emotionally, culturally or in any way. Suddenly, you put yourself in their shoes because you know exactly what they are going through. However you perceive books, overall, they make us more caring or empathetic.

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  27. I found it interesting that the article opened up the idea of bullying and how it relates to people's personalities and the reading of fiction novels, books and etc. I do believe that what we read can have to do with a personal taste of the reader and their opinions on the world and how they view certain culture and people. Books can change the way that we view the world depending on when we read them and what lessons and ideas we can learn from within the books.

    There are stories that can open up different views of other people and have you take a look at them and view them in your own eyes. Reading can open up so many more opportunities for yourself in the world, whether it makes you more open-minded or reflective on your own actions. I found it interesting that there were also experiments conducted on the idea that reading books can change a person's view of the world and etc. It shows that the more you read, the more you can view the world with an open mind and with more empathy towards more people that you meet and develop relationships with.

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  29. Overall, I really enjoyed that article. It was filled to the brim with valuable information that I think everybody can glean something from.

    What I found most interesting, though, is that I feel like this article challenged many preconceptions our society (or more relevantly so, our society of book-readers) has about reading. First off, I, for example, have always been told to stop reading fiction/fantasy books because they don't have any merit as opposed to non-fiction books. That they "don't even make you think," or that they "aren't smart books."

    But in a reasonable fashion, this article directly contradicts those remarks and supports fiction literature and its great merit. Fiction reading may not make you the most factually-sound person in the world, but it can definitely help create humans with an imaginative brain, open-minded soul, and compassionate heart!

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    1. Now you have proof that they DO have merit!
      I believe that reading the Narnia books really helped me look at people with more understanding and empathy. After all, fantasy books tell the story of good vs. evil most of the time. That is really the story of the world....it's just that the monsters aren't as obvious. ;)

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  30. This article really interested me and kept me thinking. The introduction itself really made me stop and think. Bullies are never known to read. They don't know how it feels on the other side, which can be learned through reading. Reading about other individual's experiences (made up or not) really is "the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one's own beliefs and desires." When you take the time to read an author's fictional piece, you're opening your mind and accepting those characters. You may perceive everything differently, but your broadening your horizons and taking it all in.

    One other thing that stood out to me in the article was when the author said, "Literacy itself has proven key to a person’s ability to function in modern society..." There is so much truth to this, and I've never realized it before. If we never read, how would we be able to tell generousness from bullying? How would we have an idea of how people other than ourselves feel? I'm glad I got to read this article, it really opened my eyes and showed me something that was right in front of me this whole time.

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  31. I very much enjoyed reading this article! I always knew that literature was powerful, but this article really showed how influential and impactful literature can be when we develop as people. Before reading this article, I had never really thought about just how much literature teaches us and shapes us. Now, after reading this article especially, I feel as if literature and reading is almost a necessity when we want to learn and develop. What surprised me most in this article is the idea of introducing literature to those who may lack empathy, such as bullies. I would never think to use literature in such a way, but I believe it is a really good idea to get one to be more open-minded and kind.
    Overall, this article helped me realize the significance of literature to understand all that goes on in the world, and the feelings and reactions people have. Through other stories we can learn life lessons, and learn different perspectives. Literature can also teach us about our selves, and how we can understand and connect with others.

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  32. This article was interesting and confused me a bit, I might be just me.. But I didn’t find any value in the heading and it stating that fiction makes you more “human”. And then a couple paragraphs further it mentioned non- fictional books like The Diary of Anne Frank and how it is beneficial to learn from children during times of history and how they felt and were affected. I believe (and I’m pretty sure the article did too) that those kinds of novels are great ways to learn and grow morally by seeing others perspective. That exact concept was one of the arguments that the author was trying to show fiction novels did better, and I disagree. The author even stated, “Fiction can’t be our end-all tool for building empathy — there can be a real harm to filtering every single real-world event through a dramatic lens” , and on the contrary the author still writes the headliner to be “This is How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to Be Human”, the subject may have possibly been chosen to grab people's attention.

    Another thing that I didn’t necessarily like but I’m sure the author doesn’t intentionally make it seem this way is all of the comments about bullies not reading, which ultimately is saying that most bullies are dumb. Even if that claim is possibly true, you are practically bullying a bully… Saying that comment is why most bullies are mean to others because they are insecure. The author is also suggesting that people that don’t read a lot of fiction novels are bullies? Or bullies can’t POSSIBLY know how to read, and if they do then why are they mean. I don’t like how the article talks about reading books so you can understand other childrens' situations, but then stereotyping “bullies” don’t read. Those were two main things that bothered me but overall it was an interesting article to read and another valuable perspective/ research to consider and be aware of.

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    1. Maybe I didn't read the article careful enough. But after learning about stereotype within the media can convey and effect us. I'm glad you picked up on this when I couldn't. I makes me feel happy that there is someone look out for this kind of misinterpretation of what a bully is know to be.

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  33. I am not much of a reader but this educated me a little bit. I feel that I should read more...but that won't happen. Not enough free time. They talk a little about race and how that can affect people. I enjoyed reading the science part of it towards the beginning, I was also surprised that they used science to prove a point in literature. Also when the author was talking about the different methods. Overall I think it was somewhat interesting but it did not keep me engaged enough.

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  34. I can kinnda see where this theory is coming from. I read alot and I can easily become friends with all kinds of people, but I never thought there was be a corrilation between the two. But like how the article mentions books have caused me to reflect on myself and what i would do in different situations that any person can go through and maybe what I would do differently. I do think my disire to listen to all sides of a story before "Picking a side" is largely a result of reading many stories with multiple points of views. It's kinda crazy how this theory has science behind it. Books have had this impact on people since the inventon of books but we never noticed it or had a name for it.

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    1. Yes--I agree! Books have expanded my ability, also to be willing to listen to all sides before judging. I think that is such an important trait to navigate through the world!

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  35. I really enjoyed the article, although a few of the things mentioned confused me a little bit. The main point that I was able to get out of it is that literature builds empathy, and gives individuals a view into many worlds outside of their own. While the article mainly talks about how works of fiction should be read to get a diverse view of different world, I personally believe that for me, empathy and an open minded view of other worlds come from reading non fiction works of literature. I feel myself having more empathy for the characters in non fiction due to the fact that these characters are or were real people. When I read fiction, I feel as if I don't usually develop empathy for other kinds of people, but that might be due to the types of books I like to read. I find that there isn't much to be empathetic about, probably because many of the characters in the fiction books that I read live in a world similar to my own. This opened up my eyes and made me realize that I should try to branch out and read different types of fiction. Overall I thought the article had some great points that I could relate to.

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  36. I can somewhat see where this theory came from, and it is a very interesting link. I never really thought to myself that how people associate and socialize with one another could be dictated by how often a person reads. It was pretty cool to see the link between Science and reading and how they play off of each other. This article gives books a whole new significance as these studies can now link it directly to human behavior and the key part they can play in how someone lives their life.

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  37. Ashleigh Johnson- The article really got me thinking about how we perceive bullies. We show bullies in books, especially to children, as kids who do not read. That got me thinking as to, what if a child cannot read or is struggling to read, do they think that they are a bully if they get defensive?

    There was a quote in the article, " Even so, particularly since the 20th century, fiction has provided a voice for people who would have otherwise been all too easy to ignore." I think that quote is very powerful in the way we look at fiction literature. The way we come up with fictional characters and faux events, it all comes from actual feelings or experiences the author or a loved one of the authors has felt. I think that is something everyone takes for granted and that never thinks about.

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  38. At first I was a bit confused as to what the article was trying to say, but I actually ended up really enjoying what this article had to say. There were so many parts of this that stood out to me, I have always personally known that literature has an extremely powerful impact, but to see it all written out in this article showed me brand new dimensions as to how much literature can influence the way humans develop. I had known that reading had the ability to change me, but I didn't know it was something that many other people experienced or that there were studies being made about the situation. This article even surprised me when it brought up the idea that those without literature in their lives tend to lack empathy. I never thought about looks or literature in this sense, or knew that it really changed out ideologies about bias or seeing the world from others perspectives. In the end, I just really enjoyed how this article demonstrated not only what literature teaches us about its story, but what it teaches us about ourselves.

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  39. I truly enjoyed this article. Not only did the author make some excellent points about the necessity of reading and its contribution to our understanding of others, but he also balanced out his argument by stating that we can't only rely on books either to give us sympathy. In the article, the author admits that, "Fiction can’t be our end-all tool for building empathy ." Even though reading is amazing and great for our understanding of others, we also need real life experiences to also teach us how to be understanding of others and to gain even more insights into life. Within the article, I also like how Blunt stated, "fiction has provided a voice for people who would have otherwise been all too easy to ignore." This is so true, without fiction many cultures that we do not interact with often or do not take the time to learn about (such as: Middle Eastern, Asian, and Native American) would not be well represented or understood on the basic level like they are know do to these books. In all honesty, I learned most of what I know about the Native American and Middle Eastern culture is from what I have read in books, and it has given me and understanding of the culture and sympathy towards those people in any situation they are in.

    I was genuinely surprised that the article had information from studies done in 2013. I thought all of the information in the article was going to be from studies done either last year or this year, but by seeing that it was actually done three years ago was shocking. I would have thought that information such as this about the benefits of reading on our empathy levels would have reached the public in a much larger way by now, but it hasn't. I am just hearing about it now!

    My recommendations for fiction would be

    A Wrinkle in Time-a classic novel about time travel

    Ruby Holler-about two orphans, Dallas and Florida who want to escape from foster care, very heart felt

    The Rope Maker-about a mystical world where a girl can pause time and change aspects of the frozen time, she is searching for the Rope Maker to save her village as well

    Fire Bringer-animal fiction novel, about a deer trying to rise up in a herd after his father's death (is a lot better than what I am describing)

    The Sight- part of The Sight series, is about a wolf pack with a daughter who sees visions, the whole book is about her going through her journey and meeting her fate

    Fell- second book in the Sight series, also very good, but focuses on the brother of the psychic wolf and his struggles to combat the evils with human intervention.

    These were some of my favorite books growing up. Although they are weird they are really good, in my opinion the best ones usually are the weirdest. Have fun!

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  40. My overall impression is that the article makes sense and that it is true. I liked how it went into bullying and implored the reader to make the connection that the reason why bullies exist and are the way they are is because they don't have the feeling of empathy that allows them to imagine how their actions affect others and make them feel. And going even further, that this may be able to be avoided by them starting off early in reading those important works of fiction like those slave books, Anne Frank, or any work of fiction in general that will really help grow their sense of empathy but also to expand their mind in general, have a better vocabulary, become a better writer, and be able to process the big ideas in life, not just got through the motions of reading and thinking of it as a task instead of something to be enjoyed.
    This article really surprised me though in seeing how much of an impact fictional literature or narrative storytelling mediums like video games, movies, or TV shows make to a persons ability to feel empathy. All the studies behind what the article said made it that much more enlightening and impressive.
    I enjoyed what the article had to say, and I only hope that more and more people, especially those in less fortunate environments and such get more and more opportunities to read books and become more literate and empathetic in order to improve their lives as a whole, as well as the lives of others that they touch.

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  41. When I read the article I found it really interesting how much the reader of a novel can sypayhize, even empathize at such a caliber with the protagonist. "You can take on the emotions they are feeling". I used to read a lot and I can see exactly how this relates and just how significant that character-reader relationship can be. The fact that the reader's feelings, thoughts, and experiences reflect that of the character based solely on the author's ability to develop them and the plot I thought was extremely impressive. The attachment the reader feels towards a good protagonist I thought was something very unique to reading and books in general. An emotional connection that almost binds the reader and the characters I thought was really interesting.

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    1. Yes - that connection makes you swear the characters must be very real. :) Maybe they are. I believe all characters are fractals of the ones who created them...even the villains!

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  42. Being a strong advocate for active reading during personal free time, I also found the article very appealing. As the author continued to elaborate on how literature acts as a cultural and empathetic introduction early on in life, I couldn't help but recall a specific series that, as far as I know, was one of my earliest memories of learning to understand different cultures. It was probably about in third grade that, on one trip to the local library (as was customary nearly every week considering my voracious appetite for literature), I found during a used book sale a set of about ten brief works of historical fiction in a series detailing the trials and triumphs of young girls in a wide variety of cultures and points in time. There were tales of young heroines in the holocaust, the french revolution, a depression in Ireland, even a young Eskimo girl struggling through life in her village with the increasing settlement of Europeans and the diseases that they brought with them. Prior to reading this article, I had never really paid attention to the impact that fiction has on our social understandings and abilities, despite how obvious it is in retrospect. What is really depressing, however, is the described decrease in empathy with a lack of reading as people continue on in life. While we may grow older and find ourselves with less time to ourselves, there should always be a need for mental exercise and a chance to lose one's self in a whole other world between the comforting, rich smell of a book's pages.

    On a side note, I'd like to comment on how amusing I find it that the author states, "While picking up a book will never be a replacement for face-to-face encounters with actual humans. . .". In all honesty, I (and I'm sure a few of my classmates as well) would argue that books make for far better company than humans on a good number of occasions. In fact, one of my proudest grade school accomplishments was almost completely avoiding social interaction in order to read the first three novels of the Eragon series in only one week, and I loved it! There just seems to be something so rewarding about bonding and growing with characters rather than fellow humans, from time to time.

    "Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life." ~Barbara Kingsolver

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  43. This article truly gave me an insight on how important literature is during childhood and adulthood, and as well how not having this can affect you in the future. Something in the article that I found interesting was the Theory of Mind which according to the article is, “the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one’s own beliefs and desires.” Keeping in mind this theory, the author really shows how reading can affect the perspective of an individual. For example, the article mentions the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry and how the novel gave young readers a different perspective of racism during the great depression. I have read this book before in the 7th grade and it truly does give a brand new view on the struggles to be of a different race during the depression, and has definitely shaped my perspective today.
    Another thing that struck at me in this article is that books are not available to every children, in the article it states “In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country there is only one book available for every 300 children”. This was surprising to me because one of my favorite things to do when I was younger was read, and it makes me sad knowing that those children will not have that exposure to literature at such a crucial age. Overall this was a very informative and enjoyable article which gave me insight that I did not have before.

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  44. This article really opened my eyes. I had never thought of literature having this impact on us, but I can definitely see it now! I'll be honest, I used to be an avid reader. USED. I don't read fiction on my free time and I miss it. I feel like I was much happier and was much more open minded while I read. The world was easier to understand. I definitely need to start reading again but I have trouble finding time. I really only read books for school now.

    I liked how this article related psychology and Language and Lit. This is an example of L&L has a profound affect on our brain and human behavior. It was really awesome to see this connection made.

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    1. I hear you! I hope you are at least enjoying the fiction read we are doing right now. :) It is my favorite book of all time.

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  45. Frist of all I love reading lovey dovey romance mixed with hard core daring advergers. This article surprised me, for I knew that reading book open your mind to different points of views but I didn't realizes that it would help understand other people's views with emotional support of love and sympathy. I also thought that non- fantasy book would be that one promoting open minded views instead of the traditional fantasy stories. I am kinda sad that we don't have those 10 minutes just for reading in class anymore. As we grow up we start to take new responsibilities and hard more active class ( like this one ), so I understand why we wouldn’t do it anymore. But one of my favorite memories growing up was having this teacher in fourth grade that would allow us to read a book for a whole hour. I would grab one of my Junie B. Jones book series, walk to the corner of the class where a big long leather sofa was places. Curl up in a little ball I would settle myself on one the edges of the sofa and fall into in the world of the dramatic Junie B. Jones. I hate reading book that leave in a cliffhanger for I to feel incomplete after ending a good story. That why I tend to go for book that are series and keep me from feeling that emptiness of not knowing what else happens once the book ends .

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  46. This article I thought was really good. IT made me think of when I was reading the book The Stand and how I was engulfed in it. I wanted to read it ever chance I got. When the article mentioned "You can take on the emotions they are feeling.” I thought of reading The Stand and how emotional it made me. I definitely would feel the emotions of the characters. This was very interesting considering I don't normally cry over anything but this book and The Help both just brought me to tears in some chapters.
    Another thing that caught my attention in this article was about the bullies. I read that and thought of all the fictional and real bullies that I have known of and most definitely they were not those who read books or respected them. The fictional characters that are perceived as bullies make it a point normally to destroy any essence of books and not let the main characters educate themselves with books. I feel this is because books are seen as power in novels. Therefore the protagonists usually are trying to keep the main character away from them to keep them uneducated such as themselves.

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  47. This article was surprising in a way, but also not as well. The research just made sense and I would've thought that this would already be common knowledge. I guess I can sort of personally relate to this passage. I used to read A LOT more than I do now for sure. I did find myself empathizing with the characters of the books I read and it made them feel more personal to me. I really felt invested into a story when I read. Usually, if I was enjoying the book, I would be able to tune everything else out even if someone was trying to speak to me. I sort of miss it but now I guess I don't have too much motivation to read as much. It's sort of sad, especially since my mom is a language and literature teacher.

    I really liked how this article was able to connect a psychological study with that of language and literature. This really opens our eyes on just how impactful language can be not just to our views (mostly by the media) but our emotions and perception of those around us as well.

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  48. I really liked how this article connected a psychology study to literature. This article opened my eyes to how important literature is to adults as well as childhood development. I have found from personal experience that I have more empathy from frictional characters to real people. This article was a little confusing but I liked the main points.

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  49. I enjoyed this article very much. I did get a little confused trying to figure what exactly was going on but I eventually caught on. I always knew that reading had an impact but I just thought it was beneficial for your IQ not social/emotional development. The part that really stood out to me was when the article said "You can take on the emotions they are feeling" because I've never thought about it that way. This article actually made me want to be a better and more involved reader.

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  50. This article was very interesting, and it brought to light some points that I had never thought of in the past. First, I had no idea that reading fiction helps you empathize with characters and people more. I guess I would never know what I could be like if I didn't read as much fiction as I did when I was younger and had more time, but it would be interesting to see that. I always read fiction as a kid, more so between 10-14 years old. I was a fiction addict, and I remember reading Harry Potter, which is my favorite series of all time, and empathizing with all of the characters. I either loved or hated all of the characters, but I could easily understand all of their struggles and where they were coming from even if they were perceived as a bad guy.
    I always thought that reading anything would only boost your intelligence and or efficiency in use of language, but I had no idea it could have these effects on you.

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  51. I like the idea that reading can increase empathy. I know I always sympathize with the monsters in monster movies, for some reason.Is it due to reading a lot? I don't know.
    However, as the article mentions, this is not always the case. I found some counterexamples on my own. Napoleon Bonaparte was an avid reader, and used his knowledge to strategically conquer groups of people, without mercy.In 1808 he dictated, "The Emperor wants a portative library of thousand volumes in 12mo., printed in good type, without margin, and composed as nearly as possible of 40 volumes on religion, 40 of epics, 40 of plays, 60 of poetry, 100 of novels, 60 of history, the remainder, to make up the 1,000, of historical memoirs." (From Napoleon to Barbier, Shannon Selin). Pedro of Castille was another example, a ruler of Spain in the 1300s. He was extremely well read, but an explosive temper lead to him murdering those who crossed him, eventually leading to his moniker Pedro the Cruel (Pauli Poisuo).
    In the end reading is the same as many other procedures- a useful tool when used correctly.

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  52. This article has made a lot of things clear to me in my life, especially in considering my behavior after reading good fiction. Outside of the obvious emptiness that comes with reading a good book and the nostalgia to once again experience the story for the first time, I realized that the lessons of the story are channeled into my everyday behavior following the reading of said story. For example, over the summer, I read a book called A Hologram for the King, who outside of struggling financially, found that he was beginning to grow out of touch with the world around him (he's in his mid fifties). Seeing as I followed him on his very unique mid life crisis taking place while he was on business in Saudi Arabia, I found myself reevaluating my life choices and where it is I hope to take myself in the future. The main character looks back on the treatment of his family, friends, and lovers as well as career choices and other such things and finds himself regretting some moments as well as wishing for the return of others. Upon finishing the book, I began to became more personal with those whom I held close than I had before and I became very critical of the decisions I had made with my life up until then.

    That being said, I agree with the author of the article 100%. Good storytelling has a certain wising affect on a person. There's always some problem that the reader hopes is solved. And in seeing that problem is solved, the reader takes away a certain moral lesson. It is in this that fiction helps a person make a turn for the better.

    Also, I would highly recommend A Hologram for the King to anyone who doesn't have a problem with PG-13+ content.

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  53. I think the that the article depicted a very appealing notion that reading causes us to better empathize with others and understand others perspectives, that might be very comforting to some. This conception is especially appealing in today's society considering how many people believe that the newest generation is inhumane, emotionless and detached. It's almost as if they are just robots constantly on auto-pilot not unknowing of how to feel anything but the numbness that consumes their daily life, yet that is not 100 percent true for everyone according to this article. In the article I was surprised by one of the points pointed out in the article that “In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country there is only one book available for every 300 children”(First Book organization). This is especially hard for me to understand considering the neighborhood I grew up in as a small child in California. When I was a small child I lived with my Nana and Uncle, for the first 7 years of my life, in a very low income neighborhood and I had at least one book available for me to read, whether it be Dr. Seuss or the story of Paddington Bear,so it's difficult to wrap my head around the fact that most of the children I would play with didn't have a single book in their home.

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    1. This is Ne'Key a by the way I don't know why it posted it under the username Unknown.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  55. I had always familiarized myself with the idea that literature could have a big impact on me but I never knew to what extent. This article made me realize why we emphasize the importance of literature to any age because it has such a big impact. I was surprised when the article talked about the significance of expanding the range of books from which we read. I had always felt that the easy little fiction books I had read as a child were useless but, reading that it could help develop relationships and connections really surprised me. This article made me appreciate all forms of reading because, even if I don’t realize it, the outcome of reading will always be beneficial.

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  56. I like the article that you had us read. It forced me to think about some things in a different way than I have before. One of the main points that I believe the article was trying to make was that reading has a positive effect on everyone. It was showing that bullies do not read, and if they do, it does not usually involve fiction. The article was showing that those who invest their time in reading have more empathy and are able to view the world in a different way than those who do not read. I can relate to the findings that are shown in this article. I used to be an avid reader, and I have been told that I am more empathetic than other people I associate with. I am able to see what life could be like when I read fiction stories. This may make me more empathetic than others, because I see how the world could be and how I want it to be, and I am able to compare it to reality and how the world actually is. Overall, I agree most of what is said in this article, and I believe that it is very effective and eye opening.

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  57. Being a reader all my life and reading more books than I can remember this article brought out points I had noticed in myself and others who read just as much as I did. It was an interesting read and made me think of what other things that could be behavioral changing in a person after reading fiction and how they treat other people after finishing those stories.

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  58. This article makes a lot of sense and really explains why people can become so attached to books, and the characters within them. I have been reading for as long as I can remember and I have felt this many times. When you can relate to a character and you are invested in the story, you really do feel what they feel. I have always wondered about the impact of reading on development of the human mind and what this article says, I agree with from my own observations. Especially when I was younger, it seemed that simply reading books on your own time helped with consciousness of the world and issues in it, and in every subject of study in school.

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  59. This article really made a connection with me. For as long as I can remember I have imagined myself in books that I've read and become so emotionally attached to their thoughts and feelings that I felt as if it was me. However this article opened my eyes to the theory that reading alters brain chemistry. Now looking back I can see all of the areas both in school and life that having read a decent amount of literature has helped me immensely. One particular example of this is my writing abilities. I never used to be able to write very well but then over time I began to improve in areas such as imagery from all of the imagining I do reading books and picturing the events in my head. I also believe that in my case, my reading of fiction has allowed me to create my own reality to escape to when things get hard. This article not only made so much sense but also opened my eyes to the many other things that reading can do to the brain.

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  60. I enjoyed the connection between bullies and reading but it does make sense. The fat that you can see from someone elses perspective is a huge improvement to our lives and it helps us be more empathetic. It gives us a bigger heart and I never really saw it that way. The article inspires me to read more literature because I admittedly don't read that much.

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  61. I think that the logic of this article is very relatable. As someone who avidly reads books, I often put myself in the characters shoes. I find that this is the method I use when problem-solving, or trying to empathize with those around me. The connections made in the article made a lot of sense to me, and was very interesting. It made me want to know more about what effect reading could have on the things we do in everyday life, such as our knowledge and actions.

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  62. I enjoyed reading this article because it explained something I always noticed. I've noticed that I seem more open minded and empathetic than some of the people I know and all the people I know are open minded and empathetic people. I never realized that it has to do with my reading habits. I've been reading and writing stories since I was little. Reading has always been my way of dealing with reality; by escaping my world to live someone else's for a while. I usually notice things about people that others don't and I can sense other people's emotions and I guess it come from knowledge I've gained from reading. I guess I was surprised to find out that my being more empathetic came from how much I read. I always thought it was just a quality I've had not one I grew more because of fiction.
    It makes me sad to hear about children and adults who don't get to read much since reading provides so many opportunities to learn new things. You learn alot about behavior and body language through reading. It also grows your imagination and inspires new ideas. I think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to read and to get to read books.

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  63. I enjoyed the fact that in the reading it said that these fiction readers are more able to read emotions when looking into their eyes. I know that when they said that people connect and place themselves to sort of feel the emotions of whatever they're reading because I do that with everything! This article was very entertaining and informative I felt like I was learning something new about the joys and positives that come with reading. Kudos to all those amazing readers out there sadly I know that I am not one of those and this kind of makes me regret that.

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  64. I think this was a very interesting article, and I enjoy reading fictional novels when I have a lot of free time so it is nice to know it helps me to be able to empathize with other people and whatever their situation or problems might be. I was surprised to hear how novels like "Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry," would contribute to people empathizing with people that had to deal with racism like that nine year old black girl during the Great Depression that allows the readers to see the events through her terrified perspective as someone is even tarred and feathered that she witnessed. I enjoy reading studies like this that provide a perspective to something that people may not have considered before, such as fictional reading helping us be more human.

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  65. I find this article very true. The fiction text can invoke so many emotions. It is much easier to connect to a fictional character, that can be manipulated by the author to be just what the reader wants/ and or needs to complete the story. Fiction allows for so much freedom and exploration of topics and new worlds. For example look at the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling took our normal world and created a parallel world hidden in the shadows and hidden from the normal people, or as addressed in the books muggles. The article hit this point and I agree with it very strongly.

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  66. I really enjoyed this article, it having been of a very interesting outlook on the impact of books in such things as finding identity and ability to visualize situations. Though I truly enjoyed the bit about not all things can be as finely tuned when only reading fiction, but that you would also need to read nonfiction just as much, and even though I am sure everyone understands that when it is said, it is hard to recognize that when all you want is an escape from the works of life, and you wouldn’t think that nonfiction could be a realistic escape, even if it is. Though it quite surprised me that a connection between reading and the construction of morals could affect things like to become a said “bully” because of little apathy.

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  67. I thought this article was very interesting and educational. As soon as I started reading the introduction I started questioning whether what the author was saying was true or not. I feel like people who read often connect their feelings with the characters in the book as people who do not read they don't get to truly connect with the characters. The "victims" have seen a point of view other than their own by reading, and according to this article science shows that violence is most likely to occur to people who do not read often.

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  68. I thought that this article was very thought provoking that people who read fiction were more likely to be more empathetic. I can see how this might be though. I really thought that it was surprising when the author talked of the book where a girl had to be lab partners with another, weirder girl, but then ended up learning about all of the stuff she had to go through on a daily basis tat made her act the way she did. I've read many a book like this one, and I have found myself thinking about what else could be happening in one's life before I judge or form an opinion about them.

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