Literature matters: Does reading make you smarter? by Patricia Vieira
In 2005, I decided to go to Korea to teach English. I had just finished a cold and magical year in Prague, and I didn’t want to return to the States yet. I was figuring something out. Some of my friends in Prague were going on to Poland, or Turkey, or the Stans. I looked farther East. I was…
Matthew Salesses, whose forthcoming novel-in-stories I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying (excerpt here) will publish in February, has started writing a book (on Tumblr) “(not) about adoption.” As Salesses notes in the blog’s first post, his new project “is not to be a memoir, or an op-ed, or a travel narrative, or an answer to anyone …This is to be the story of finding out.”
Fall has arrived: the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder… It’s the perfect season to cuddle up in a cozy corner with a book. We can’t wait!
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“In a 2006 study published in the journal NeuroImage, researchers in Spain asked participants to read words with strong odor associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. When subjects looked at the Spanish words for ‘perfume’ and ‘coffee,’ their primary olfactory cortex lit up; when they saw the words that mean ‘chair’ and ‘key,’ this region remained dark. The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like ‘a rough day’ are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like ‘The singer had a velvet voice’ and ‘He had leathery hands’ roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like ‘The singer had a pleasing voice’ and ‘He had strong hands,’ did not.”
— The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Murphy Paul