Reading Literary Fiction Will Boost Your Empathy I.Q.

October 9, 2013

litficWant to increase your emotional intelligence? You might want to put down that Danielle Steel book and start reading Chekhov. Researchers from New York’s New School for Social Research recently published a study in the journal Science which found that “people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction.” The reason according to the researchers is that “literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.” Louise Erdrich’s novel The Round House which was used in the experiment, commented:  “the researchers found a way to prove true the intangible benefits of literary fiction”, adding: “Thank God, the research didn’t find that novels increased tooth decay or blocked up your arteries.” Read more on this fascinating study in this NYT article.


National Book Award Winners: Erdrich and Boo

November 15, 2012

Louise Erdrich has won the National Book Award for fiction for her novel “The Round House” about a woman raped in a Native American community. Katherine Boo has received the nonfiction prize for “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity,” which focuses on the poor in India and government corruption. Competition for both categories was especially fierce this year with several prominent authors considered for the honors. See the NY Times article.

Shira S.

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