Friday, March 28, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 59


If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll have noticed that I've been posting much more lately than normal, and far more fiction than is my standard operating procedure.  I decided to try to read as many of the Whitney Award finalists, all fiction written by LDS authors, as I could before the winners are announced at the end of April.  (You can see all of my reviews of Whitney Award finalists by looking on my Fiction list; they're marked with a *.) Now, I'm somewhat limited by what the two library systems in my area carry, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the Whitney Award finalists they have.

Fiction is usually a quicker read for me than non-fiction, and YA or middle-grade fiction is even quicker, so I've been able to fly through books lately. But there's the complication that several of the Whitney Award finalists are the second book in a series, so I had to read the first book in the series before I could get to the actual finalist. And then some of them already had subsequent installments published, so if I was really into the story, I wanted to finish the series while it was fresh in my mind.

This is easily the longest streak of fiction I've read in a long time and it's been a nice change of pace. I have a couple more weeks' worth of Whitney Award finalists to post and then I'll get back to my more sedate, non-fiction regularity.


Carli Davidson is a photographer who specializes in snapping shots of animals in action.  You can see several portraits of dogs from her recently published book Shake here.  Their poor little faces are so contorted, you can't help but laugh!  Check out the eyes; they are my favorite part.  The slobber...not so much.


Scientific American published this photo essay of 15 portraits of women in science: Marie Curie, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Jane Goodall, Ada King, Sally Ride.  I loved studying the artwork depicting the women I knew and learning about some brilliant women scientists I'd never heard of before.


Headlines like this one - "Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer" - always catch my attention.
“Deep reading” — as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the Web — is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. Its disappearance would imperil the intellectual and emotional development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them.
The article cites several recent studies that show that "individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective." One study that looked specifically at children found that "the more stories they had read to them, the keener their “theory of mind,” or mental model of other people’s intentions."  That's worth the extra effort to read aloud to your kids, I think.

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