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It is certainly worthwhile dipping into these for reference purposes but don't allow them to become dominating. Remember that communication and regular feedback, above all, are the keys to success. This is a clear and authoritative guide to essay essay, project and report writing at university level which we would strongly recommend. In fact, even the various senses in which we use the word captures this: to "read" means not only to decipher a given and learned set of symbols in a mechanistic way, but it also suggests that very human act of finding meaning, of "interpreting" in the sense of "reading" a person or situation.
It is "spiritual reading" -- not merely decoding -- that unleashes the power that good literature has to reach into our souls and, in so doing, draw and connect us to others.
This is why the way we read can be even more important than what we read. As I relayed in my literary and spiritual memoir, the books I have read over a lifetime have shaped my worldview, my beliefs, and my life as much as anything else.
Rather, the stories from these books and so many others became part of my life story and then, gradually, part of my very soul. Peterson explains in Eat this Book, "Reading is an immense gift, but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul -- eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight." Peterson describes this ancient art of lectio divina, or spiritual reading, as "reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes ...
love and wisdom." More than the books themselves, it is the skills and the desire to read in this way which comprise the essential gift we must give our students and ourselves.
To advance her thesis, Paul cites studies by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto.
Taken together, their findings suggest that those "who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective." It's the kind of thing writer Joyce Carol Oates is talking about when she says, "Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul." Oatley and Mar's conclusions are supported, Paul argues, by recent studies in neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science.It is in this distinction that we find the real difference between the warring factions in what might be a chicken-or-egg scenario: Does great literature make people better, or are good people drawn to reading great literature?Currie is asking whether reading great literature makes readers more moral -- a topic taken up by Aristotle in Poetics (which makes an ethical apology for literature).Currie cites as counter-evidence the well-read, highly cultured Nazis.The problem with this (aside from falling into the trap of Godwin's Law) is that the Nazis were, in fact, acting in strict conformity to the dictates of a moral code, albeit the perverse code of the Third Reich. This book has been well used over the years but it is still very useful because it contains helpful appendices which students can be directed to for out-of-class study (for example, spelling, punctuation, irregular verbs, etc). 2006., Addison-Wesley, New York This book is a very popular classroom textbook for teachers, but it also has useful exercises that can be undertaken at home. It is especially useful for anyone who needs to write up a research paper.But Paul examines the connection of great literature not to our moral selves, but to our spiritual selves.What good literature can do and does do -- far greater than any importation of morality -- is touch the human soul.In fact, reading good literature won't make a reader a better person any more than sitting in a church, synagogue or mosque will. From Great Expectations I learned the power the stories we tell ourselves have to do either harm and good, to ourselves and to others; from Death of a Salesman I learned the dangers of a corrupt version of the American Dream; from Madame Bovary, I learned to embrace the real world rather than escaping into flights of fancy; from Gulliver's Travels I learned the profound limitations of my own finite perspective; and from Jane Eyre I learned how to be myself.These weren't mere intellectual or moral lessons, although they certainly may have begun as such.