I loved Gottschall from the first line of this book; I quickly saw he was a book fan geeking out about how awesome fiction is and I cheerfully followeI loved Gottschall from the first line of this book; I quickly saw he was a book fan geeking out about how awesome fiction is and I cheerfully followed along.
I'm always going to fangirl over books on books -- I can't help it. I love readers and I love reading about reading. Gottschall takes joy in not just reading, but all forms of storytelling, from country music songs to commercials and films. He examines how fiction -- storytelling -- helps us individually and globally.
Trivia fans will love this book because it is chock full of tidbits to toss out at your next party or family gathering (for example, a 2009 study showed more people were scarred by scary films than real world horrors like 9/11 or the Rwandan genocide.) Gottschall's writing style is casual, funny, friendly, and approachable and he references contemporary and classic fictions. He breaks down scientific studies on neurons, behavior, emotions and offers a trenchant and funny argument in support of fiction in all its forms.
In addition to being a great read for anyone who likes fiction and doesn't mind a dip into popular non-fiction, I think this would make a unique book club pick. Breezy readable, this book celebrates what we all love about storytelling, and provides great themes and ideas to chew and discuss. Gift this book for the bookish college grad in your life or the light reader who needs a nudge to pick up a novel because page 66 offers a very good reason why: "In one study, they [researchers] found that heavy fiction readers had better social skills -- as measured by tests of social and empathetic ability -- than those who mainly read nonfiction." Novel readers rejoice: we're awesome....more
A meaningful read when I was 19; I don't remember too much now, other than the gorilla and the Old Testament stuff. Not eager for a reread, though, noA meaningful read when I was 19; I don't remember too much now, other than the gorilla and the Old Testament stuff. Not eager for a reread, though, nor interested in the sequel. Still, a good eye-opening/mind-opening read for something raised Catholic....more
The basis of this immensely entertaining book is McRaney's blog (which is, unsurprisingly, immensely entertaining). A journalist who was inspired by aThe basis of this immensely entertaining book is McRaney's blog (which is, unsurprisingly, immensely entertaining). A journalist who was inspired by an intro to psychology course, McRaney cogently explains the various ways we delude ourselves and act irrationally. Each essay opens with a 'Misconception' followed by 'The Truth', and then a thorough explanation. As a result, each chapter is a self-contained gem packed with nerdy trivia and fascinating science. They don't necessarily build off each other, so you can browse the essays at your leisure, picking what grabs you the most. Topics range from procrastination, brand loyalty, cult indoctrination, to the illusion of control, the bystander effect, and the straw man fallacy.
McRaney's writing is smart but funny, loaded with tons of fascinating psychological studies and pop culture references. I found myself missing the illustrations that can be found on McRaney's blog posts but otherwise, I can't complain about this collection. I'm running out of adjectives to express the joy I felt with each revelation (not to mention the horror, bafflement, and shock). This is a wildly fun book that promises to surprise, amaze, and educate you!...more