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I need a culture fix!

If I were to choose 10 fiction and 10 non-fiction books to read within the next year to make me a better, more well-rounded conversationalist (for argument's sake, let's say within a college-educated professional audience), what books would give me the most bang for my buck? [more inside]
posted by dynamiiiite on Apr 23, 2013 - 37 answers

 

Can you identify this unusual neurological (?) reading phenomenon?

It's when "words fall away to pictures" occasionally , perhapps particularly when reading the text of physical books, usually novels, of a large size. It doesn't happen with reading online or e-book readers or textbooks. It's as if the visual imagination (without deliberate activation) overrides what's actually been seen by the eyes, so that the story unfolding is actually being "watched" in the mind's eye in an immersive, vivid way where one becomes virtually unaware of the actual text print and the outside world (so it's not even like watching a movie in a cinema, where there is more consciousness of the real surroundings). This is not just getting immersed in reading - the strong, and not deliberately activated, visualization is crucial. Based on anecdotal evidence, what I'm describing (not from my personal experience) appears to be a rarer rather than a common experience. Anyone have ideas what this neurological (?) trait might be?
posted by zresearch on Apr 20, 2013 - 18 answers

Best way to gauge comprehension of written training docs by employees?

Reading is important, and I want my team to do it as part of training. And then I want to know what they understand, how much they assimilate, what conclusions they reach from the articles and documents I am sending them. What are some good ways for me to accomplish that? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 17, 2013 - 6 answers

reading glasses, .50 strength, how to search?

Searching for [reading glasses .50] gets me 2.50, etc., on both Google and Amazon. ReadingGlasses.com has expensive ones, but I'm hoping to find good, low-strength reading glasses for the same price one would pay in a drug store. Strength .5 and/or .25. Any specific recommendations or search tips? (and what is the unit of measurement, anyway?)
posted by amtho on Apr 16, 2013 - 8 answers

All the world's a book, and all the men and women merely characters

Recommend novels to help me learn more about the world! [more inside]
posted by therumsgone on Apr 16, 2013 - 29 answers

Can you identify this from Carl Sagan?

Years ago (years!) I recall a TV show with Carl Sagan wherein he was standing in a library and made the point that if he read x books per week for x number of years then he would have read a small fraction of the books that have ever been written. His point was that even a well-read person can only ingest a fraction of what is out there. I've always like that quote and would like to find this scene on YouTube or another site... Anyone?
posted by gilast on Apr 7, 2013 - 3 answers

Looking for wonderful books I can read to my kids, one chapter at a time

My kids (a boy and a girl) are now five years old, and my wife or I read to them every night before bed. I'd like to start reading larger books to them which we can stretch out throughout a week or more, by reading them a chapter a night. Please help me put together a great reading list of age-appropriate books that will capture their imaginations and inspire happy dreams. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2013 - 61 answers

Taking Suggestions for Library of Low Stakes Fiction

My taste for bleak fiction is making me miserable. Help me lighten it up. [more inside]
posted by murfed13 on Mar 18, 2013 - 19 answers

Crime, Insured!

Might you recommend crime fiction written by women? [more inside]
posted by Gin and Comics on Mar 16, 2013 - 14 answers

Poetry for Life

I am turning 27 in two days. Inspired by this, I want to ask for your help in compiling a list of poems that celebrate turning older each year. [more inside]
posted by pleasebekind on Mar 13, 2013 - 17 answers

Looking for Books of the Ancients

So I'm jonesing for some science fiction of a particular nature. Specifically stories that deal in the Precursors trope. [more inside]
posted by SilverTail on Mar 3, 2013 - 16 answers

Book recommendations for 13 year-old girls

I run a once-a-week book club for 8 grade 7 girls. We likely have funding and time to read one more book and I'd really like to make it something special. [more inside]
posted by iftheaccidentwill on Feb 26, 2013 - 46 answers

What is a good reading list to bring me up to speed in modern feminism?

I am a white gay dude. My goal is to bring myself up to speed on feminism (and important streams in gender and whatnot). What books should I read? What blogs should I be reading? I want to be able to speak more coherently to these issues with an understanding of the history, and of the current theory.
posted by wooh on Feb 24, 2013 - 15 answers

Help me find a word in Infinite Jest

While reading Infinite Jest, I looked up a word in the dictionary only to discover that the example sentence in the definition on my Kindle was exactly the same sentence I had just read in the book. [more inside]
posted by :-) on Feb 20, 2013 - 5 answers

Suggest me some great (but not overt) combinations to read together.

Last week I read David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (thanks to this FPP), while in the middle of reading Moby Dick. I found them resonating together so well: the high tragedy mixed with low comedy, the elaborate descriptive asides, the playing with formatting, the casual authorial self-hatred, the obsession with morality, to say nothing of the mechanics of the ship and the sea. All this without a single over reference back to Melville. What are some other great co-reads (or movies/TV/opera/album/etc.) to get that enriching resonance? Subtle is good: think tone, theme, shape more than plot or character. If you've caught Laurence Weschler's McSweeney's series of Convergences (published in book form here), that's more what I mean. The reader/viewer makes the connections without being led by the author (So, for instance, King Lear & Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres are too overtly linked). Bonus points for something that goes well with Cloud Atlas (the book, not the movie).
posted by rikschell on Feb 18, 2013 - 17 answers

What publications give you an advantage in your line of work?

What publications give solid advantages in which lines of work when read regularly? A few examples might be McKinsey when read by HR managers, A List Apart when read by designers, Hacker News when read by programmers, and Poynter when read by journalists. What else is there in these fields and in others that puts a person ahead?
posted by michaelh on Feb 17, 2013 - 16 answers

Post-Valentine's Day Reading

Just too late for Valentine's Day, recommend me some awesome fantasy novels with satisfying romances. [more inside]
posted by WidgetAlley on Feb 15, 2013 - 18 answers

Books of my youth filter

Name that young adult fantasy novel: Two boys who are enemies at school are transported to some magical scenario where they have to work together. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Feb 13, 2013 - 4 answers

Ace plays for table readings

Week-long cottage holiday with friends coming up. We're planning a table reading. Last year's "Macbeth and margaritas" night was a roaring success, but we want to branch out. Recommend us some great plays! [more inside]
posted by stuck on an island on Feb 13, 2013 - 11 answers

How to increase reading fluency?

An adult friend needs help becoming a faster reader. She's not interested in speed-reading classes because she doesn't want to learn how to skim: she wants to learn how to read more fluently. How does she learn to do that? [more inside]
posted by colfax on Feb 12, 2013 - 21 answers

What to read?

Seeking recommendations for fiction that features matriarchy / female led societies.
posted by travelwithcats on Feb 4, 2013 - 36 answers

we call it a women's college, not a girls' school

I'm looking for books like Anne of the Island and Daddy-Long-Legs. [more inside]
posted by chaiminda on Feb 1, 2013 - 16 answers

Biographies on the influential & powerful w/ a focus on early life

My favorite kinds of biographies have political/military figures from classical antiquity or America, with a focus on their intellectual development. I really enjoyed Dreams from My Father and Plutarch's Lives because they really delve into the intellectual development of their subjects. Biographies that span someone's entire lifespan are fine, as long as early life is well covered. Any recommendations?
posted by tomtheblackbear on Jan 31, 2013 - 3 answers

The Seven Bridges of Königsberg in 200 Words or Less

Can you recommend short, easy-to-understand math writing I can read before bed? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Jan 29, 2013 - 12 answers

Recommend Fiction Books for 8-yr old. As usual, special details inside

Help me find a decent set of books for an 8-yr old niece who is heavily into reading (touch wood). Harry Potter, The Hobbit and some other books are not for her at this point. [more inside]
posted by theobserver on Jan 24, 2013 - 68 answers

Quoting from literature in conversations

Does anyone memorize quotes from literary works and use them in conversations? [more inside]
posted by eisenl on Jan 24, 2013 - 35 answers

Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read?

Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read? I read it probably as recently as last year. I don't remember if it's a short story or an incident in a novel. [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8 on Jan 17, 2013 - 6 answers

How best to come calling at Downton Abbey?

Highclere Castle has become quite famous due to the success of Downton Abbey. As a result, the castle is open to ticketed tourists on particular days over the year, mostly the summer. Now, this is all well and good, but for folks visiting from across the Atlantic, a loaded question arises: Given that Highclere in and of itself is a very small village, which of the surrounding cities would serve best as a base of visiting operations for a day or two? [more inside]
posted by grabbingsand on Jan 10, 2013 - 12 answers

Toooo maaany booooks

How do you decide what books to read? Recommendations? Reviews? Go to the bookstore and read a chapter? I often find myself overwhelmed with the zillions of choices. How do you narrow it down?
posted by SampleSize on Jan 9, 2013 - 40 answers

Documentaries and other films about writers, libraries and books wanted!

I'm especially interested in films about writers of color and writers from the global south. Any kind of film is fine - need not be a documentary. But a progressive/radical/critical outlook is appreciated! Particularly looking for films that will appeal to an intelligent but not super-theorized audience - ie, that documentary about Derrida is not what we're looking for, and even the recent one about Zizek is an edge case. [more inside]
posted by Frowner on Jan 9, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me find my long lost book.

Finding a long lost book with a grey cover and very sparse details. [more inside]
posted by trogdole on Dec 27, 2012 - 8 answers

Reading Aloud Allowed?

What are the legal rights and obligations of someone reading aloud in public from a published book? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 24, 2012 - 5 answers

Year in long reading 2012

I have an ~18 hour flight ahead of me and I am compiling a DIY ebook of longform journalism/non-fiction for my Kindle to get me through it. So, what is the best thing you read this year? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Dec 21, 2012 - 11 answers

Non-fiction recs SVP

I am a reader of fiction. I read a lot, and I read all sorts of fiction genres. I do not, however, read non-fiction because the couple of times I tried to I found them desperately dull. I am sure that can’t be the reality for all non-fiction books… right? Teach me something interesting and make me learn to like non-fiction please. Specific requests inside... [more inside]
posted by PuppetMcSockerson on Dec 18, 2012 - 83 answers

Help me decide which Stephen King book to read first.

I want to get to know Stephen King! Which book should I read first? [more inside]
posted by bookmammal on Dec 16, 2012 - 42 answers

Work to get in, work to get out.

Labor of death much like the labor of being born? [more inside]
posted by itsacover on Dec 16, 2012 - 5 answers

Help me find my Fringe Reading Companion

I just started watching Fringe. I'm only about three-quarters of the way through Season 2, so please no spoilers. What I'm looking for is companion reading material. [more inside]
posted by duckus on Dec 14, 2012 - 14 answers

Blind me with science.

Help me discover recent 'Best Seller' scientific journal articles to read in 2013. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Dec 10, 2012 - 5 answers

Books about fighting.

Looking for good, critical books and resources on martial arts and fighting. I prefer them to be academic enough to have survived peer review, but will take what I can get. Anything martial arts related would do, I'm interested in understanding martial arts and fighting in a more general sense. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee on Dec 8, 2012 - 10 answers

High School Book Club Recommendations

I'm looking for specific book recommendations for high school exchange students. [more inside]
posted by trueluk on Dec 4, 2012 - 3 answers

What should i pack and what should i do - India/Yoga edition

Going to a retreat in Kerala in Jan 2013. What do i need to take with me so i'm not the ill-equipped and inappropriate lady everyone rolls their eyes at? (Daytime is yoga and ayuverda therapy, weekends off for sightseeing, eating out down the beach or in the local town in the evening) Also, any recommendations of sightseeing and anything interesting to read beforehand? [more inside]
posted by moreteaplease on Dec 3, 2012 - 4 answers

28 and having cognitive issues

Has anyone gone through a period of time where their memories and concept of time has been really off. Sometimes it feels like my memory for things is really off but it is so subtle that I don't notice it. The other part of this that when I read something (even the newspaper) I don't retain what I'm reading. I'll read through an article and not have the gist of what was written. I can go back but all I see are details rather than how it makes up a cohesive whole. I think that I may have problems with abstract thinking. Has anyone had issues like this and if so how do you navigate around this? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. By the way I am in my late twenties so Alzheimer's disease is very unlikely.
posted by anonymous on Nov 25, 2012 - 10 answers

Recommended reading

If you like Terry Pratchett, you'll love... ? (You are 10.) [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 22, 2012 - 65 answers

Any one know of a one handed book stand?

So, I would like to start reading some books lying down in my bed at night. The biggest problem I have with it is holding the book properly. I usually hold it in one hand using my fingers to constantly to hold the pages from collapsing or applying pressure to sides of the book to keep it open. It is super annoying as some of you traditional book readers must have faced. I am not sure if this is a problem for e-book readers but I can imagine it to be lot more convenient. So I am looking for a small light weight book stand that is operated with ONE HAND. Please suggest any. Thanks!
posted by SoltanG on Nov 20, 2012 - 13 answers

Book Binger

I love to read. I love to watch t.v. I don't love binge reading and binge t.v. watching. How do I stop this? [more inside]
posted by Sassyfras on Nov 15, 2012 - 9 answers

Can someone recommend me a good philosophy book please.

Can someone recommend me a good philosophy book please. [more inside]
posted by sockpim on Nov 5, 2012 - 14 answers

What's some of the best, most illuminating, and most entertaining writing about conservation bio on the net?

What are some of the best technical blogs out there in conservation biology, biogeography, evolutionary biology, and ecology? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Oct 29, 2012 - 4 answers

Beach reading for 2012

Beach reading. 2012 edition. Difficulty - Must be available for purchase for Kindle in Australia. [more inside]
posted by arha on Oct 28, 2012 - 15 answers

Help with focus when reading dull, dry, and lengthy scientific papers or texts please. Yet another attention deficit question.

How do I maintain my focus and make sure my comprehension is maximized when reading (required) heavy or something I don't find terribly interesting? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Oct 18, 2012 - 26 answers

A portable device for reading and drawing.

Please recommend a device (or devices) for two activities: reading and drawing. And by reading, I don't just mean plain English text. I also have some special demands regarding drawing. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Oct 15, 2012 - 7 answers

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