Tag Archives | Books

Reading Changes Your Brain

Concentrating (3460165669)I highly doubt that reading this post will do too much to you, but new research shows that reading novels definitely does change your brain with lingering effects. Carol Clark-Emory reports for Futurity:

After reading a novel, actual changes linger in the brain, at least for a few days, report researchers.

Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, appear in the journal Brain Connectivity.

“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”

Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the fMRI scanner.

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‘Anarchist Cookbook’ Author Wants It Banned In Wake Of Latest Murder

Anarchist cookbookOne suspects that more than a few disinfonauts have perused a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook since it was first published in 1970. It quickly became something of an underground classic, but author William Powell later disavowed it. On the book’s Amazon page he is quoted as saying:

During the years that followed its publication, I went to university, married, became a father and a teacher of adolescents. These developments had a profound moral and spiritual effect on me. I found that I no longer agreed with what I had written earlier and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ideas that I had put my name to. In 1976 I became a confirmed Anglican Christian and shortly thereafter I wrote to Lyle Stuart Inc. explaining that I no longer held the views that were expressed in the book and requested that The Anarchist Cookbook be taken out of print. The response from the publisher was that the copyright was in his name and therefore such a decision was his to make – not the author’s.

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Mike Tyson Has Better Taste In Books Than You Do

Picture: Octal (CC)

Picture: Octal (CC)

Mike Tyson isn’t just a former champion heavyweight boxer, he’s also a heavyweight reader, too. What are some of the books on Tyson’s nightstand right now? Napoleon’s letters to Josephine, a little Kierkegaard, and more than a few volumes devoted to Alexander the Great.

Via Open Culture:

I read everything about Alexander, so I downloaded “Alexander the Great: The Macedonian Who Conquered the World” by Sean Patrick. Everyone thinks Alexander was this giant, but he was really a runt. “I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity,” he said. I so related to that, coming from Brownsville, Brooklyn.

What did I have to look forward to—going in and out of prison, maybe getting shot and killed, or just a life of scuffling around like a common thief? Alexander, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, even a cold pimp like Iceberg Slim—they were all mama’s boys.

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From The Mouths Of Murderers (How I Accidentally Started the Sixties)

This is the first chapter from Howard Bloom’s new book How I Accidentally Started the Sixtiesabout which Timothy Leary said,
“This is a monumental, epic, glorious literary achievement. Every page, every paragraph, every sentence sparkles with captivating metaphors, delightful verbal concoctions, alchemical insights, philosophic whimsy, absurd illogicals, scientific comedy routines, relentless, non-stop waves of hilarity.   The comparisons to James Joyce are inevitable and undeniable.  Finnegans Wake wanders through the rock ‘n roll sixties.  Wow! Whew! Wild! Wonderful!”

(This stuff really happened. Several names have been changed to protect me from my attorney. However any lack of resemblance to actual people, living or dead, is solely due to the incompetence of the author.) 

006_bloom in RAGS 1970 #1

 

It feels a little funny to drag these stories from the depths of memory now that us baby boomers are all supposed to be picking out the patterns for our tombstones, counting our wrinkles, and trying to replicate the secret of Ronald Reagan’s perpetually dark hair.… Read the rest

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Is The Black Book The World’s Quantifiably Best Literary Purchase?

black_book

For sale via Lulu, if you are concerned about getting your money’s worth this holiday season, author/artist Jean Keller’s the Black Book is the only gift you should consider for the book lover in your family:

Ink used for digital printing is one of the most precious substances in the world. A single gallon of ink costs over four thousand dollars.

However, the price of a book is not calculated according to the amount of ink used in production. A Lulu book of blank pages costs an artist as much to produce as a book filled with text or photographs. Furthermore, as the number of pages increases, the price of each page decreases.

A book containing the maximum number of pages printed entirely in black ink therefore results in the lowest cost and maximum value for the artist. Combining these features, buyers of The Black Book are guaranteed that they are getting the best possible value for their money.

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Library Copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tests Positive for Herpes and Cocaine

kittygreyA library copy of popular erotica novel Fifty Shades of Grey tested positive for the herpes virus and cocaine. There are far too many easy jokes I could make about this. Just supply some of your own in the comment section below. Just wash your hands afterward.

Via Time

Two Belgian university professors decided to apply their knowledge of toxicology screenings to the 10 most borrowed books at the Antwerp library. Each book underwent bacteriology and toxicology tests, and the findings reveal that library books are even more germ-covered than you expected.

While the experts found that all 10 books contained traces of cocaine–enough so that people who touched the books wouldn’t feel the effects, but might test positive for the drug–they also found something pretty gross: Fifty Shades of Grey, your weird aunt’s favorite mainstream erotic series, tested positive for traces of the herpes virus.

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New Book from Daily Grail’s Greg Taylor Suggests There’s Probably an Afterlife

stop-worrying-webcoverJust a quick note to let you know that our friend Greg Taylor over at Daily Grail has a new book available for purchase: Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife:

Did Steve Jobs have a vision of the afterlife on his death-bed? Does quantum physics suggest that our mind might survive the physical death of our body? How do some near-death experiencers ‘see’ outside of their bodies at a time when they are supposed to be dead?

In Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, author Greg Taylor covers all these questions and more. From Victorian seance rooms through to modern scientific laboratories, Taylor surveys the fascinating history of research into the survival of human consciousness, and returns with a stunning conclusion: that maybe we should stop worrying so much about death, because there probably is an afterlife.

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Books Dictated From Beyond The Grave

books

Via Mental Floss, literary works that came to us from the other side:

  • The Sorry Tale (Pearl Lenore Curran and Patience Worth). Starting in the early 1910s, Pearl Lenore Curran and her friend Emily Grant Hutchings worked the Ouija board together twice a week. On July 8, 1913, Patience Worth made her presence known. According to the frantic spelling across the Ouija board, Patience was born in either 1649 or 1694 “across the sea” and was killed in an Indian raid. When really inspired, the Patience-Pearl duo could spell out about 1500 words an hour, which is how she came to be the author of books including The Sorry Tale and Hope Trueblood.
  • God Bless U, Daughter (Mildred Swanson and Mark Twain). Unwilling to let his deceased status slow him down, Samuel Clemens allegedly contacted Mildred Swanson of Independence, Missouri. In the late 1960s, Swanson wrote a book called God Bless U, Daughter, a diary of her planchette conversations with Clemens.
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The Metaphysics Of Ping-Pong

Table tennis

[Disinfo ed.'s note: The following is an excerpt from the Prelude to The Metaphysics Of Ping-Pong, by Guido Mina di Sospiro, published by Yellow Jersey Press, Random House, and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book Award 2013.]

During a summer some years ago our friend Rupert Sheldrake — the controversial philosopher of science — his wife Jill and their two boys, Merlin and Cosmos, paid us a visit. I gave the boys rackets and showed them a few strokes. It was instant karma: they were hooked. Back in London, they persuaded their father to buy them a table and he himself has become a player. Every time I went to visit them there were the inevitable ping-pong matches. I’d play for hours with both sons and with Rupert, too. It was fun and, surprisingly, also intellectually stimulating. There was something unusual about the essence of the game that escaped us. Eventually, after some speculative discussions about it, we realized what was intriguing us: the fact that ping-pong is strikingly non-Euclidean.… Read the rest

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The Next Burgeoning Literary Trend: Dinosaur Erotica

dinosaur eroticaYes, this is real and apparently quite popular. A sub-genre of the fast-growing “monster erotica” book realm, softcore dinosaur porn is epitomized by authors Alara Branwen and Christie Sims, who claim to earn six figures churning out e-books for their obsessed fans. Jezebel offers a taste:

Azog stood, clad only in damp buckskins, waiting for the beast to slash at her torso until she lay helpless and bleeding on the damp cave floor. Instead, it reached out with a classed hand to snatch at her damp animal hide as it clung to one shoulder. Azog felt the kiss of sharp claws against her skin as the hide slid from her shoulder and exposed on naked, heaving breast.

A reptilian tongue, stiff and hot, dashed out to lick at the tender, naked flesh so suddenly exposed. Azog gasped at the touch, then gradually relaxed as her body warmed to the intoxicating sensation of the beast’s flesh against her own.

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