Optimal Book Dosage

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black_son_of_gray
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by black_son_of_gray » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:23 pm

For context of the thread's discussion:

In 2013, adult Americans read: a median of 5 books, an average of 12 books, and 24% didn't read a single book. Survey results found here. There is a pretty good skew to this distribution... meaning there is probably a decent percentage (maybe top %5?) who read a book per week or more.

As to @jp and @7Wb5's point, there is some evidence of gender preferences. Apparently, male authors are read equally by male and female readers, but female authors are read mostly by female readers.

Scott 2
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:25 pm

I'm not surprised people here skew higher.

For me - Podcasts and videos have replaced the information stream books used to provide.

Thinking back - my interest in fiction was also wiped out by public education. I loved reading through grade school and middle school. I remember sneaking books under my desk during eighth-grade algebra.

The shift came with freshman year English class. It was my first experience suffering through "great novels". I had no interest in Lord of the Flies or The Great Gatsby, let alone perspective to offer commentary. Unlike Jacob, I figured out how to look up the "right" answers and complied. But I never resumed reading fiction of my own free will.

Algorithms are hardcore reading, but fascinating. Knuth is a great example of a text requiring deep study to appreciate. I still remember the "introduction" book used during my 400 level CS algorithms class. Despite the title, it was over 1000 pages of dense concepts. Algorithms are a topic where expert guidance and experiential learning becomes essential.

trailblazer
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by trailblazer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:02 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:25 pm
Thinking back - my interest in fiction was also wiped out by public education. I loved reading through grade school and middle school. I remember sneaking books under my desk during eighth-grade algebra.
It might be interesting to re-read one or two of the books you loved in middle school and then explore from there.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:35 am

@trailblazer:

I think that is an excellent suggestion. The author of the "Happiness Project" had great success with a book group that was based on adults re-reading their favorite young adult, or even intermediate level, novels.

I was also intrigued by your barbell approach. I circle back around to some of my core favorites, but not nearly that frequently. Another barbell method that might prove beneficial for somebody like Scott or Jacob who early gave up on reading literature might be to explore some "Great Novels You Can Read In 1 Day!" lists. I could offer some suggestions later, but I have to catch a bus!

trailblazer
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by trailblazer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:17 pm

@7w5 - thanks! It actually got me thinking back to what books I loved at what age. At age 7 I would have gushed about Beverly Cleary, teens John Grisham and late 20s, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Today, hmmm . . . mostly blogs, actually.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:42 pm

Okay, here is my first attempt list. Since I had already read a great many modern and classic novels before I was forced to sit through 10th grade English, I knew that the standard selection assigned as reading was pretty crap. The problem is that whatever committee makes such decisions has to choose novels that are at adult reading level (post-8th grade), absent any sort of racy or controversial passages, and possessing a very obvious "theme" to be analyzed. This list is not so much novels that INTJs might like, but maybe more like selection that many intelligent 14 year old boys might like.

1) Motherless Brooklyn- Jonathan Lethem

2) Portnoy's Complaint- Philip Roth

3) The Deerslayer- James Fenimore Cooper

4) Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

5) Breakfast of Champions- Kurt Vonnegut

6) The Virginian- Owen Wister

7) The Things They Carried- Tim O' Brien

8) The Big Sleep- Raymond Chandler

9) The Martian Chronicles- Ray Bradbury

10) A Clockwork Orange- Anthony Burgess

Scott 2
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:57 pm

Going back to the books I enjoyed could be interesting, something to consider when I eventually transition from working full time.

OTCW
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by OTCW » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:28 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:57 pm
Going back to the books I enjoyed could be interesting, something to consider when I eventually transition from working full time.
I just reread A Wrinkle in Time because I stumbled onto it at a thrift store.

Could be an interesting past time to go back to what I liked as a kid.

jacob
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by jacob » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:30 pm

@7 - Well, I've read 4 of those already.

Also to note, I read/have read more fiction than a normal person (but that's setting the bar low), but relatively speaking, fiction is low priority on my list ... and more precisely, I still don't get much out of it in terms of personal growth, applied insights, etc. relative to non-fiction.

The bibliography of the ERE book has 5/72 (~7%) fiction books. That's a pretty small fraction.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimal Book Dosage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:23 pm

@jacob:

Well, you have me beat since I have only read 18 of the 72 books on your list :lol:

Actually, like many people, I flipped over at mid-life from primarily being a reader of fiction to primarily being a reader of non-fiction. I also made slight flip from INTP to more ENTP, so my interest in real people, as opposed to fictional characters, has increased. That said, I still maintain that there is something to be gained from reading very good fiction that is not directly comparable to reading non-fiction or conversing with real people. Maybe what jennypenny was attempting to communicate has to do with the fact that the reader is more in the passenger seat while reading fiction, and more in the driver seat while reading non-fiction.

For me, the value of having read a great deal of literature is found in the fact that I will often find myself recalling scenes or passages from a novel when I find myself in similar circumstances in my own life, and that act of recollection will make me feel more like I am a part of a greater humanity. The pieces come together just like when any other sort of puzzle becomes more clear. For instance, I read a novel which featured a scene in which the protagonist was exhibiting some rather rough behavior while distributing food to refugee children in Africa, and then a few years later I found myself distributing government food to recent immigrant children in America and behaving in a manner more rough than that I would prefer to exhibit, and I thought "Ah, yes. Now I see."

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