Quotations on Generosity

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“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

                                                                        Eleanor Roosevelt

 

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“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others,
the more he has for his own.”

                                                                        Lao Tzu

 

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“Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

                                                                        Dalai Lama

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Benefits of Reading: Revisited

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I believe this topic to be important, so I wish to revisit it again.

I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life.  Reading is one of the most essential and, at the same time, the most sublime of pleasures.  Reading can take us places we have never been, tell us stories we have not known, and let us experience the lives of many other people.

In addition to the pleasures of reading, I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. As a Professor of English Literature, I teach many books in my courses at Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College–and for me, this is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life, to share books and explore them with students.

While there are a myriad of ways to learn in life, reading still stands out as the primary, and most efficient, way of gaining information. (I am not in any way discounting the importance of learning through experience.) Readers can learn about areas of study that exist far outside of their particular areas of understanding or expertise. For example, I am a student of English literature, but I love reading books about quantum mechanics and the extraordinarily esoteric world of String Theory. I do not understand these ideas the way a physicist would, but I can still appreciate the ideas from books aimed at intelligent, non-specialist readers. Such reading allows the book lover to explore an almost unlimited range of ideas.

In addition to education, I think there is a second and equally important value to reading. I have read numerous articles recently about studies suggesting that people, who read, especially fiction, develop more empathy than those who do not read (Chiaet). The overall point of the results of this study, as well as others, is that people who read fiction tend to learn to identify with other human beings and their problems. This is what many of our parents taught to us when they said that we needed to learn to walk in the shoes of other people. It is the basic idea of trying to understand how other people think and feel. Even without these scientific studies, I would assert that fiction helps us to develop empathy.

What do you think about this? Do any of you have other suggestions about the benefits of reading? I would enjoy seeing your ideas.

Works Cited

Chiaet, Julianne. “Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy.” Scientific
American.Com. October 4, 2013. Web.

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You Can’t See Creepy With a Cellphone Light: Guilt & Shadows in American Horror

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Here is another excellent essay on horror by K.C. Redding_Gonzalez

Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

American Horror. It’s become this great, terrible disappointment.

What used to set my imagination on fire is now a non sequitur, a discombobulated mess of unrealized terrors.

I am bummed.

That realization started with the attempt to watch a movie in a movie theater not so long ago… A simple task, one which turned out to be a farce in a room full of bobbing silhouettes, a lot of explosions from nearby theater screens, and scores of cellphones – like fireflies – punctuating the darkness that was supposed to have monsters in it.

Imagine my Horror when the stars of the movie produced their own cellphones , holding them out like crucifixes to ward off the darkness of their haunted house. No wonder it took so long to find something scary. When the worst that can happen is no signal or a deficit of bars… well, the Horror just doesn’t…

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 50th Anniversary

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Here is a lovely post from Jennie about a wonderful children’s book.

A Teacher's Reflections

Fifty years.  That’s a very long time.  For a book to still be alive, vibrant, and read all over the world – fifty years later – is astounding.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, with a golden book jacket.

The caterpillar in the story wasn’t always a caterpillar.  Initially it was a worm, and the book was titled A Week With Willi the Worm.  

The editor wasn’t crazy about a worm.  When she suggested a caterpillar, Carle immediately said butterfly, and the story was born.  The favorite part of the book for children, also a nightmare for the publisher, is the five pages of fruit for each weekday – with a hole through the fruit.  Carle’s inspiration came from using a holepunch at work.

“On Monday he ate through one apple.  But he was still hungry.”
(The page…

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More Quotations on Reading

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

                                                                                Dr. Seuss

 

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“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

                                                                                 Ray Bradbury

 

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“I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

                                                                                 J. K. Rowling

 

Desert Moonscapes~

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Presenting some more beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Carve impossible vistas.

Jumbled and stacked.

Boulders perch, tossed like balls.

Cracked spines.

Desert ice cream cones.

Joshua Trees twist in tortured poses.

Mother Nature’s iconic artistry.

A gift to treasure and protect.

Joshua Tree National Park encompasses almost 800,000 acres and straddles both The Mojave and Colorado Deserts in Southern California. Joshua Trees are not trees at all, but a variety of Yucca, sculpted into bizarre shapes by desert winds. The eerie rock formations were formed eons ago by cooling lava, that cracked and split from fault uplifting, and eroded over time by wind, water and sand.

100’s of species survive in this harsh desert landscape, despite summer temperature that reach well above 100 degrees fahrenheit. Native Americans inhabited this region for thousands of years and their artifacts remain scattered throughout the park. Be careful or you will walk right by them! We encountered this metate, or grinding stone…

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Writers–You Can Do It!

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To all the writers out there, who keep working on their books, stories, poems, or any other work, you can do it.

Have faith in yourself.

Keep imagining.

Keep thinking.

Keep drafting.

Keep writing.

You can do it.

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