Back to School Treasure

I wasn’t planning to offer up more links this soon, but then I ran across several things that I just couldn’t wait to show you.  This is what comes of having my children back in school and having more time for reading of all sorts. 

Internet treasure! (Yes, it exists.  It’s just buried under the refuse.)

  • This.  This is the reason I couldn’t wait to show these.  I’d like to make a million comments, but Gaiman already said it all so well that I should just let you read his own words.  

 “And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people… You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.”

“And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.  As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.”

Just so, so much win here.  Go read the whole thing.  

  • And just in case you thought Neil Gaiman was making up that empathy thing, some science to back him up. It turns out reading fiction makes you a better, more empathetic friend.  

“In the study, empathy was only apparent in the groups of people who read fiction and who were emotionally transported. Meanwhile, those who were not transported demonstrated a decrease in empathy.”

But then, we already knew that, right?  Because we’ve felt it ourselves.

  • Speaking of reading, this one made me laugh…a smug laugh that only other readers won’t find obnoxious.  So I knew I had to share it with you!
  • And while we’re feeling smug (as if we ever stopped…) go take this vocabulary test to see how many words you know.  Apparently I know 34,800 words.  Which probably explains why I talk so much.
  • And then let’s resume our proper place in the universe and be inspired by the beauty and perspective of these photos.  I feel like there are a lot of interesting thoughts to think while looking at them.  And none of them are about how great I am.
  • While we’re being inspired (and put in our place)…look at these.  Beautiful.  Fanciful.  Inspired by fairy tales.  I want to buy them all.  
  • Then let’s read this, and cry a little, and laugh a little, and be more empathetic.  It will make us better.

See what I mean?  Some things you just shouldn’t miss out on. 

Happy Monday, everyone, and may back-to-school be the best version of itself.

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