Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel

Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel - Lisa Zunshine As Zunshine summarizes at the end of WHY WE READ FICTION, we read fiction because “fiction helps us to pattern in newly nuanced ways our emotions and perceptions; it bestows ‘new knowledge or increased understanding’ and gives ‘the chance for a sharpened ethical sense’; and it creates new forms of meaning for our everyday existence” (164). And while the book explores this theory in depth, it never broadens the argument beyond this simple idea.Readers without a very specific bookshelf may feel left out for much of the book. Zunshine harps on examples for her theory, ranging from Richardson’s Clarissa, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Woolf’s Mrs. Dallowy, and Nabokov’s Lolita to such extent that unfamiliarity with these texts can distance a reader. Hence, a lot of skimming. But on the bright side, as stated above, Zunshine never broadens her argument beyond a couple key points (Theory of Mind and metarepresentational capacity), so if a reader can grasp even a single example from Zunshine’s referent texts, then chances are he can fake the rest.WHY WE READ FICTION is definite must for literary theory nerds (such as myself), a probable read for psychology buffs, and an easy pass for all others.