Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Maybe I need to take another crack at Naked Lunch: a recent study from researchers at the University of California and University of British Columbia have shown that books with illogical structure make you think more. If a book is confusing or bizarre, readers were shown to have devoted more time to deciphering the text to make sense of it, compared to a more logical story that's easier to follow and understand. Most other articles condense that to "it makes you smarter," but that's not exactly true — the press release describes it as "reading Kafka improves learning." Certainly, the more you exercise those mental skills, the more likely you'll be able to use them with little effort in the future. However, that's not really a case of "Kafka makes you smarter;" it's a case of "reading more makes you a better reader," which I think is far more useful of a statement, if not less headliney and more obvious than the others.