Critical Linking: April 30, 2012


“While income level best predicts how quickly people decline after they get sick,” Carstensen says, “education predicts whether or not people get sick in the first place.” People with more education tend to have better problem-solving skills and the tools to help themselves, she explains. They enhance their health and survival odds by making well-informed lifestyle decisions.

I argue this very thing all the time and few listen. Now I have data, so watch out haters.


 In 21st-century terms, Poe is a brand, and that brand has an extremely high recognition factor. There has even been an episode of “The Simpsons” riffing on Poe, with Lisa reading “The Raven” and Bart playing the black bird. It’s also almost impossible to imagine Stephen King or other contemporary horror writers without the existence of Poe.

Really good point. Most people “know of Poe” rather than “know Poe.”


Instead of contriving a forward-moving plot, novelists content themselves with embroidering on a premise; instead of dramatizing significant events, they layer psychological and atmospheric detail on mundane backdrops; instead of inhabiting scenes, they offer summary. Too often, the mandate on authors to make readers care about what happens next seems to speak only to genre fiction.

I think this is at the heart of what some people find “boring” about contemporary literary fiction.


Before the study, primary-school students (whose average age was 11) had access to an average of 3.6 books at home. Junior-high students (average age 13.5 years) had access to an average of 8.6 books at home and high-school students (average age 16.6 years) access to an average of 11 books (mostly textbooks they had to buy for school.) With the e-reader program, kids had access to an average of 107 books, including books Worldreader “pushed” onto the Kindles as well as free e-books that kids downloaded themselves.

Kindles in Ghana. Amazing.

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