Life's Too Short: How to Read the Right Books
Let’s say you’re in the top fifth percentile of avid readers, tearing through a book a week on average. With such literary gusto raising your sails, you might feel like the entire world is an open book to browse at your leisure. But in actuality, you will hardly scratch the surface of available human art and knowledge. Think about it like this: if you read one book a week for 40 years, that puts you at a little over 2,000 books total. Well, that’s not too shabby, right? Now consider this data point: there have been nearly 1,000 episodes of the Law & Order franchise broadcast on television. And few people have time to read a book a week. If you’re lucky, you might manage to read more books in your lifetime than there are episodes of Law & Order.
To take a less tongue-in-cheek tack, here is an illuminating statistic from The Library of Congress:
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 151.8 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 34.5 million books and other print materials, 3.3 million recordings, 13.4 million photographs, 5.4 million maps, 6.5 million pieces of sheet music and 66.6 million manuscripts.
Current estimates peg the total number of books proper at over 22 million, with the LOC receiving 20,000 new items a day for cataloging. If you’re a genuine bookworm, knocking off 52 books a year, you might be able to finish 0.00000236% of the books in existence.
And very few people read 52 books a year. According to a 2007 AP survey, 73% of Americans reported reading a book in the previous year, with an average of 20.4 books per person, but a median of only 6.5.
Under this framework, every single book you read becomes an important choice. But with so many books out there, and more books published every year, how can you begin to parse out the books that will change your life from the books that will merely pass the time?
Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University and philosopher, has spent years considering this question. In Brenzel’s view, there are five criteria for determining if a book is a genuine classic worthy of your precious time.
How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?
- American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
- Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
- Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.
Some games are just for fun, others are for thought provoking statements on life, the universe, and everything.
- Video games are often dismissed as fun distractions, but some of them dive into deep issues.
- Through their interactive play elements, these games approach big issues intelligently and leave you both entertained and enlightened.
- These five games are certainly not the only games that cover these topics or do so well, but are a great starting point for somebody who wants to play something thought provoking.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the planet's lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.