While John Irving has come to stand as the American novelist par excellence, he is not particularly into the novel—in its modern form—nor, for that matter, America. In fact, as he suggested in his new Big Think interview, the most valuable contribution to the storytelling tradition to arise from the country might just be the western movie.
Irving also discussed the thrill of beginning a new book—a challenge that never gets easier, as a blank page ignores fame and prior achievements and greets the writer like a cold stranger upon each encounter. Irving’s now well-known method for beating this has been to never start a book before knowing the final sentence, yet, in the case of his newest book, these words—though sensible—remained vague and undefined for more than two decades.
The writer also discussed how random fears and obsessions “haunt” his narratives; an inevitability, in many ways, as “obsessions, by definition, control you.” He also described why many of his recurring themes—including sex—appear as a means to subject his characters’ to the terrors of random, yet tragically consequential, fate.
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This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.
- Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
- The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
- The cooperative business model can help reverse wealth inequality.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
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