Life changing readings

“Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins, from the University of London’s Queen Mary College, interviewed 500 men – many of whom had a professional connection with literature – about the novels that had changed their lives. (…)
The novel that means most to men is about indifference, alienation and lack of emotional response. The novel that means most to women is about deeply held feelings and a struggle to overcome circumstances and passion.”

Here are the top 10 books for men and women:

MEN’S LIST
1 Albert Camus The Outsider
2 J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
3 Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five
4 Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude
5 J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit
6 Joseph Heller Catch-22
7 George Orwell 1984
8 F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
9 Milan Kundera The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
10 Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

WOMEN’S LIST
1 Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre
2 Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
3 Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale
4 George Eliot Middlemarch
5 Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
6 Toni Morrison Beloved
7 Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook
8 Joseph Heller Catch-22
9 Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past
10 Jane Austen Persuasion

A related question:
Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel, by Lisa Zunshine, who teaches English at the University of Kentucky. (…) We have an “evolved cognitive predisposition to attribute states of mind to ourselves and others” that is also known as “mind-reading.” “These cognitive mechanisms,” writes Zunshine, “evolved to process information about thoughts and feelings of human beings, seem to be constantly on the alert, checking out their environment for cues that fit their input conditions. On some level, works of fiction manage to cheat these mechanisms into believing that they are in the presence of material that they were ‘designed’ to process, i.e., that they are in the presence of agents endowed with a potential for a rich array of intentional stances.”

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