Hope Index, Vol. 11: Empathy, Omniscience, and the Truth About Fiction
Welcome to Hope Index, our weekend roundup of "suggested reading" that hopefully won't make you want to gouge your eyes out. This week we're talking narrator omniscience, short stories, and interior lives.
It's a been a short work week and hope mostly circled the drain as summer faded and "autumn came," bringing along with it the depressing reality of the American presidential election. Kinda wished I could take a step back and see it all unfolding from above, instead of having to deal with the reality of this political cycle. I guess that's what Twitter is for? The New York Times did an excellent analysis on this phenomenon and how it connects to popular fiction trends. "In a world where our movements are tracked, where our web searches leave cookie crumbs, and where privacy is increasingly compromised, omniscient narrators resonate with readers." True. Read the whole thing here.
Stay with me on that modern-fiction vibe, because we've got a sweet little piece "In Defense of Short Stories" coming for you next week on this site. In the meantime, brush up on your contemporary fiction by binge-reading here -- stories that will fill your heart with empathy and resolve, leaving you way more satisfied than re-watching LOST. Also check out this one on Buzzfeed by a fellow Staten Islander and freaking force of nature Alexandra Kleeman. Short stories and chill. It could become a thing.
Of course, if you want to binge on some novels instead, Electric Literature ran this listicle of seventeen fiction books you can read in one sitting, which might be more your speed.
The idea that reading fiction makes us more empathetic and overall better human beings is not a new one, but this interview on The Millions puts that truth so directly and so well. "Literary fiction allows us to admit the size of other lives," says Michael Helm. Featuring plenty of heavy-weight name dropping, you just might find your next favorite novel -- or favorite thing to say about novels -- in this write-up.
As always, thanks for being with us here @Upwrite -- we're so grateful for our readership and for all of the exciting things happening here on the site. Grab a cup of coffee, post a picture of your feet next to the steaming mug, and tag it #upwritemagazine to watch the "likes" roll in. Or just skip that part and read the good stuff. Cheers.