Why We Read Fiction by Lisa Zunshine

WHY WE READ FICTION: THEORY OF MIND AND THE NOVEL (THEORY INTERPRETATION NARRATIV)Takeaway: Fiction is one example of ways that our minds fill in details and help us understand how we may act in different situations.  This is a fairly advanced literary theory book and I gave up and did not finish.

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I picked this up because it was on sale for $0.99 (still only $1.99) and the title intriged me. I did not finish this for a couple reasons, but the basic idea is interesting. The Theory of The Mind is a psychology theory about the ability of people to fill in missing pieces in social interactions.  People on the Autism spectrum and those with Schizophrenia have difficulty with this skill for different reasons.  So there is a section on Autism (which I found very interesting) and another on Schizophrenia before moving on to the final two sections that are more focused on how others process fiction according to the Theory of the Mind.

While I found some of the concepts interesting, I was frustrated by the structure of the book.  Not that it was a bad book, but it used a number of classic books as reference points and repeatedly discussed fairly well known sections of those books.  In general, I was able to follow along, but I have not read a single one of the books that were referenced.  It is not that the books were unknown, they are fairly well known books like Mrs Dalloway, Lolita, Beowulf, Don Quixote, Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Clarrissa.  I think of myself as being fairly well read, but I guess I am not well enough read.

After a while, I got the basic point and just lost interest.  If you are interested in Literary Theory, Autism, or psychological looks at fiction, you probably will find this book interesting.

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