Books of Mass Destruction


“Like any powerful tool, while it is considered to be the key to changing our lives by some, others may consider it to be a weapon of mass destruction.”

“The power of literature over communities and societies cannot be denied. Good literature is able to plant something in the minds of individuals, which may unify and form masses that can start revolutions, overthrow dictators, change laws and tradition and reshape the future. That “something” is an idea and there is no doubt that literature is the most efficient way to get that idea out there and plant it into minds.”

… “there was a time [...] when books were considered to be enough “evidence” to arrest young people and imprison them for the crime of being corrupt and even an enemy of the state. There was a time [...] in the course of the world’s history, when books were read, hastily devoured, then burnt or buried deep in the ground, like dead bodies, with the fear of getting captured, thrown into prison, tortured and perhaps even murdered.”

Alas, today…

“We have already begun to forget our past and literature’s divorce with politics had a lot to do with this collective amnesia”

More: http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/features/a-sour-love-affair-literature-and-politics-in-turkey_20109


Democracy and Independent Publishing

"Sadly, now, publishing is almost entirely a matter of profitability, meaning that if you want to publish something that is immediately profitable, it’s very rare that it will turn out to be predicated on strong ideas, or dissident ideas.”

“That’s a big problem. It has considerably reduced the amount of good books published”.

… “without a free publishing industry, there can be no democracy.”

“Books today have become mere adjuncts to the world of mass media, offering light entertainment and reassurances that all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds … The resulting control on the spread of ideas is stricter than anyone would have thought possible in a free society.”




Body-shifting through literature

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns.”

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” Berns says.”

“The neural changes were not just immediate reactions, Berns says, since they persisted the morning after the readings, and for the five days after the participants completed the novel.”

“It remains an open question how long these neural changes might last,” Berns says. “But the fact that we’re detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain.”

Source: http://esciencecommons.blogspot.ca/2013/12/a-novel-look-at-how-stories-may-change.html?m=1

Read Novels for a Better You

“Love of reading is the key not only to further learning and knowledge, but also to a better and more fulfilled life with unlimited enjoyment and participation in the arts and culture.”

“We cannot begin to understand the world without reading books, newspapers and magazines. Reading teaches empathy in a way that the computer games which many [...]  children play never can.”

“Earlier this year the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a rich countries’ think-tank, revealed that the strongest indicator of the future success of children was not which school they attended or whether their family was wealthy, but if they read for pleasure at the age of 15. Reading teaches children how to express themselves, to broaden their emotional horizons and to cope with difficult situations. It is not just about learning and widening their vocabulary and experiences, but also about understanding the human condition and the lives of others.”

Furthermore, “our skills, intelligence, the way we behave as citizens and the ability to think critically depend on reading”.

Source: timesofmalta.com

Read Novels before casting judgment

“In American legal discourse, empathy is often portrayed as less respectable than Satan. Judges are presented as elements in the vast economic machine. Their job is to keep the conveyor belt flowing and to dispose of human widgets who come out defective. For these functionaries to be aware of those standing before them as fellow human beings would be dangerous.”

Yet, “Reading [novels] makes a judge capable of projecting himself into the lives of others, lives that have nothing in common with his own, even lives in completely different eras or cultures. And this empathy, this ability to envision the practical consequences on one’s contemporaries of a law or a legal decision, seems to me a crucial quality in a judge.”

Therefore three cheers to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who read Marcel Proust, and proclaimed the French author:

“the Shakespeare of the inner world,” “a writer who can give readers a sense of knowing the one thing it is completely impossible to know—what it is like to be another person.”

Source: theatlantic.com


How to write a novel

How do writers come up with story ideas and turn them into novels?

“If one idea in particular seems attractive, and you feel you could do something with it, then you toss it around, play tricks with it, work it up, tone it down, and gradually get it into shape. Then, of course, you have to start writing it. That’s not nearly such fun – it becomes hard work. Alternatively, you can tuck it carefully away, in storage, for perhaps using in a year or two years’ time.”  Agatha Christie

Market Driven Death to Literature

“There is an unholy practice to bring fundamentalism, capitalism and even politics into literature and culture. Literature goes beyond any religion, politics and capitalism. The purpose of literature is to bring positive change. If that is not done, the next generation will be misled.”
…”literature and activism are the two faces of the same coin” … “Both these elements are interlinked. The very purpose gets defeated if even one element is lost. Let us resolve not to receive any award or accept invitation by individuals, organizations or even the government which encourage communalism and fundamentalism directly or indirectly.”

“The early writers and poets used literature as a weapon to fight against social evils. But that does not largely happen now. Market-driven society and anti-social issues have hijacked the very essence of literary works”…

Source: daijiworld.com


Read fiction to build personal wealth

There “is money in books.” …

“Don’t expect, however, to find explicit tips on spending, saving, and investing baked into the texts like messages in fortune cookies. Novelists and dramatists seem suspicious if not disdainful of those who dole out advice about money — which is perhaps why, when they do offer worthwhile personal-finance counsel, the words tend to be put into the mouths of imbeciles.” …

“So if literature offers no pecuniary prescriptions and might send overzealous readers off tilting at windmills, why should seekers of financial advice invest any time in it? Based on my own quixotic reading, and after putting the question to both financial pros and professors of literature, there are at least two reasons, I think:”

“First: Novels demonstrate the power the almighty dollar wields over our emotions, thoughts and behavior — and reveal the ripple effect our dealings with money can have on those around us. “

“Second: Fiction is great fun. As much as I enjoy reading psychologists or behavioral economists like Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Taleb, or even the latest Malcolm Gladwell bestseller, no account of psychological experimentation or discourse on the human mind and its failings has ever wedged itself in my memory like the foibles of Micawber and Quixote.”

Continue for advice from these financial gurus: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/want-to-get-rich-read-fiction-2013-11-22

Fiction key to understanding the real life

“People do not read fiction or watch films as observers. Rather they are drawn to participate in the story, making it reality. This has several benefits. It lets them experience how others deal with problems – how their dilemmas confuse them, engage them rationally and emotionally, challenge their values, and force them to balance competing issues. Reading fiction nurtures skills in observation, analysis, diagnosis, empathy, and self-reflection – capacities essential for good customer experiences, for caring about others, and for promoting good leadership practices. Fiction helps its readers to develop insights about people who are different from themselves. As they ponder what they might have done if confronted with a character’s situation, fiction helps its readers to gain insight about themselves as well.”

“Literary fiction, in contrast to popular fiction, focuses on the psychology of their characters and their interrelationships in the story. The authors of literary fiction reveal their character’s minds only vaguely, leaving out important details. The omission requires the reader to fill in the gaps if the character’s motives are to be understood. Literary fiction is rarely explicit about the internal dialog running inside each character’s mind, which consequently forces the reader to imagine it. This is the way the real world works.”

From: patriotpost.us


Reading and Common Humanity

“In all the academic fluff that is thrown at us when high-brow people start blabbing about the importance of reading, this is never mentioned”:

“a book is a much better babysitter than any toy, television, tablets, Xbox or Playstation.”

Early reading start leads to a better society:

“Reading helps to keep our prisons in check. Neil Gaiman, writing in The Guardian says how in America they easily predict prison growth on a simple algorithm based on the percen-tage of 10-year-olds couldn’t read. The lower the percentage of child read-ers, the more crowded the prison cells will be in future.”

More importantly still:

“Reading helps us to keep our politicians in check. Because we’ll know what’s happening around the world, and we’d have read the historical precedents, then, we’ll be able to tell our politicians what we want and we’ll be able to rise above party politics and aim for a common humanity.”

Continue reading: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131117/opinion/A-fairy-tale-a-day-does-keep-ignorance-at-bay.495053


Writers in a Surveillance State

Writers are ducking their calling in Surveillance State Amerika:

“A new report from the PEN Center and the FDR Group entitled “Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor” finds that 85 percent of surveyed writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) “have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today.”

“Sixteen percent of writers have avoided writing or speaking about certain topics due to threatening privacy concerns, and an additional 11 percent have seriously considered such avoidance.”

“Nearly a quarter of the writers surveyed (24 percent) reported deliberately avoiding certain topics in phone or email conversations, and an additional 9 percent have seriously considered such action. A small portion of respondents said they had even declined opportunities to meet with people deemed “security threats by the government” because of privacy fears.”

From: washington.cbslocal.com

Read the report: http://www.google.com/gwt/x?wsc=bf&u=http://www.pen.org/sites/default/files/Chilling%2520Effects_PEN%2520American.pdf&ei=zxCEUq2HF4PSwAKGpYDIBQ


Why fiction is irresistible

"How come so many people in the world are drawn towards stories and plots that never even occurred!”

"If we explore this dynamic we will see that each reader is compelled to this genre for different reasons, but of course there are always similarities. It is widely believed that reading fiction is an escapist hobby and this is quite true. The world we live in, the world we adapt to and the life we are bound to may not seem fascinating all the time. We get bored by our daily routines and the repetitive process starts looking like a trap. Now to vent out and feel fabulous many of us choose to pick out a more fantasy version of life. A place where everything is possible, where even for a short time you can live someone else’s life! This doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t have grip on the realities of life. It just shows that all of us are humans and that some magical phenomenon always seems appealing."

"Apart from that, reading fiction is always a treat for your brain. Encouraging you to think beyond the boundaries of society, creatively and filling you with new ideas. So to all those parents who are always chasing their kids to read more of the academic books than fiction, should remember that your kids are doing mind exercises. So instead of scolding, encourage them to read and introduce them to the world of ‘The Books’.”

Sarwat Amin Rattani, in thefrontierpost.com


Visual (il)literacy

What happens when students watch movie adaptations of literary works?

“Increasingly in contemporary [...]  schooling, great store is placed on what is described as “visual literacy”. The appropriation of the word literacy is wrong. Film is an entirely different form and does not, and never can, help reading and writing skills.” …

“Visual literacy should not be confused with substantial textual knowledge. That requires students to understand language, how it works, how we read it, comprehend it and write about it in clear, unambiguous, grammatical English. There is nothing literary, as far as traditional skills are concerned, in watching a movie.” …

“Watching a film is an easy option. The result? A generation of “screeners” – as scholar Dale Spender calls the screen-besotted generation – who are being impoverished by an emphasis on film and not literary texts.”

From: theaustralian.com.au


In Literature United

The “fundamental conflict of our times is not the clash between two civilisations, but doctrines-religious and ethnic fundamentalism on the one hand, secular consumerist capitalism on the other.”

“It is true of terrorism as it is of modern civil conflicts that men of war prey on the ignorance of the populace to instill fear and arouse hatred”; “murderous, even genocidal ideologies took root in the absence of truthful information and honest education.”

“If only half the effort had gone into teaching those people what unites them, and not what divides them, unspeakable crimes could have been prevented”.

“Literature can bring down violence in today’s world as reading and writing broadens minds. … Two contradictory forces shape the world of letters today …  the first is globalisation of human imagination and the second is anxiety of audience.”

From: newindianexpress.com


A Bloodline to the Page

"The majority of mental illness diagnoses are NOS (not otherwise specified.)  It is very likely that future poets will suffer a mood disorder NOS.  Like those analyzed before their arrival who do not have a definitive diagnosis, there is hope.  The ability of these writers to strike a chord in the literary world may not be an ability learned, or completely understood, but it cannot be ignored.  It is a raw mental vein running straight from the mind to the paper.  It is often times not tried, or orchestrated, but a bloodline to the page.  A writer has their craft to express their mind which is evidence to further expose the intricate nature of how the mind works.

There is no certain way a writer can explain the fierce flow of ideas from word to word, line to line, stanza to stanza, any more than a doctor can fully understand a disease that has no clear diagnosis, and is often reduced to NOS (not otherwise specified.)  Both are like throwing darts in a dim light, however, through a careful look at writers works in the past, the present, and those yet to be discovered, we may find some answers to the behaviors of manic-depressive people.  These writers all share moments captured in writings that reflect their mind which serve as a tool for education.

Through a thorough examination of these trends, one may better understand the mind Not Otherwise Specified, and find answers to the plethora of questions surrounding the diagnosis of manic-depression.”

From: blogs.psychcentral.com


Readers of literary fiction are better mind-readers

"When we read a thrilling-but-predictable bestseller, “the text sort of grabs us and takes us on a roller-coaster ride,” “and we all sort of experience the same thing.” Literature, on the other hand, gives the reader a lot more responsibility. Its imaginary worlds are full of characters with confusing or unexplained motivations. There are no reliable instructions about whom to trust or how to feel.”

Researchers suspect “that the skills we use to navigate these ambiguous fictional worlds serve us well in real life. In particular” they “surmised that they enhance our so-called theory of mind. That’s the ability to intuit someone else’s mental state—to know, for example, that when someone raises their hand toward us, they’re trying to give us a high-five rather than slap us. It’s closely related to empathy, the ability to recognize and share the feelings of others.”

“Increasing evidence supports the relationship between reading fiction and theory of mind. But much of this evidence is based on correlations: Self-reported avid readers or those familiar with fiction also tend to perform better on certain tests of empathy, for example.”

From: news.sciencemag.org


The Book Cemeteries

“When the Britains and America are fused into one book market; when it is recognized that letters, which as to their material and their aim are a high-soaring profession, as to their mere remuneration are a trade; when artificial fetters are relaxed, and printers, publishers, and authors obtain the reward which well-regulated commerce would afford them, then let floors beware lest they crack, and walls lest they bulge and burst, from the weight of books they will have to carry and to confine. …

A vast, even a bewildering prospect is before us, for evil or for good; but for good, unless it be our own fault, far more than for evil. Books require no eulogy from me; none could be permitted me, when they already draw their testimonials from Cicero and Macaulay. But books are the voices of the dead. They are a main instrument of communion with the vast human procession of the other world. They are the allies of the thought of man. They are in a certain sense at enmity with the world. Their work is, at least, in the two higher compartments of our threefold life. In a room well filled with them, no one has felt or can feel solitary. Second to none, as friends to the individual, they are first and foremost among the compages, the bonds and rivets of the race, onward from that time when they were first written on the tablets of Babylonia and Assyria, the rocks of Asia minor, and the monuments of Egypt, down to the diamond editions of Mr. Pickering and Mr. Frowde. ...

The purchase of a book is commonly supposed to end, even for the most scrupulous customer, with the payment of the bookseller’s bill. But this is a mere popular superstition. Such payment is not the last, but the first term in a series of goodly length. If we wish to give to the block a lease of life equal to that of the pages, the first condition is that it should be bound.” But, “bound or not, the book must of necessity be put into a bookcase. And the bookcase must be housed. And the house must be kept. And the library must be dusted, must be arranged, should be catalogued. What a vista of toil, yet not unhappy toil! Unless indeed things are to be as they now are in at least one princely mansion of this country, where books, in thousands upon thousands, are jumbled together with no more arrangement than a sack of coals; where not even the sisterhood of consecutive volumes has been respected; where undoubtedly an intending reader may at the mercy of Fortune take something from the shelves that is a book; but where no particular book can except by the purest accident, be found.

Such being the outlook, what are we to do with our books? Shall we be buried under them like Tarpeia under the Sabine shields? Shall we renounce them (many will, or will do worse, will keep to the most worthless part of them) in our resentment against their more and more exacting demands? Shall we sell and scatter them? as it is painful to see how often the books of eminent men are ruthlessly, or at least unhappily, dispersed on their decease.

Without answering in detail, I shall assume that the book-buyer is a book-lover, that his love is a tenacious, not a transitory love, and that for him the question is how best to keep his books. I pass over those conditions which are the most obvious, that the building should be sound and dry, the apartment airy, and with abundant light. And I dispose with a passing anathema of all such as would endeavour to solve their problem, or at any rate compromise their difficulties, by setting one row of books in front of another. I also freely admit that what we have before us is not a choice between difficulty and no difficulty, but a choice among difficulties. …

Clearly these masses, and such as these, ought to be selected first for what I will not scruple to call interment. It is a burial; one, however, to which the process of cremation will never of set purpose be applied. The word I have used is dreadful, but also dreadful is the thing. To have our dear old friends stowed away in catacombs, or like the wine-bottles in bins: the simile is surely lawful until the use of that commodity shall have been prohibited by the growing movement of the time. But however we may gild the case by a cheering illustration, or by the remembrance that the provision is one called for only by our excess of wealth, it can hardly be contemplated without a shudder at a process so repulsive applied to the best beloved among inanimate objects. …

Undoubtedly the idea of book-cemeteries such as I have supposed is very formidable. It should be kept within the limits of the dire necessity which has evoked it from the underworld into the haunts of living men. But it will have to be faced, and faced perhaps oftener than might be supposed. And the artist needed for the constructions it requires will not be so much a librarian as a warehouseman.

But if we are to have cemeteries, they ought to receive as many bodies as possible. The condemned will live ordinarily in pitch darkness, yet so that when wanted, they may be called into the light. Asking myself how this can most effectively be done, I have arrived at the conclusion that nearly two-thirds, or say three-fifths, of the whole cubic contents of a properly constructed apartment may be made a nearly solid mass of books: a vast economy which, so far as it is applied, would probably quadruple or quintuple the efficiency of our repositories as to contents, and prevent the population of Great Britain from being extruded some centuries hence into the surrounding waters by the exorbitant dimensions of their own libraries.”

How best to tend to these book cemeteries, according to William Ewart Gladstone: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3426


American Literary Tourism

"We should question the authenticity of exotic locales that have been tailored to suit American appetites.” …

“Americans are famously reluctant when it comes to reading literature in translation. Only 3% of the books published annually in the United States are translations."…

"While contemporary books may take us to distant places, most of those available are written in English, and penned by writers who live in the English-speaking world. Americans don’t want to be readers of world literature. They want to be literary tourists.”

“This trend has less to do with language than it does with writers’ amenability to act as a tour guide for American readers as they traverse cultural divides. … It’s typically assumed that the reader lacks prior knowledge, so guidebook-like hand-holding is built into the form and narrative of the story.”

“English language writers … treat readers as strangers in a strange land, and the result is world literature that starts to feel like tourism.”

“Slang, jargon, and non-English words must be cushioned in context or explained outright. Descriptions of the setting resemble stage directions, just concrete enough for readers to get their bearings.”

From: policymic.com


How do you know that you are a writer?

"Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a conversation when it suddenly feels like you’re floating above yourself, watching the whole thing unfold? Has that resulted in an awkward pause, as your interlocutor becomes increasingly irate at your obvious lack of attention or respect for what they have to say? Maybe you’ve failed to be entirely in the moment, even in intimate situations, because you’re thinking to yourself, “This is it!” How am I going to describe this later!?” Believe me, this can backfire very quickly. Having a deep and consistent appreciation for the process of life — even when it tosses you around — and a desire to accurately portray that process in language is a sign that writing is the creative outlet for you."

5 more telltale signs that you are a writer, from: policymic.com


Writers are born, not made

“The world goes on creating newer things. Literature is a creation, not theory. The law of nature is to create new things. To neglect creation is to go against nature. In literature a writer goes with an experiment in thought, subject, language, style and so on. Every creator should create new things in a way understandable to the readers whose nature of perceiving things and level of cognition changes in accordance with several social facets. Every creative change brings happiness to man."

"Literature is an endeavour of searching the space of sentiment and feeling. The feeling and sentiment connects one person with another. Science and technology can never and in no age can ignore the feeling and sensibility of the creator. The heartless science and technology can never challenge this truth of a creation."

Some people may argue that literary creation as an outcome of continual endeavour. Creation is essentially an outcome of inherent ingenuity. The living creation cannot be created by an endeavour. Inherent ingenuity is the must. A writer is born not made."

From: mediaforfreedom.com


Emotional Literacy

"many children lack a sophisticated vocabulary for expressing their emotions, and [...] their inability to clearly label their feelings leaves them unable to describe their state of mind in a way that permits teachers to help them."

"Students should learn to find the language to express the full complexity of human emotion, even emotions that they themselves haven’t yet experienced. The best way to achieve that is to make sure that they [...] read and critique poetry, short stories, and novels. Through literature and the arts they will not merely hear and talk about emotions generally, but they will experience and learn to express the interior lives of other people. As a result, they’ll be not only better students, but better people."

From: http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2013/09/for-emotional-literacy-read-literature/


Reading is like food

"When you talk about reading, you should look in the context of food; if you go for a day without eating how do you feel? So that is how we should be hungry for materials to read and that way we will remain healthy mentally. The challenge is to change things from up there. We the adults, if we change, the children will find it very easy to adapt"...

"Reading is not just about novels. It could be any newspaper, and it could books for leisure or any educational material."

"Reading could be compared to food; you only improve the way you think, the way you do things by reading. That is why when you go to school you will be reminded that the teachers' contributions on your ability to pass an exam is just about 40 per cent. The rest you have to read."

From: http://www.postzambia.com


Literature the soul of society

"literature, and in a wider sense, the arts, is the soul of society. There is no doubt that hard science and research plays a vital role in our understanding of the world we live in, and in the improvement of the human lifespan and the quality of said life."

... "within the pages of books lies the collective wisdom of our society. Even in the lightest of fiction, those throwaway airport books with throwaway plots, there is still truth to be found, be it in a particularly piercing observation of someone's character, or the way death can define a life."

"Literature inspires genius and creativity, and that, I believe, makes it worthy of being placed alongside the sciences and arts and given equal importance. That it is not is shortsighted, and an indictment of the current climate of world politics."

From: www.stuff.co.nz


Reading immunizes against depression

As kids and teenages go back to school, depression linked to change of environment and new challenges might kick in. Putting on headphones and locking yourself in a cocoon won't help. Reading might:

"Teenagers who devote more time to reading books are far less likely to suffer from depression than their peers who listen to music."

..."researchers recognise[d] large association between exposure to music and depression", and "that reading was associated with less likelihood of depression. This is worth emphasising because overall in the US, reading books is decreasing, while nearly all other forms of media use are increasing".

More: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?newsid=236001&catname=Health

Books by SpyWriter Jack King:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.


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Literature creates better leaders

"Literature gives students a much more realistic view of what’s involved in leading” than many business books on leadership... Literature lets you see leaders and others from the inside. You share the sense of what they’re thinking and feeling. In real life, you’re usually at some distance and things are prepared, polished. With literature, you can see the whole messy collection of things that happen inside our heads.”

"Students ... react to characters in the book as if they’re real people. There’s a much deeper engagement in the actual material. It’s not about whether the debits and credits add up. They’re making comments about who they are and what they care about, and how they feel about the world that differs from their fellow students. It also reflects the student’s own character and judgment.”

"Reading literature, and discussing complex issues with others, “teaches that people who are intelligent can see things differently ... and this happens in organizations, too; you need to be open and listen to these differences.” Leaders have to recognize their biases and blind spots."

From: http://www.google.com/gwt/x?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.google.com%2Fnews%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26fd%3DR%26usg%3DAFQjCNFMHiqGOcK_xFliMteOk3Xa2KII6A%26url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fnews.harvard.edu%2Fgazette%2Fstory%2F2013%2F08%2Ftruth-in-fiction%2F

Books by SpyWriter Jack King:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.


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Literature irrigates the desert of life

"Literature adds to reality, enriches necessary competences that daily life provides and it irrigates the deserts that our life has already become.

...the importance of reading should not be abandoned. Reading novels, magazines and other literary work gives you a broader perspective of viewing things, improves skill, instills knowledge and makes you aware of different facets of life. Reading is a tonic for enhancing your creativity, resounding motivation and the finest form of information base. It lays the foundation of an enriched life and adds ‘life’ to the ‘living'".

From: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-letter-display.asp?xfile=data/letters/2013/August/letters_August66.xml&section=letters

Books by SpyWriter Jack King:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.


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Literature has responsibilities

"Literature has the responsibility of showing the disease of the society to the society."

"A writer imagines the pain and sufferings of others as his own and experiences them while writing."

"Writings do not end just on paper.  Besides beauty, the writings should search for truth.  It is only when an author opens all his five senses, will he be able to touch the pain in the society.  Literature should revolutionize and awaken those who are in slumber." 

"An author should be able to keep his pain and sufferings aside and touch the pulse of the society by realizing his responsibility."

More: http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=183894

Books by SpyWriter Jack King:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.


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Judge books, not authors

“A text must be something that can be read and evaluated without reference to the existence or otherwise of a person whose name and surname appear on the cover.” Because the author, “after writing a book, is no longer the same as he was before, and therefore is no longer the author of that book". “I believe that this ought not to be the exception but the rule, if literature really was a serious experience.” 

Rather than the study of individuals, the critic should study works or collectives: “I am more and more convinced that literature is made up of works, genres, schools, discussions, problems, collective work in order to solve certain problems, and not of the individual personalities of authors. Of course authors exist and are necessary, but the study of literature author by author seems to me to be less and less the right way forward."

-Italo Calvino

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
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Literature: a collective mind

As "changes among nations occur with the advent of time ... literature is the best medium to interpret these changes. It inculcates changes in our lives imperceptibility."

“After reading a masterpiece of literature, apparently we remain the same but we are inwardly changed and this is the fundamental function of literature".

"Literature is a reflection of collective mind of any nation."

From: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C08%5C04%5Cstory_4-8-2013_pg7_9

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
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On the woes that have befallen our country

On the "woes that have befallen our country on the social, legal, moral and even political arenas, and the role of literature in creating awareness and helping curb these evils and misdeeds":

"That the eacher is the dispenser of morality in society is undisputed. Literature teachers are expected, through poetry, novels, short stories and oral literature, to inculcate positive morality into young minds. It is these youngsters that later grow into entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers and other members of society."

Sadly, "We teachers no longer indulge learners in the journey of discovery of the intricacies of literature. Instead we take a short cut by relying on guide books and concentrating on the completion of the syllabus. The best the learners can do is to regurgitate what has been passed down to them. We are doing the nation a disservice."

"I believe morality cannot be attained through legal restrictions but through the inculcation of moral consciousness in individuals, which leads to social responsibility."

From: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/weekend/Failure-in-society-can-be-traced-back-to-the-literature-teacher/-/1220/1935282/-/uf2703z/-/index.html

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Readers vs Non-Readers

"The world is divided between readers and non-readers – and the difference between the two is enormous and unbridgeable.

Readers absorb; non-readers broadcast.

Readers know stuff; non-readers are running on empty.

Readers are curious; non-readers aren't.

Readers are obsessed with the world beyond themselves; non-readers are self-obsessed.

Reading, like any addiction, has its problems. Once you discover that the best books are better company than most people, you can lose patience with the company of most people. To be caught without a book or a paper in a queue, at an airport or on a train, is extreme agony.The cure for the addiction, though, is easy – always have a book or paper on you; and do your best to minimise your time in the company of boring people – themselves almost always non-readers."

From: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harrymount/100070190/the-world-is-divided-between-interesting-readers-and-boring-non-readers/

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Serious Writers Read

"A lot of people want to improve their writing skills, both professionally and personally. In order to achieve that, a key ingredient is often ignored: Reading.

Generally, there are two things that writers recommend to others who want to improve: more writing, and reading.

More writing is an obvious one, since practice makes perfect. But writing in a vacuum won't do us much good. Reading exposes us to other styles, other voices, other forms, and other genres of writing. Importantly, it exposes us to writing that's better than our own and helps us to improve.

Since reading is something we learn to do when we first start school, it's easy to think we've got it sorted out and we don't need to work on this skill anymore. Or, that we don't need to exercise our reading muscles anymore."

Let's take a look at five unconventional ways to become better writers by changing the way we read":


Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Writing Sheds Light on Mental Illness

"I have often analyzed how mental illness can be tracked, discovered, and understood through the written word. Let’s take a break from science and take a look at literature. The analysis of writings opens a door to explore alternative methods of understanding individuals suffering from manic-depressive disorder.

"Through a thorough examination of writings, we can look at specific mental states of individuals, which in turn may inform those looking for answers, or symptoms of bipolar minds, which often times get NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) as a diagnosis.  The medical field continues to evolve in their understanding of the intricate, often mysterious behaviors of manic-depressive individuals.  A look at reoccurring themes and stylistic techniques may reveal affected writers share a commonality in their writings.  An exploration of the works may help find a way for society to better understand individuals suffering from mental disease, and discover those not yet diagnosed with manic-depression.

"Throughout history there have been writers and poets that suffer from manic depression.  If we take a close look at the writings of these renowned writers we find a link to mental illness and the English language. An examination of their stylistic techniques, diction, metaphor, simile and expression manifest their mental illness which can help discover how mental illness can be learned outside of science, engineering, and neurology."

More: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/manic-depression/2013/07/17/the-groundbreaking-link-between-mental-illness-and-literature-emily-dickinson-william-wordsworth-and-samuel-taylor-coleridge/

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Alcohol in the writing life

"Alcohol is often a strong current in the writing life"...

"Why do writers drink? The answer might be “for the same reasons as everyone else”. The evidence from Alcoholics Anonymous is that writers do drink, but then so do cobblers, surgeons and street sweepers. Alcoholics are not all creative, sensitive and intelligent, though there is often a self-pitying grandiosity which persuades the boozer that he is uniquely blessed, or cursed, by thin skin. 

"But if writers are no more likely to be alcoholics, they will more commonly write about it. And the justifications, evasions and fabulations of the serious drinker find a parallel in the creative act of the writer, whose livelihood depends on the creative reshaping of reality, the juggling of dreams and the generation of alternative realities. 

"The challenge for the writer who tries to write while drunk, rather than simply rewarding himself with a drink when the day’s work is done, is that the same chemical relaxation afforded by alcohol quickly destroys any sense of the rhythm of a sentence."

From: http://m.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/scotland/alcohol-the-source-and-scourge-of-literary-talent-1-3000742

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Novels define morality

"Now, in the modern age, the novel is the way we discover what we really believe.  If we tell a story, and it seems true and the characters seem real, and the resolution is correct, we are able to say that we are certain, or more certain than before about what we think is true.

The novel in the modern age is the answer or the response to a line in Camus’ notebook, which is, “That wild human longing for clarity….”  It is this wild longing that the novel satisfies, and as long as it does that, and as along as a novelist is honest about what it is like to be human, it will not only survive, but thrive.

It will become the method by which we judge our morality."

From: http://www.salon.com/2013/07/16/author_craig_nova_the_novel_is_the_way_we_discover_what_we_really_believe/

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Reading and writing prerequisites of future leaders

"As a reflection of many adults, many children nowadays prefer everything to be easy and instant. So parents play a big role in encouraging children to love reading. The role of the school curriculum is also equally important. Regretfully, our educational curriculum today also weighs less on reading and writing"...

"reading and writing were two inseparable skills that children needed to develop, as both skills greatly influenced the development of other soft skills needed in adulthood, such as leadership and the ability to express opinion. "Not only will they be instilled with the value of virtues from the stories they read, reading and writing skills prepare children to be ready to face society, to bravely express their opinions and be less [passive]. I believe, those are some of the qualities required for our future leaders"...

More: http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2013-05-23/authors-urged-write-better-children-s-books.html

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Conspiracy Theory vs Official Lies

"The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.” 

"Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.

"The authors [of a new online study] were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones... In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority."

Read More: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/07/12/313399/conspiracy-theorists-vs-govt-dupes/

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? Find out in SpyWriter Jack King's:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Oxygen for the Mind

"Today our children don’t read works of imagination and the results are what we see today. Children or students who don’t ask questions in class but just take in everything the teachers feed them. Because we don’t learn to think, that is why we have students and workers who just copy and paste everything.

"Reading should not end after class or when the teacher leaves the classroom. Both parents and teachers should encourage children to read. Buying them books to read is one thing and making sure they read them is another.

"It’s high time we parents realised the big mistake we are making by taking our children to school but not encouraging them to read.

"...children and young people need good books, funny books, emotional books, fantasy books, books that enable them to think and see in new ways.

“If you live without oxygen, you suffocate. And books are the oxygen of the mind, even in these days of the internet."

From: http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=56634

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Reading Fiction Leads to Sophisticated Thinking and Greater Creativity

"Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction."

"So how does literature induce this ease with the unknown?"

Researchers have the answer:

“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal,“may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds."

“The thinking a person engages in while reading fiction does not necessarily lead him or her to a decision,” they note. This, they observe, decreases the reader’s need to come to a definitive conclusion.

“Furthermore,” they add, “while reading, the reader can stimulate the thinking styles even of people he or she might personally dislike. One can think along and even feel along with Humbert Humbert in Lolita, no matter how offensive one finds this character.

"This double release—of thinking through events without concerns for urgency and permanence, and thinking in ways that are different than one’s own—may produce effects of opening the mind."

From: http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/reading-literature-opens-minds-60021/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



A Place Only Deep Reading Can Take Us

"To understand why we should be concerned about how young people read, and not just whether they’re reading at all, it helps to know something about the way the ability to read evolved. ... Unlike the ability to understand and produce spoken language, which under normal circumstances will unfold according to a program dictated by our genes, the ability to read must be painstakingly acquired by each individual.

"The “reading circuits” we construct are recruited from structures in the brain that evolved for other purposes—and these circuits can be feeble or they can be robust, depending on how often and how vigorously we use them.

"The deep reader, protected from distractions and attuned to the nuances of language, enters a state that psychologist Victor Nell, in a study of the psychology of pleasure reading,likens to a hypnotic trance. Nell found that when readers are enjoying the experience the most, the pace of their reading actually slows. The combination of fast, fluent decoding of words and slow, unhurried progress on the page gives deep readers time to enrich their reading with reflection, analysis, and their own memories and opinions. It gives them time to establish an intimate relationship with the author, the two of them engaged in an extended and ardent conversation like people falling in love.

This is not reading as many young people are coming to know it. Their reading is pragmatic and instrumental: the difference between what literary critic Frank Kermodecalls “carnal reading” and “spiritual reading.” If we allow our offspring to believe that carnal reading is all there is—if we don’t open the door to spiritual reading, through an early insistence on discipline and practice—we will have cheated them of an enjoyable, even ecstatic experience they would not otherwise encounter. And we will have deprived them of an elevating and enlightening experience that will enlarge them as people. Observing young people’s attachment to digital devices, some progressive educators and permissive parents talk about needing to “meet kids where they are,” molding instruction around their onscreen habits. This is mistaken. We need, rather, to show them someplace they’ve never been, a place only deep reading can take them."

More: http://ideas.time.com/2013/06/03/why-we-should-read-literature/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Reading and Healing

"Story-telling has long held a place of prominence in American culture, but only recently has come to be viewed as a having a role in the practice of American medicine ... anthropologists, artists, writers, psychologists, physicians and historians ... explore the role of stories in medicine and healing."

"Narrative is gaining recognition in medical schools".

"Being able to collect better stories from patients helps physicians become better practitioners ... Stories are how we get to know each other and how we make sense of our world. When patients read stories about others whose experiences are similar to their own, they know they are not alone."

From: http://phys.org/wire-news/127067570/conference-to-explore-role-of-stories-in-health-and-healing.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Reading: The best Habit

"One of the best habits a parent or individual can inculcate in a child is the habit of reading. To encourage a child the pursuit of reading in the early stages is to ensure a continous process of discovery and learning, bridging the gap that the shortcomings of a formal system of education may have, which makes reading even more imperative. Reading books has many benefits both mentally and morally. What was once a preserve of the affluent and elite in society is now a tool of empowerment to the common man. 

"The experience of reading can be for everyone. It brings out the rationalist in you and at the save time teaches you to dream. It takes you on journeys to far-off places and brings you back with a better realisation of the worth of your place and your own. It lets you like the lives of unknown men and women, feeling their joys and tears, getting carried away in their causes. Some inspire, some are lessons in introspection. For those who came in late, it’s never too late to begin. To not experience the joys of reading, therein lies the travesty."

From: http://www.morungexpress.com/Perspective/95891.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Books: Don't mix Work with Pleasure

"Stories are crucial in our lives; we communicate with others using stories all the time. They're what we tell others about ourselves. They teach us how different people handle different circumstances."

"When a parent reads to a child, it is an intimate experience involving a strong emotion" ... "many educated parents are keen to read to their children. However, they tend to force the habit or use it to teach - or sometimes test - the child's English vocabulary."

"This may not be the most ideal and effective strategy to foster a love for reading."

"Experts have agreed that reading for pleasure and for its own sake is the most beneficial for children... If you want your child to be a successful reader, you should read to them for pleasure. Let the school do the teaching. It should be pure pleasure when you and your child read together. You can laugh over a story or cry over it together."

"Another golden rule for parents is to allow their children the freedom to choose books that interest them."

"The worst thing a parent can do is to be critical of a book which means a lot to the child."

"It's OK to let children read a book they love again and again. The important thing is they're free to choose their own books." For children who are not keen readers, it helps to find out what sparks their imagination and use that as a motivation."

FROM: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1226031/how-parents-can-inspire-love-books-among-children

Read for Pleasure:

WikiJustice, by Jack King


Books make dreams come true

"I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. 

“The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world. I hope you'll agree to become a champion of the Imagination Library in your community. 

“You will be amazed at the impact this simple gift can have on the lives of children and their families. We have seen it work in our backyard and I'm certain it can do the same in your community too!"

Dolly Parton

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Why we need Literary Criticism

"Writers may loathe the criticism of their works, while critics may loathe the literary works. Without the existence of both, however, it would be hard to recognize the texts as ― respectively ― literary works or critical pieces.

...why do we adhere to the notion that a literary work needs commentary and interpretation ― that it cannot be read independently, unaccompanied by criticism? And why is it that we rarely, if ever, read criticism ― a comment on another text ― as a literary work? If criticism, as Chesterton would have it, either gets it wrong or merely paraphrases the literary work, why do we still keep alive the tradition of interpreting literature? 

The simple answer is that literary works are never quite what they initially appear to be. Interpreting a literary work thus involves more than merely understanding what the text literally attempts to do or say. The literary work invites criticism and interpretation. As a critic, one accepts this invitation to engage with the literary work’s otherness, its ambiguity. The literary work’s ambiguity haunts us, like a ghost whose presence we desperately attempt to capture and strap down, once and for all."

More: http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130425000978

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



What is Literary Inspiration

"His work took possession of him and he felt the approach of what is called inspiration. At such moments the relation of the forces that determine artistic creation is, as it were, reversed. The dominant thing is no longer the state of mind the artist seeks to express but the language in which he wants to express it. Language, the home and receptacle of beauty and meaning, itself begins to think and speak for man and turns wholly into music, not in terms of sonority but in terms of the impetuousness and power of its inward flow. Then, like the current of a mighty river polishing stones and turning wheels by its very movement, the flow of speech creates in passing, by virtue of its own laws, meter and rhythm and countless other forms and formations, which are even more important, but which are as yet unexplored, insufficiently recognized, and unnamed. At such moments Yurii Andreievich felt that the main part of the work was being done not by him but by a superior power which was above him and directed him, namely the movement of universal thought and poetry in its present historical stage and the one to come. And he felt himself to be only the occasion, the fulcrum, needed to make this movement possible." Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago


Books never sleep

"Books are the best teachers. They impart knowledge without laughing at our ignorance and stupidity. They never sleep nor do they need food. The onus is on parents and teachers to make youngsters aware of this."

"When taught to read at a young age, children tend to visualise, imagine and conceptualise better. Their ability to concentrate is heightened, along with their ability to write. All these abilities would definitely be affected if a child is not encouraged by the teacher or parent to take up a book and read."

"Constant exposure to television, visuals on cellphones and internet could also lead to neurological impairments and dyslexia amongst children..."

More: http://m.timesofindia.com/city/visakhapatnam/Time-to-get-back-to-reading-books/articleshow/19705094.cms

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Quick Writers

"New writers tend to think that editing merely means a brief read through for typos and spelling errors. That is the very last thing to do. The best writers re-write and re-write.

Too many [...] Authors are going into the world of letters with dreams of instant stardom. For them, it was more important to see their book published than to make sure it is a quality product. They are approaching writing the same way one would approach the selling of second hand shoes with an eye to quick profit and a big launch with a lot of deep pocket donors. They have no desire to go through the pains and hassles of a thorough editorial process.

Make sure you are not one of those writers."

From: http://m.allafrica.com/stories/201304221800.html/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Does Literature Matter?

"Does literature still matter and, if so, why?

The problem with most arguments in the debate about reading is that they posit literature as an instrument used to achieve a certain goal: either the good of the individual (it is good for you) or the good of society (it makes you good). Leaving aside the issue of deciding whether what makes you good is not, ultimately, good for you, a more fundamental question arises: why does literature need to be defended at all? ...

Literature breaks the continuum of the everyday and makes us stop and think. The linguistic experimentation that is the hallmark of the literary estranges us from the most commonplace of tools, our language, while the fictional elements of novels, plays and poems offer us a glimpse into a reality that is not our own. In doing so, reading affords us an essentially human of experience: the realisation that what is does not necessarily need to be, that things can be different and that another world is possible. The struggle with or the embrace of a work of literature shapes our hopes and fears, dreams and ambitions. Literature matters, ultimately, because it makes us who we are."

FROM: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/04/201341564843772137.html


Books: the necessities of life

"Give us a house furnished with books rather than furniture. Or both, if you can, but books at any rate! . . . Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A house without them is like a room without windows. . . .

Let us pity the poor rich men who live barrenly in great bookless houses. And let us congratulate the poor, for in our day, books are so cheap that a man may every year add many volumes to his library for what his tobacco and beer would cost him. Among the earliest ambitions to be [fostered] in clerks, workmen, journeymen — and indeed, all that are struggling in the race of life — is that of owning, and constantly adding to, a library of good books. . . .

It is a man’s duty to have books. A [personal] library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life."

- Henry Ward Beecher

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



The Roots of Empathy, Compassion, and Ethical Behavior: Books

"it is this capacity to make up stories that makes us act morally. When we tell and hear stories about others, we discover an impulse to seek to understand their behavior. Instead of simply ascribing universal negative traits to describe behavior that we find troubling in others, we seek to describe actions using impulses that we understand. For example, instead of assuming that someone who cuts in traffic is unforgivably self-absorbed, the person who fills his or her life with stories will imagine that said traffic-cutter is rushing to the hospital. ...

Stories are so important to the way that we relate to each other socially. They teach us to reconsider preconceptions and try on new perspectives. They teach us to imagine the stories behind the behavior we see in the world. They teach us compassion."

More: http://m.dukechronicle.com/articles/2013/04/05/reading-period

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Why Readers Like Books

"For an important intellectual product to be immediately weighty, a deep relationship or concordance has to exist between the life of its creator and the general lives of the people. These people are generally unaware why exactly they praise a certain work of art. Far from being truly knowledgeable, they perceive it to have a hundred different benefits to justify their adulation; but the real underlying reason for their behavior cannot be measured, is sympathy."

Thomas Mann, Death in Venice:


SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Agents of Change, a review by Kenneth J. Janssen, the author of Fatal Dose:


Hidden Symbolism in Literature

"Reading became like dreaming in that well-written compositions act much like dreams in the sense that certain things are disguised or concealed so that a reader can accept the profound message being given.

The whole purpose of this is so that a reader will learn something new or have their perception challenged. If this new thought could infiltrate the reader’s initial ego defense, still disguised, it could finally give the reader an opportunity to analyze and translate the information.I like to admit that there is a need for change in the world — there always has been.

I firmly believe that the more we study literature, the more we begin to challenge our bound perception, to shun ignorance and to scorn those who still hold to outdated intellectual fashions.Our minds and stigmas can be greatly healed by that which is hidden in literature. The sooner we begin to try and understand the truth in literature, the sooner we will understand ourselves, and the world can begin to heal."

More: http://m.redandblack.com/views/literature-connects-individuals-to-wider-world-truth/article_8a3ffc74-97e4-11e2-ab0f-0019bb30f31a.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



How readers choose books

"When it comes to choosing books to read, the majority of our decisions are based on heuristics of one sort or another, including:

cover design
imprint or publisher
friends’ recommendations
star ratings
whether it’s part of series
plot summary
endorsements from other authors
date it was published
quotes from the book
paper quality (for print books)
photo of the author
interviews with the author

The problem is, many of these heuristics are flawed.

Let’s get down and dirty with what really matters in a book: The words and whether they speak to us. The only real way we can choose between books is to begin to read them, and if publishers want us to fall in love with their books, they have to make at least the first chapter available for free online."

More: http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2013/03/28/book-discovery-give-me-blind-dates-with-books/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Watching vs Reading

"The fact is, writing is one heck of an informational medium — the best ever invented. Neurological studies show that, as we learn to read, our brains undergo extensive cellular changes that allow us to decipher the meaning of words with breathtaking speed and enormous flexibility. By comparison, gathering information through audio and video media is a slow and cumbersome process." Nicholas Carr

"A screen-based lifestyle provides a gratifying, easy-sensation ‘yuk and wow’ environment, which doesn’t require a young mind to work….We cannot park our children in front of a screen and expect them to develop a long attention span."  Professor Susan Greenfield

"Research published in the world’s most reputable medical and scientific journals shows that the sheer amount of time children spend watching TV, DVDs, computers and the internet is linked with significant measurable biological changes in their bodies and brains that may have significant medicalconsequences." -  Dr. Aric Sigman

"He is part of a generation which, more and more, is reading less and less. This is having a negative impact on writing skills, depth of expression and, in this case, employment prospects, at least while her employers belong to Generation X."- Chris Harrison

More: http://www.tipsfromthetlist.com/47162.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Literary self-flagellation

"Self-flagellation by authors is a long and distinguished tradition, with Tolstoy (who dismissed Anna Karenina as sentimental, "serving no purpose" and "bad") and Kafka (for whom The Metamorphosis  was "imperfect almost to its very marrow") among its illustrious exemplars.

Yet the appearance of startling ruthlessness is deceptive, as it is a younger self and his or her efforts that are usually being punished, whether by criticism or self-parody. The implicit message is: these are mistakes I wouldn't make now."

Read More: http://m.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/mar/25/writers-bad-reviews-themselves-dublin-review

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:



Great Literature

"There are frequent debates about what constitutes great literature, and no little disputation. Today, the prevailing and authoritative view combines an ideological filter with anthropological filter to separate “important” literature from the herd of common books.

The ideological filter is materialism: only things that can be measured are real, and these operate according to fixed imperatives.

The anthropological filter is psychological: human freedom is an illusion; psychosexual imperatives determine human behavior and beliefs. ...

Great literature starts with a true depiction of the human condition, but this true depiction is radically different from that of the materialists. Great literature must be well conceived, well crafted, and well written; a transcendent perspective by itself isn’t enough. The author needs to connect us with their fictional world in a way that provokes thought, reflection, and, as Tolkien argued, application to our own experiences."

More: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/2123/literature_and_the_spirit_of_the_age.aspx#.UVC_U5FE3Fo

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Books by Jack King:


Agents of Change - Jesuits and Liberation Theology

The people and the revolution that sent tremors through the United States and the Vatican:

The 1960s sparked revolutionary changes that swept the secular and religious world. At the forefront of the battle for a new – better – world was the most powerful Catholic Order.

Progressive Jesuit priests started a movement that would turn the archaic religious institution into the leading force for change, and in the process put them at odds with the United States.

These Agents of Change saw the need to do away with antiquated political and banking systems, with murderous military-industrial complexes, and flawed educational systems.

They became the biggest threat to U.S. interests...

Inspiration and Historical Context:

SpyWriter Jack King: Agents of Change,


Invasion of Book Reviewers

Amazon, a jungle of anonymous book reviewers...

"why anyone would even bother reading these anonymous customer reviews (even if not faked), rather than relying on those of the “experts.”

"To see why, we need to step back and recall that the book review was born at a democratising moment of the capitalist 18th century. Publishers realised that there was now a larger literate group of readers to whom they could sell books – and who therefore could use help in choosing their reading material.

The end of the patronage system had meant that writers were writing for a wider (and unknown) readership. But it also meant that the review first came into the world as a form of consumer reporting. And it has continued to have this function for us in the globalised, electronic world of the 21st century bombarded, as we all are, by more information and greater choice than ever before. We too are in need of assistance in making selections. 

More: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/can-the-modern-book-reviewer-be-unputdownable-1.1332489

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



Literature and Society

"Arts and literature create and re-create the life of a society in many respects, making it full of aesthetic touches. Without literature, countries and societies are devoid of the driving spirit of a full and vibrant life and thinking. Art and literature help a society in its growth at different levels as a continuous process. This intellectual entity shapes an individual's and a society's meaningful approach towards life and its components. 

The literary community believes in peace and love, and is very sensitive to the events taking place in society hence they are the first ones to draw the real picture of events in their writings. Since they are born with the traits of truth, they have remained victims of oppression during every reign of dictatorship."

More: http://paktribune.com/news/Literature-for-life-By-Mukhtar-258234.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



Literature must have limits

"Creative writing is an ethical question; literature, politics and pedagogy. ... literature is a part of cultural achievements of a society and both get affected by each other."

"Culture and literature are interlinked; literature is an outcome of culture. It is of the society, for the society and by the society."

“Literature is a sub system of a society. It is perpetuated by the society and in turn affects the society."

Therefore, and contrary to oft repeated arguments that literature ought to mirror society's ailments, a Professor of English at Delhi University argues that such literature must have limits, because:

"Every piece of literature is propaganda and is always written with some intention. However the freedom that a writer enjoys should not be absolute or is not absolute. It has certain limitations and those limitations need to be respected...

...as literature itself is an embodiment of the various values, traditions and culture of a particular society, civilization or a nation which it cherishes and holds in high-esteem for several generations."

More: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Mar/19/-a-writer-s-freedom-is-not-absolute--57.asp

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:


The best work in literature

"The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer. 

"Make some sacrifice for your art and you will be repaid but ask of art to sacrifice herself for you and a bitter disappointment may come."

Oscar Wilde, to an aspiring writer.

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



What readers look for in writers

"Aspiring authors, take note. 

Nothing secures a literary legacy like an over-sized personality to match the work. On some level, we want our artists to behave badly, feuding with critics and wearing, perhaps, less clothing than appropriate in public. We want to believe that being a talented, successful writer isn’t just another job, like being a plumber or an accountant—it's a lifestyle, or maybe even a curse.

Ultimately, the actual writing of the book isn't what's interesting to most people. If you can type, you can put words on a page. What we look for in the dramatic lives of artists is a hint of the origin of genius. Who wants to hear that what it takes to write a generation-defining novel is eight hours a day of work for three years, plus an editor worth her weight in gold? And if you're going to write a best-seller, please, for the love of schadenfreude, don't be a model of health and decorum as well. That's just too much."

More: http://m.wfpl.org/?utm_referrer=#mobile/4509

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



Dumbing down literature

"From Reader’s Digest to Cliff’s Notes to No Fear Shakespeare, simplified novels have infiltrated American society over generations. They seem innocent enough, flaunting an “easy to read” nature meant to appeal to those less versed in complex literature and language. However, while these watered down novels may be convenient for the busy, story-oriented adult reader, they are hardly appropriate for a class focused on critical reading. They’re a skewed kind of censorship that removes students from the benefits of difficult, close reading and dumbs down the English classroom.

Words are taken out that set the entire mood of the piece; phrases that define the moment and add depth to the author’s style are taken out. Removing these aspects eliminates the experience of analyzing the author’s intent and figuring out why that phrase or scene was deemed necessary."

From: http://tigernewspaper.com/wordpress/2013/03/14/the-dangers-of-watering-down-literature/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



Read fiction to combat insomnia

"Insomnia seems to be becoming increasingly common, and good sleep hygiene ... plus a basic understanding of the nature of sleep ... can help us to return to a good regular sleep pattern...

The trick is to slip from the real world to the dream one, so lying there rigid with anxiety to achieve unconsciousness is never going to work.

Reading fiction, on the other hand, acts as a first breakaway from reality and gives the mind a first hold on the suppressed state of dream that is so firmly denied all day.

... steer clear of non-fiction books. Read to go into another world, and raise no resistance. Dream actually comes before sleep, and is the way in."

From: http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/13/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-suzanne-moore

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:



Reading and social intelligence

"By the time we’re young adults, we’ve all intuited it to some degree: people who’re ardent readers of fiction seem to have the ability to engage with others in a manner that is completely lost on non-readers. A teenage boy-girl sibling combo might evidence a situation where the boy, whose extra-curricular life is dominated by sports, finds himself completely lost as he watches his fiction-loving sister routinely blend in with ease with both older contemporaries and adults at family gatherings, even having the occasional poignant conversation with a great-aunt or grandmother."

Why is it? Glad you asked:

"fiction-reading leads to one being more empathising and socially intelligent... reading fiction develops in one the ability to construct a map of the thoughts and feelings that are occurring in the minds of other people. This is what developmental psychologists refer to as ‘theory of mind’.

When one identifies with the emotions that are materialising in another person, it is called empathy, one of the core aspects of emotional intelligence...

fiction – and in particular narrative – is an exercise in empathy. In reading narrative, we join ourselves emotionally with the protagonist, in a manner experiencing his or her emotions as they navigate through the struggles in their lives. The overarching importance is in the fact that we, the reader, get to view situations from the articulated points-of-view of others.

Additionally, we lend ourselves to situations we have never yet experienced, understand the ways of people completely peculiar to us, and thus begin to acquire familiarity with such novelties that we may later face in life; novelties we would otherwise be helpless to understand except through one awkward effort at a time, usually exposing us to great friction with the unfamiliar environment first.In other words, reading provides us with: “the ability to sensitise…to the emotions of other people, transcending the limits of our own experiences and perspective”.

More: http://tribune.com.pk/story/518680/because-novel-readers-are-more-socially-intelligent/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Coming soon:



Would-be writers: No originality required.

A piece of advice for would-be writers:

"We ought to make the process of writing books seem less daunting to those who are starting out."

So, let us begin by scrapping the notion of originality...

"In a profession without rules, the one essential is that writers have to be magpies: bits of films, songs, other people's journalism, other people's books, conversations, someone they saw in the street are the flotsam and jetsam that are going to give shape and colour and inspiration to the story under construction. No writer in the history of the world is original, they all depend on other writers' work, or the narrative of a previous book, and that is the way it should be and always will be. First-time writers begin and give up because they think their work must be original. Nothing could be further from the truth. Can't think of a plot? Take a classic of literature or the theatre, rename the characters, move the location and bring it up to date."

FROM: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130308&page=23

Jack King is the author of Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.