No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Does Reading Make You Dumber?

Depends which books you choose, apparently. A clearly not rigorous but kinda funny study highlighted by both Richard Florida and Freakonomics links the most popular books across college campuses with the SAT scores at those schools.

The results? Lolita, 100 Years of Solitude, Crime and Punishment, Freakonomics, and Atlas Shrugged are popular with the smart kids. The lower SAT scorers go for stuff like The Color Purple, Fahrenheit 451 and The Outsiders.

Catch 22 is smartier than Wuthering Heights. The Da Vinci Code beats Hamlet. He's Just Not that into You looks like it just edges out Fight Club.

What does it all mean? I'd say it means college students do read some crap (hello, Tuesdays with Morrie) but are more likely to highlight the classy stuff on their profiles.

And in terms of that top 5, I'll admit I've only read 3 and thought they were each brilliant and challenging in different ways. Lolita is one of the finest books ever written, full stop. Solitude was dense, beautiful and affecting - but somehow doesn't make my list of all-time favourites. Maybe I'm just not a magic realist kind of gal. Or the fact that everyone had the same name strained by brain. And Freakonomics was really just good fun. For Crime and Punishment, I'll get there someday when I'm feeling brave. And Ayn Rand just ain't ever going to happen, bigger brain or not.


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