Monday’s Link Roundup.

For Ken Burns fans,  this Monday’s Link Roundup includes a terrific 5 minute video,  Ken Burns on the Art of Storytelling. In Skepticism About Stories: The “Narrababble” Critique,  you’ll find a challenge to the popular view that people’s lives are a collection of stories.  And find out if you live in one of America’s well- read cities by checking out What Are The Most Well-Read Cities In America?

  • Alzheimer’s Patients Turn To Stories Instead Of Memories.[NPR] “Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of communication — it’s how we learn about the world. It turns out that for people with dementia, storytelling can be therapeutic. It gives people who don’t communicate well a chance to communicate. And you don’t need any training to run a session.”
  • Life Writing. [pdf] “This special virtual edition of Life Writing presents eight articles that have a clear connection with the themes of the upcoming conference of the International Auto/Biography Association, to be held in Canberra, Australia, in July 2012. The conference is called ‘Framing Lives’, and its title signals an emphasis on the visual aspects of life narrative: ‘graphics and animations, photographs and portraits, installations and performances, avatars and characters that come alive on screens, stages, pages, and canvas, through digital and analogue technologies’ (”
  • The Colossal Camera that will capture Vanishing Cultures. “One photograph, no retakes, no retouching, just a pure honest photograph and a giant camera that will travel 20,000 miles across the US to photograph American Cultures. Vanishing Cultures is an astounding and completely unique concept…This one of a kind monumental camera will be transported by a huge truck trailer, due to it’s extremely large size. His [Dennis Manarchy] aim is to capture cultures that are rapidly fading from society and to feature their portraits on 2-story sized prints displayed in stadium-sized traveling outdoor exhibitions along with the amazing negatives and the stories behind the people and cultures.”
  • Skepticism About Stories: The “Narrababble” Critique. “…it is a very popular idea in psychology, philosophy and various social sciences that people experience their lives as a story or collection of stories. For example, the philosopher Dan Dennett explains the mind as a master novelist: “We try to make all of our material cohere into a single good story. And that story is our autobiography,” he has written. Moreover, says the philosopher Galen Strawson, there’s a parallel claim in the air that this is A Good Thing: that each person should be able to understand his/her life as a meaningful story, with an arc and a recognizable end. Strawson, though, is having none of it. He thinks these ideas, which he’s called “narrababble,” are a fad.”
  • What Are The Most Well-Read Cities In America? “Amazon has released their second annual list of the most well-read cities in the country, based on their book, magazine and newspaper sales data in both print and digital, since June 1, 2011. The statistics are per capita, and only include towns with more than 100,000 residents.”
  • What’s so special about biography? “It is my contention that biography has a unique way of helping us to understand what we are like as people. There have been true Golden Ages and Reigns of Terror in the fabric of human history; but, by examining the lives of real, flesh-and-blood human beings who inhabited those places and times, we can see the similarities and the constancy of human nature throughout that history. So, how does biography accomplish this in ways that other genres cannot?”
  • Ken Burns on the Art of Storytelling.[Video] “In explaining his own view on filmmaking, Burns rolls out that old quote from Jean Luc-Godard, “Cinema is truth at twenty-four frames a second.” But he has his own response to the famous proclamation: “Maybe. It’s lying twenty-four times a second, too. All the time. All story is manipulation.”

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