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You can click to view my favorites for anthropology, biology, cognitive sciences, ethology, climate, evolution, brains, language, the future -- not to mention Patrick O'Brian novels and the Science Masters series.

Narrative Techniques

For those of you interested in innate aspects of narrative, the serious book is 

Mark Turner, The Literary Mind (Oxford University Press 1996).
"Story is a basic principle of mind. Most of our experience, our knowledge, and our thinking is organized as stories. The mental scope of story is magnified by projection -- one story helps us make sense of another. The projection of one story onto another is parable, a basic cognitive principle that shows up everywhere, from simple actions like telling time to complex literary creations...."
     "A two-year-old child who is leading a balloon around on a string may say, pointing to the balloon, "This is my imagination dog." When asked how tall it is, she says, "This high," holding her hand slightly higher than the top of the balloon. "These," she says, pointing at two spots just above the balloon, "are its ears." This is a complicated blend of attributes shared by a dog on a leash and a balloon on a string. It is dynamic, temporary, constructed for local purposes, formed on the basis of image schemas, and extraordinarily impressive. It is also just what two-year-old children do all day long. True, we relegate it to the realm of fantasy because it is an impossible blended space, but such spaces seem to be indispensable to thought generally and to be sites of the construction of meanings that bear on what we take to be reality." [p. 114] Order from amazon.com.

There are four books that illustrate the traditional formula for preteen readers (and are so well written as to prove wildly popular with adults):

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
    by J. K. Rowling, Mary Grandpre (Illustrator). Paperback (September 8, 1999)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)
    by J. K. Rowling, Mary Grandpre (Illustrator). Paperback (August 15, 2000)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)
    by J. K. Rowling, Mary Grandpre (Illustrator). Hardcover (September 8, 1999)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)
    by J. K. Rowling, Mary Grandpre (Illustrator). Hardcover (July 8, 2000)


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