What was the physical body doing in response to the words on the page? When does your heartbeat increase? When do you feel anxiety in your gut? When do you feel the contraction of fear, or the stirring of arousal? When does the back of your neck prickle? When do you smile? When do you shout aloud a comment to a character or throw the book against the wall? In silence, we took several novels and asked students to raise their hand when they felt their body viscerally respond in any way to what they were reading. At first, they thought we were crazy. But after some classes, we noted that with NYT bestsellers their hands had all gone up within the first ten pages. With non-bestsellers, this was not so often the case.

Annotation

ALtered quote. Original quote: While we were writing this book, we asked our undergraduates to experiment with observing, almost meditatively, all the responses they were having while reading a new book. Their mind would be thinking, interpreting of course, but what were the emotions doing? More than that, what was the physical body doing in response to the words on the page? We asked them: “When does your heartbeat increase?” “When do you feel anxiety in your gut?” “When do you feel the contraction of fear, or the stirring of arousal?” “When does the back of your neck prickle?” “When do you smile?” “When do you shout aloud a comment to a character or throw the book against the wall?” This is a different kind of reading to pay attention to. In silence, we took several novels and asked students to raise their hand when they felt their body viscerally respond in any way to what they were reading. At first, they thought we were crazy. But after some classes, we noted that with NYT bestsellers their hands had all gone up within the first ten pages. With non-bestsellers, this was not so often the case.