5 What Separates Human From Animals What Is Their Nature 7 Reasons Why You Should Read Fiction

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7 Reasons Why You Should Read Fiction

I’m a bit of an oddity among writers because I don’t condemn TV. On the contrary, I think everyone, and especially serious writers, should watch a lot of TV, including comedies and TV dramas, because the audio/visual format provides a perspective you can’t get from reading a novel. This flies in the face of the common slur that TV is a blight that needs to be eradicated from the entertainment landscape.

On the other hand, the recent trend has been to watch more TV and more movies and read less, and when one does read, to read non-fiction instead of fiction. The reasons given range from “Reading is difficult” to “Novels are uninformative”. But what most people don’t realize is that the written word, and fiction in particular, offers benefits you can’t get from other media. For example:

  1. Reading fiction can help you improve your people skills. A 2008 study by Raymond Mar found that people who read more fiction score higher on tests of social sensitivity and acumen, and that people who read more fiction score lower ones. This is probably because through fiction, you experience the social interactions and relationships of the characters in a way impossible with most non-fiction works.

  2. Reading fiction stimulates the imagination. As you read fiction, your mind reconstructs each scene in far more detail than the author described. It does this by visualizing non-existent people and places in the story, often basing these visualizations on actual people and places you’ve seen. This is the human ability to imagine, to dream, to speculate, to meditate. The ability to imagine separates us from other animals. It allows us to strategize, plan, reason, learn, create a better world than existed before.

  3. Books are cheaper hour-by-hour entertainment than movies or DVDs. Especially in tough economic times, it makes sense to encourage the enjoyment of written fiction. For the same amount as a 2-hour movie or DVD, you can get a book that will keep you entertained for days or weeks. Or you can borrow it for free from your local library.

  4. Reading relieves stress and doesn’t overwhelm like TV. Most modern television programs are designed to grab your attention by constantly bombarding your brain with sudden sounds and transitions. This strengthens your brain and creates stress. Research at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent. Or as cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis puts it, “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

  5. Fiction allows us to enter the story, to imagine ourselves there, in ways that nonfiction cannot. Even a biography is already finished before you start reading it, because it is about a real person. Even if you don’t know the specific history of a particular biographical figure, biographies are rarely written about losers, and the loser is the main element of the fictional story. Or as one English teacher from Wichita, Kansas put it, “The ignorance of fiction makes it very much like Life as we experience it.”

  6. The mind absorbs new information more easily through stories. Humans are by nature creatures of history, learning through experience and metaphor. Teaching through storytelling is a tradition as old as human thought itself. This is one reason why, even though fiction is about people who never existed and events that never happened, all fictional people and events are based on reality. As psychologists Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell explain in their book The reality of dreams“The reason stories are so satisfying and enlightening is that they tap into the same process that nature uses to transmit knowledge.”

  7. Reading, and reading fiction in particular, can make you a better speaker and writer. In modern times, communication skills are more important than ever. And because storytelling is such a key skill in imparting knowledge, you’ll become a better communicator if you learn how to tell stories. And the best way to learn how to tell stories is to see them being told. In general, exposure to language, such as reading, will instinctively improve your language and communication skills.

Still can’t imagine yourself reading an entire novel? Try the short story. Yes, the short story has been dying for a while, but that’s because readers have been disinterested. However, collections of classic and newly published short stories continue to be published, and for the busy 21st century citizen, the short story offers the benefits of fiction in bite-sized chunks that he can more easily enjoy. .

Fiction should be a staple of everyone’s lifestyle, because anyone who doesn’t read it at least occasionally is missing out on the benefits it offers.

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