Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Truths About Reading Fiction

The delightful Robert Bruce (no, not Robert the Bruce!) did a post on five myths of reading over at Jeff Goins's site. It's a useful post! Today, I'm going to come at it from the positive angle (which Bruce ends up doing, anyway).

1. You Can Learn a Lot from Fiction. 
I have a distinct memory of Diego de la Vega in the New World Zorro saying, "You can learn a lot of things from books!" If Zorro says it, you know it's true! But seriously, aside from the misinformation and real information you can get, you also learn to distinguish between the two. Most importantly, you learn to empathize. They've done studies, but experience also confirms this one for me. Readers are simply more human.

2. You've Got Plenty of Time to Read.
Think about it. Next time you're in the subway or the DMV line, you can pick up a book. You can read over your lunch half-hour. You can read a book instead of turning on the miniseries adaptation of it. E-readers and all the apps on all the devices have made reading accessible from anywhere! That's right! It's not just for TV shows and music. And for anyone who doesn't have a gadget, the added weight of a book in your bag or your hand can count as a daily workout.

3. Reading is Great Exercise/Activity.
See above! Reading exercises muscles as well as the brain. Reading an extended piece like a novel is, in fact, one of the most complex acts humans can perform. It does wonders for your concentration and your mood, too! The importance of catharsis cannot be overemphasized.

4. Your Opinion of a Book Makes a Huge Difference.
If I said this as often as it needed to be said, I would feel like a terrible nag. There are tons of avid readers out there who keep their opinions to themselves, thereby stymying every effort at publicity. If no one had heard of a book, they can't enjoy it, too, and the author's incredible efforts go to waste. If they don't know anyone's enjoying it, they might not bother to keep writing. It's a serious possibility. Even Stephen King needs to know (once in a while) that he has an effect on someone. So, especially if you enjoy a book, please let everyone know about it! It makes a difference in the life of the writer, and from there, it makes a difference in what kinds of books are getting published.

5. All of the Above is True, No Matter Whether You're Reading Shakespeare or pulp novels.
Yup, even the worst written, toilet-paper book can teach you something, exercise your body and mind, and matter to you and others.

So THANK YOU for reading.