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Author Topic: Benefits of reading fiction
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Article on the benefits of reading fiction that those who write fiction might want to keep in mind.
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I read because I love doing it. I never could have guessed it was so beneficial. Thanks for posting.
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Very interesting article. I read often, and my reading varies drastically. I have been listening to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series which is a fantasy romance series which is quite interesting when you look past the R and X-rated material in it. I've also been reading some of the Star Trek books, the Barsoom series about John Carter by Edgar Rice Burroughs. As the author stated, I love a good show myself, and watch several different series every week.

I can't put a name on the book that got me started reading science fiction and fantasy since my dad had a lot of those books, but the one I remember the most is My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville. It was a small series of three or four books that I got at the book fairs held at my school.

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Why a book and not TV? Watch TV and you'll be brain dead by fifty. Read books and you'll still be young at hundred.
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I think it's possible to benefit from watching TV, but you have to fight to keep it an active experience. It's so easy to just zone out and let a show sort of wash over you. I know that when I watch a film critically, it's a very different experience from when I'm just trying to be entertained/distracted.
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Robert Nowall
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I've wondered if I should switch from writing fiction to writing non-fiction---it's mostly non-fiction I read right now---but, somehow, that appeals to me less than fiction writing right now...

I can certainly name the book that started me on science fiction: Heinlein's Space Cadet. And the circumstance---I'd read all the books in the elementary school library by Marguerite Henry (Misty of Chincoteague and other similar "horse books") and let my finger wander along the shelf from "Henry" to "Heinlein," and found a copy of Space Cadet (and, later, five others by Heinlein.)

It's easy for me to remember this...it's the fulcrum of the lever of my life...I suppose I should be grateful that "Henry" was so close in the alphabet to "Heinlein," but the jury's still out on that one...

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I knew some of that already but reading this helps to support what I knew and to learn of new things...which reading is suppose to do.

The social skills point I don't think I hadn't read before but it makes sense.

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I don't think fiction is good for us or bad for us. I think it's what we do as a species, the way birds build nests or ants build ant hills. We create stories with the people around us and ourselves in them and act them out.

It seems reasonable to me that reading fiction would train habits of thought, but I think that's a double edge sword. Storytelling is behind everything in us that is wise and beautiful, but it's also behind everything in us that is brutish, stupid and coarse. So while the job of a fiction writer is to entertain, I think there's also a duty to do so intelligently.

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